Star Trek: First Contact opened with $30.7 million in 1996 and Star Trek Generations took in $23.1 million in its 1994 debut.
But while the latest sci-fi sequel is only the fifth December release ever to top $20 million, it landed somewhat short of studio expectations, which were fueled by extremely promising pre-opening tracking.
The weekend's only other widely released newcomer, Warner Bros.' Jack Frost, rolled into third place with $7 million despite a generally chilly critical reception. Disney's animated insect fable A Bug's Life was snug in the No. 2 spot with $11 million.
The overall box office slowed slightly from its recent blistering pace, with total ticket sales on track to top out at about $70 million. That's a drop of 3 percent from the previous weekend and 10 percent from this time a year ago, when Scream 2's $32.9 million debut led the box office to a $77.5 million tally.
Still, top-10 holdovers generally saw only moderate falloffs, with the exception of Universal's seventh-ranked horror remake Psycho, which plunged 62 percent to $3.8 million in its second weekend.
Here are estimated grosses at North American theaters for Friday through Sunday as compiled by Exhibitor Relations Co. Inc. Final figures are to be released later Monday:
- Star Trek: Insurrection, $22.4 million
- A Bug's Life, $11 million
- Jack Frost, $7 million
- Enemy of the State, $6.6 million
- The Rugrats Movie, $4.5 million
- The Waterboy, $4.3 million
- Psycho, $3.8 million
- Babe: Pig in the City, $1.8 million
- Meet Joe Black, $1.6 million
- Elizabeth, $1.3 million