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This weekend audiences embraced two very different films as the animated blockbuster Up from Disney/Pixar won a close race to retain its position at number one while the raunchy new comedy The Hangover opened stronger than expected finishing close behind in second place. Will Ferrell's time travel action-comedy Land of the Lost had trouble finding audiences with a disappointing third place debut. With big Hollywood actors asking for more and more money, moviegoers spent their cash on two crowd pleasers lacking any major star names.
It was a close race for the box office crown but despite losing the Friday battle, muscular Saturday and Sunday sales lifted Up to another weekend in first place with an estimated $44.2M. Off only 35%, the PG-rated hit has now upped its ten-day cume to a robust $137.3M. If the estimate holds, it will be the largest second weekend gross for any film since last summer's The Dark Knight.
Pixar and Disney celebrated their tenth straight number one smash with the 3D flying house flick Up which enjoyed a strong opening atop the North American box office. The new horror film Drag Me to Hell played well to those looking for a scare with its third place finish. Most holdovers fell by more than 50% from last weekend's holiday session but overall sales for the top ten still matched up to last year.
Moviegoers spent the weekend with a grumpy old man and an adventurous young scout as the animated film Up debuted at number one with an estimated $68.2M from 3,766 locations. Averaging a stellar $18,109 per location, the PG-rated film continued Pixar's lucky streak which has seen every one of its offerings debut at number one in its first weekend of wide release. Grosses were boosted by extra surcharges that theaters collected for the 3D presentation, the first ever for Pixar. For example, New York City's Lincoln Square theater charges $12.50 for regular tickets, but $16.50 for Up in 3D.
Fox won the holiday battle of the sequels as the adventure comedy Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian debuted at number one over the long Memorial Day frame easily outgunning its rival, the Warner Bros. sci-fi actioner Terminator Salvation, which opened in second place. Holdovers fared well as the Top 20 films pulled in $220M from 30 million tickets sold virtually matching last year's holiday weekend.
This weekend Tom Hanks and director Ron Howard reteamed for their second Robert Langdon adventure Angels & Demons and reached number one with an opening that was respectable, but not spectacular. More impressive was the remarkable second weekend hold that the sci-fi actioner Star Trek enjoyed close behind in the runnerup spot. A mere $5M separated the two films even though Trek has been in theaters a week longer. With only one new opener, most holdovers saw relatively low declines as for the first time since early February, no film in the top ten dropped by more than 50%. Taking over the top spot this weekend, Angels & Demons debuted with an estimated $48M from 3,527 theaters for a solid $13,609 average per location.
This weekend a classic franchise was reborn as North American moviegoers came out in strong numbers for the new Star Trek which grossed an estimated $76.5M over its extended three-and-a-half-day debut. The impressive figure consists of roughly $4M from early showtimes that began at 7pm on Thursday evening and $72.5M across the standard Friday-to-Sunday period.
The $125M Paramount production was a gamble that paid off as the franchise was left for dead after the last installment, 2002's Star Trek: Nemesis, grossed a dismal $43.1M striking out with fans worldwide. The new Trek averaged a solid $18,836 over the three-day period from 3,849 theaters including 138 Imax venues. The $72.5M figure represented the biggest opening ever in franchise history more than doubling the $30.7M of 1996's First Contact, the previous best in the eleven-pic series. But comparisons are not fair since previous films were made for the die-hard fans and enjoyed much lower ticket prices. The new Trek was a reboot with a new younger cast that played to fans and to general action audiences too.
Fox's super hero spinoff X-Men Origins: Wolverine crushed the competition and ruled the global box office kicking off the summer movie season with a scorching debut. The romantic comedy Ghosts of Girlfriends Past opened reasonably well in second place helping the overall marketplace match the same weekend a year ago when Iron Man got 2008's record summer season started.
