By David Germain
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Star Trek: Into Darkness has warped its way to a $70.6 million domestic launch from Friday to Sunday, though it's not setting any light-speed records with a debut that's lower than the studio's expectations.
The latest voyage of the starship Enterprise fell short of its predecessor, 2009's Star Trek, which opened with $75.2 million.
Since premiering Wednesday in huge-screen IMAX theaters and expanding Thursday to general cinemas, Into Darkness has pulled in $84.1 million, well below distributor Paramount's (NOK) initial forecast of $100 million. The film added $40 million overseas, pushing its total to $80.5 million since it began rolling out internationally a week earlier.The Star Trek sequel bumped Iron Man 3 down to second place after two weekends on top. Robert Downey Jr.'s superhero saga took in $35.2 million domestically to lift its receipts to $337.1 million. Overseas, Iron Man 3 added $40.2 million, raising its international total to $736.2 million and its worldwide tally to nearly $1.1 billion. While Iron Man 3 and Into Darkness did well overseas, they were outmatched by the debut of Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby, which followed its domestic debut a week earlier with a wide rollout internationally. Gatsby pulled in $42.1 million overseas, coming in a bit ahead of both Iron Man 3 and Into Darkness. Domestically, Gatsby held up well at No. 3 with $23.4 million, lifting its total to $90.2 million. In today's Hollywood of bigger, better sequels, follow-up films often outdo the box office of their predecessors, as each Iron Man sequel has done. While Into Darkness earned good reviews and is getting strong word-of-mouth from fans, the film did not quite measure up to the opening weekend of director J.J. Abrams' Star Trek reboot from four years ago, at least domestically. " Star Trek remains a fan-boy movie. It doesn't seem to have the same kind of cross-over appeal as say an Iron Man or some of these others," said Paul Dergarabedian, an analyst for box-office tracker Hollywood.com. "It's a very specific brand, but I think the general public would love this movie, because it's such an action movie. But to get a hundred-million-plus opening weekend, unless you're Twilight, you really have to cross over to all audiences."