Hollywood's summer box-office streak has cooled a bit with a 37 million dollar opening weekend for JJ Abrams and Steven Spielberg's sci-fi tale Super 8.
It was a healthy but unremarkable launch in a summer season whose newcomers often open with two or three times as much money. Released by Paramount Pictures, Super 8 largely features a cast of young newcomers, the story centring on teen filmmakers and an alien entity that escapes from a wrecked train.
"The movie was never conceived to be a blockbuster, tent-pole film opening to 60 or 70 million dollars," said Don Harris, head of distribution for Paramount.
Writer-director Abrams (Star Trek, TV's Lost) was inspired by his own youth as a Super 8 filmmaker who emulated such talents as Spielberg, a producer on Super 8.
When the studio scheduled Super 8 amid such known summer quantities as Pirates Of The Caribbean and Kung Fu Panda sequels, "there was some concern we were sending a signal that it was a big summer blockbuster", Harris said. "What we really wanted to do was find a place where the movie could open, find its audience and hopefully play for a long time."
Super 8 bumped off the previous weekend's number one movie, 20th Century Fox's comic-book prequel X-Men: First Class, which slipped to second-place with 25 million. First Class raised its US total to 98.9 million.
The weekend's other new wide release, Relativity Media's family flick Judy Moody And The NOT Bummer Summer, opened weakly at number seven with 6.3 million dollars. The movie follows a young girl's wacky summer adventures.