Singer-actress Beyoncé Knowles crushed the competition with a sizzling opening for her new romantic thriller Obsessed which powered well past expectations to lead the North American box office over the final weekend before the much-anticipated start of the summer movie season. Also performing well were two other new releases - the Channing Tatum drama Fighting and the nature documentary Earth. Not drawing big crowds was the star-combo of Robert Downey Jr. and Jamie Foxx in The Soloist which bowed in fourth place. Most holdovers fell sharply losing 50% or more of their business, but the top ten hit the $100M mark surging more than 30% ahead of last year's levels ending a record April and a busy spring with a bang.
This weekend Zac Efron scored his second number one opener in six months as his non-musical high school comedy 17 Again debuted powerfully in the top spot to lead the North American box office to another impressive year-over-year gain. Russell Crowe's murder thriller State of Play bowed in second place while Jason Statham's action sequel Crank High Voltage limped to a weak sixth place opening. Efron proved that he could draw a sizable crowd of paying customers outside of his safe Disney zone with 17 Again which premiered with an estimated $24.1M winning this weekend's box office race by a wide $10M margin.
This weekend the queen of teendom Miley Cyrus flexed her muscles again at the multiplexes with Hannah Montana The Movie which defeated all competitors for a squeaky clean number one debut over the Easter holiday weekend. Former chart-toppers Fast & Furious and Monsters vs. Aliens kicked in over $20M a piece powering the overall marketplace to its best showing ever for the bunny holiday.
Disney ruled the North American box office with an estimated $34M opening for Hannah over the Friday-to-Sunday period as the actress/rocker's fan base came out in droves. The G-rated film about the popular television character's reconnection to her roots averaged a powerful $10,904 from 3,118 theaters. It was the second biggest opening ever over the Easter holiday frame trailing only 2006's Scary Movie ($40.2M). Hannah also scored the fifth largest April debut after Fast & Furious ($71M), Anger Management ($42.2M), Scary 4, and The Scorpion King ($36.1M).
The turbo-charged racing sequel Fast & Furious crushed its competitors and blew away all industry expectations with a launch that shattered the April opening weekend box office record. And with the animated hit Monsters vs. Aliens still doing solid business in its second frame, the overall marketplace powered its way to the highest-grossing April session ever. Together, the two juggernauts grossed more this weekend than the entire marketplace did during this same frame in 2008 continuing a scorching hot year for movie ticket sales.
This weekend Moviegoers still love Nicolas Cage action flicks as the actor's latest film, the doomsday thriller Knowing, easily beat out two other new releases to capture the top spot at the North American box office. Opening in second and third respectively were the buddy comedy I Love You, Man starring Paul Rudd and the Julia Roberts-Clive Owen spy pic Duplicity. With the trio of new titles pulling in over $57M, most holdovers suffered sizable drops as the overall marketplace lagged behind last year's numbers by a slim margin.
This weekend Wrestler-turned-actor Dwayne Johnson became the undisputed heavyweight champion of the North American box office with his Disney adventure film Race to Witch Mountain which opened strongly at number one. The comic book saga Watchmen plunged in its sophomore frame settling for second place while the new horror entry The Last House on the Left bowed impressively in third. Existing films held up very well as five of the seven holdover titles in the top ten dipped by less than 30%. However, the overall marketplace fell from last year's levels for the first time in six weeks. Dwayne Johnson scored his sixth career number one opener for a lead role with Race to Witch Mountain which easily claimed the top spot with an estimated $25M. Playing to a broad audience, the PG-rated adventure averaged an impressive $7,844 from 3,187 theaters and did especially well with family audiences. The debut beat out the launch of Johnson's last Disney vehicle with director Andy Fickman The Game Plan which bowed to $23M on its way to a solid $90.6M which amounted to four times the debut weekend figure. Race was inspired by the Witch Mountain franchise Disney had in the late 1970s.
The adult-themed superhero film Watchmen seized control of the North American box office posting the biggest debut of the year with an estimated $55.7M in ticket sales over the Friday-to-Sunday period. Directed by Zack Snyder (300, Dawn of the Dead), the R-rated film based on the acclaimed 1986 comic series averaged a muscular $15,413 from 3,611 theaters. It was the third best March opening ever trailing 300 ($70.9M) and Ice Age: The Meltdown ($68M) and the sixth largest bow for an R-rated film after The Matrix Reloaded ($91.8M), The Passion of the Christ ($83.8M), 300, Hannibal ($58M), and Sex and the City ($57M).
