Los Angeles — Star Trek Beyond has landed atop the weekend box office.Paramount's latest outing with the Starship Enterprise soared to $59.6m in domestic ticket sales, according to studio estimates Sunday, knocking Universal's The Secret Life of Pets from the No. 1 spot.Pets fell to second place, adding an additional $29.3m to its stellar $260m earnings over the past three weeks.Star Trek Beyond is the third film in the rebooted franchise that kicked off with J.J. Abrams' Star Trek. This latest film opened $20m behind that 2009 release, but experts say the returns are still promising for Paramount."This is a solid enough debut to tell them there's still enough interest in Star Trek to keep this franchise alive," said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for box-office tracker comScore.
Star Trek Beyond opened in line with industry expectations, he said, despite the unexpected death last month of 27-year-old actor Anton Yelchin, who played Chekov."The tragic passing of Anton Yelchin made it bittersweet for fans," Dergarabedian said. "I don't think that took away anything from the film. Fans can pay their respects to Yelchin by watching him on the screen."The Secret Life of Pets and Ghostbusters bested — or tied — the weekend's other new releases.Warner Bros.' low-budget horror Lights Out opened with $21.6m — more than quadrupling its reported $5m budget — to tie with Ghostbusters for third place.Fox's animated Ice Age: Collision Course debuted with $21m. Fox Searchlight's Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie opened outside the top 10 with $1.8m.The documentary Hillary's America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party, from conservative political pundit Dinesh D'Souza, edged into the top 10 in its second week with $3.7m."That's pretty amazing," Dergarabedian said. "But it's obviously due to the timing with the Republican National Convention last week and the Democratic National Convention this week."
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