It’s been a good first few weeks for the summer movie season. “Iron Man 3” had the second biggest opening weekend ever. “The Great Gatsby” exceeded expectations. Now that hot streak should continue with J.J. Abrams’ “Star Trek Into Darkness” starring Chris Pine, Benedict Cumberbatch, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Karl Urban and more. How big will it open?

Well opening tonight obviously will hurt its opening weekend. But this has turned into a must-see movie event. The first film opened to $79 million and while four years between films is a long time, it could have a similar effect like “The Matrix: Reloaded” had for pent up demand. It should be in line for a huge opening tonight/Thursday, earning at least $25-30 million. That momentum should carry it into the weekend. but opening a day early will prevent it from cracking $100 million this weekend. Still, an opening around $90 million is certainly possible. The big question will be how much will it earn in its entire domestic run? There’s a lot of competition this summer, starting next weekend with “Fast and Furious 6” and “The Hangover Part III”. Then there’s “After Earth” and “Man of Steel” not far on the horizon. That means unless this is universally loved as not just a great summer movie, but one of the best films of the decade, this film is going to make around the same total gross that the first film made, which would put it in the $280-290 million range.

Lukas Eggen can be reached at eggen.lukas@gmail.com.

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