Despite the arrival of rocking teens, Tyler Perry enjoyed a back-to-back stint at number one with the hit comedy Madea Goes to Jail which led a sluggish frame despite suffering a sizable sophomore drop. Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience debuted in second place while many holdovers posted small declines remaining popular with moviegoers once again.
THIS WEEKEND Tyler Perry once again showed why he is the King (and Madea his Queen) of the box office as Madea Goes to Jail slaughtered the competition this weekend. Holdovers were mixed and the only other new release landed with a soft thud. Taking his rightful place atop the box office charts, Tyler Perry's Madea Goes to Jail ruled the roost this weekend bringing in a stunning $41.2M, according to estimates, for a per screen average of $20,236. Perry's fans have obviously been hungering for another round of Madea and they came out in droves to see her. Madea Goes to Jail replaces Madea's Family Reunion as Perry's biggest opening weekend gross. That film opened three years ago to a $30M bow and $13,688 average. Perry's last two films have been relative disappointments (relative only within the Perry universe) but Madea has set him back on track. In fact, Madea Goes to Jail this weekend alone has made more money than Perry's last film The Family That Preys, did in its entire run late last year, when it finished with $37.1M.
THIS WEEKEND Masked killer Jason Voorhees was elected commander-in-chief of the box office over Presidents' Day weekend which posted a new record for the holiday frame thanks to eight different films grossing double digit millions over four days led by the horror remake Friday the 13th which hacked up a sensational debut. The new comedy Confessions of a Shopaholic enjoyed an impressive bow as well while the banking thriller The International unfortunately saw a somewhat lukewarm launch. Most holdovers remained very strong as Valentine's Day, which fell on the prime moviegoing day of Saturday, gave a big boost to multiplex traffic.
The new romantic comedy He's Just Not That Into You featuring an all-star cast including Jennifer Aniston and Ben Affleck was the top choice with North American moviegoers. Last weekend's top entry, the kidnapping thriller Taken, showed incredible strength in its second frame taking second place thanks to a very low decline. The new 3D animated pic Coraline debuted with strength in third while The Pink Panther 2 followed in fourth with an uneventful bow. The actioner Push earned respectable numbers in its launch putting it in the number six slot. Overall, the box office was once again on fire as the Top 20 films grossed nearly $146M surging an amazing 41% above year-ago levels.
From Pittsburgh to Arizona and everywhere in between, moviegoers were in the mood for revenge as the Liam Neeson action thriller Taken shot past expectations debuting at number one over Super Bowl weekend. The frame's other new releases, the horror entry The Uninvited and the comedy New in Town, debuted to more moderate numbers while the top holdover pics posted solid holds. Overall, the North American box office was a virtual match with year-ago numbers capping off an impressive January at the multiplexes.
THIS WEEKEND Sony became the first studio in over a year to seize control of the top two spots at the box office as its Kevin James comedy Paul Blart: Mall Cop remained at number one for a second straight week while its new werewolf thriller Underworld: Rise of the Lycans opened close behind in second place with a solid showing. Movies nabbing Oscar nominations saw their grosses jump, some more dramatically than others, with a handful using the opportunity to expand their runs nationwide. The overall North American box office remained robust and beat year-ago numbers for the fifth consecutive weekend.
This weekend the North American box office was on fire once again as four new releases all scored muscular debuts helping to drive the marketplace to the biggest January weekend in history as ticket buyers flooded the multiplexes over a record-shattering Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday frame. The Kevin James comedy Paul Blart: Mall Cop surged ahead of expectations to easily win the session while the R-rated films My Bloody Valentine 3D and Notorious also generated stellar numbers. Kidpic Hotel for Dogs debuted to some nice figures as well joining its fellow newcomers in the top five. All four new films opened to more than $20M each over the extended four-day Friday-to-Monday period.