Star Trek has claimed the second biggest US box office opening of the year with $76.5 million (£50.3 million) earned in its first weekend on release.

Though the box office haul for JJ Abrams' new take on the science-fiction franchise fell short of X-Men Origins: Wolverine's $85 million ($55.9 million) opening, its performance was one of the best in the continuing tales of the crew of the USS Enterprise.

Starring Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto and Simon Pegg, Star Trek tells of the early days of Captain James T Kirk and his fellow graduates of the Starfleet Academy.

Paramount Pictures are now near-certain to begin development on an already-commissioned script for a sequel.

"JJ Abrams did everything we could have asked for in re-energising this franchise and making a fantastic movie for everyone," Paramount's vice chairman Rob Moore was quoted by Variety as saying.

Last week's number one film, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, saw a steep decline in its box office fortunes, with a 68 per cent fall in its takings, while romantic comedy Ghosts of Girlfriends Past fell one place to third.

The only other new opening of the weekend was comedy Next Day Air, starring SCRUBS actor Donald Faison, which entered in sixth.

The top ten films at the US box office are: (last week's position)

1 Star Trek - $76.5 million (-)
2 X-Men Origins: Wolverine - $27 million (1)
3 Ghosts Of Girlfriends Past - $10.4 million (2)
4 Obsessed - $6.6 million (3)
5 17 Again - $4.4 million (4)
6 Next Day Air - $4 million (-)
7 The Soloist - $3.6 million (6)
8 Monsters Vs Aliens - $3.3 million (5)
9 Earth - $2.5 million (7)
10 Hannah Montana: The Movie - $2.4 million (8)

11/05/2009 09:24:41