After a promising start, "Star Trek Into Darkness" had trouble beaming up Friday, earning a modest $22 million at the domestic box office for an estimated $60 million weekend.
That's well below the Paramount's first "Star Trek" feature, which earned $79.2 million in its 2009 debut.
J.J. Abrams' 3D sequel did open a day earlier (Wednesday night) than its predecessor but the sci-fi tentpole had been tracking for an $85 million-plus weekend. Abrams' 2009 "Star Trek" also didn't benefit from 3D sales.
Paramount and Skydance co-financed the $190 million feature, which is playing in 3762 locations, including 336 Imax 3D theaters.
"Star Trek's" four-day domestic cume is expected to reach $83.5 million, according to Paramount, and the film's international tally is currently orbiting $75 million for the weekend (33 int'l territories).
The numbers aren't exactly chump change for Paramount but with an "A" Cinemascore from audiences and coming off a successful relaunch of the "Star Trek" franchise in 2009, the domestic figures are disappointing for a studio in dire need of a hit.
A big factor playing into "Star Trek's" mildness can be attributed to two bulky holdovers in Disney/Marvel's "Iron Man 3" and Warners' "The Great Gatsby."
"Iron Man 3" earned an estimated $9.5 Friday, bringing its domestic cume to $311.4 million, while the femme-friendly "Gatsby" grossed an estimated $7.7 million on Friday.
Memorial Day weekend won't get any less crowded for "Star Trek," as WB's "The Hangover Part III" and "Fast & Furious 6" join the fray on May 23 and May 24, respectively.