This has been one of the strangest summers in recent memory when it comes to box office analysis, not because so many high profile movies have disappointed (although that has certainly been interesting), but because so many new releases are hanging out in the grey zone between hit and misfire. In an era where the success of so many movies is determined purely by opening weekend numbers, we’ve spent the past few months watching as movies has defied expectations after a weak opening or rode a solid opening into oblivion. The cut-and-dried successes can be counted on one hand.

And now, we can add Star Trek Beyond to the list of movies whose box office inspires a big question mark.

FilmWeekendPer Screen
1Star Trek Beyond$59,600,000$15,173$59,600,000
2The Secret Life of Pets$29,330,000 (-42.3)$7,246$260,708,000
3Ghostbusters$21,600,000 (-53.1)$5,450$86,856,000
4Lights Out$21,600,000$7,665$21,600,000
5Ice Age: Collision Course$21,000,000 
6Finding Dory$7,220,000 (-43.8)$2,803$460,199,000
7The Legend of Tarzan$6,430,000  (-43.8)$2,261$115,824,000
8Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates$4,400,000 (-42.5)$2,059$40,357,000
9Hillary's America$3,700,000 (+4,845.6)$3,043$40,357,000
10The Infiltrator$3,293,000 (-37.9)$2,143$12,239,000

What does it mean that Star Trek Beyond opened at number one with $59 million? First of all, it means that the third film in the Kelvin Timeline fell short of the previous two movies, which debuted with $75 and $70 million before going on to make north of $200 million at the domestic box office. However, that number isn’t a disastrous plummet — it’s just a little steeper than anyone would have wanted. It’s still head and shoulders above the weekend’s other new releases and the positive reviews suggest that Justin Lin’s film could hang around as word-of-mouth spreads. The film is a cheery crowd-pleaser in a summer where so few blockbusters have been fun. Let’s not condemn this below average opening until we see weekend number two.

There was another new release that was an unqualified success with this weekend. Lights Out opened in fourth place with $21 million, instantly making this low budget horror movie profitable. It’ll surely take a steep drop next week (all horror movies do), but it’s already a success after three days of release. Everything after this is just more fuel for the inevitable sequel.

And that brings us to the weekend’s third and least successful new release. Ice Age: Collision Course flopped into fifth place with $21 million, which is less than half of what this series has typically earned in its first weekend over the years. This could be a case of audiences simply being fatigued by these movies (this is the fifth Ice Age movie since 2002), but this film was also released into theaters while Finding Dory and The Secret Life of Pets are stilling cleaning up at the box office. And let’s just be perfectly honest here: the Ice Age movies have always been the third-tier distraction for families when nothing else was in theaters. With better options at the multiplex, this one never stood a chance.

Speaking of The Secret Life of Pets, that film’s two-week reign at the top of the charts came to an end, but it clung to second place with a solid $29 million and a current gross of $260 million. It should top out around $350 million and everyone will be happy. Meanwhile, Finding Dory fell to sixth place with $7 million, but it’s made an astonishing $460 million at the domestic box office so far.

And now, let’s take a moment to consider the box office plight of Ghostbusters, which opened below expectations and continued to perform below expectations this weekend, dropping to third place at $21 million. With $86 million earned so far, the film should crack $100 million in the near future, but this is far, far short of what Sony was hoping for when they spent a ton of money acquiring the Ghostbusters name. Paul Feig’s movies have showcased strong legs in the past, hanging out in theaters long after other films have expired, but Ghostbusters is slowing down more quickly than expected. Right now, the film is a definite disappointment at the box office, but it’s not over yet.

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