B.O. Analysis May 31: ‘Up’ Battles ‘Night at the Museum II’ and Soars Off With Winnings

[IMG: LNo surprise here as the most consistently performing set of films in the history of mankind continues to wow audiences and critics alike as Pixar’s Up tops the chart with a massive $68.2 million. This is the third best opening ever for a Pixar film — just behind 2004’s The Incredibles ($70.5M) and 2003’s Finding Nemo ($70.2M). With a geriatric main character voiced by Ed Asner (The Mary Tyler Moore Show’s Lou Grant) and an awesome first four minutes that sets up the back story of the main character, Up is yet another creative and fiscal slam dunk for Disney/Pixar. As the opening night film at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival, Up is at once a work of art and a bean counter’s dream: a rare film that fills the dual role of being a creative success and box-office winner.

At number two is Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian which, after a huge Memorial Day weekend three-day gross of $54 million and a four-day take of $70 million, took a fairly mild drop of 53 percent but crossed the $100 million mark in just 10 days of release. With $25.5 million for the weekend, the film becomes the latest hit for Twentieth Century Fox, which now has two summer blockbusters to its credit with their X-Men Origins: Wolverine having kicked off the season in fine style.

In third, Sam Raimi scared the crap out of audiences with Drag Me to Hell. The antithesis of “Up, the horror film offered audiences a scary alternative to the typical lighter summer fare, plus, a chance to see the director get back to his horror roots. With $16.6 million for the weekend and a solid per-theater average, the film dragged more than a few patrons into the darkness of the movie theater this weekend.

John Connor (Christian Bale) and Co. hauled in $16.1 million in Skynet dollars as the fourth installment of The Terminator franchise sees its total closing in on the $100 million mark after just 11 days of saving mankind from the machines. The film, which boasts a notable performance from co-star Sam Worthington, still has enough of a fan base to generate blockbuster numbers even though the original film opened over 25 years ago.

Boldly continuing to go to the outer reaches of box-office performance is the well-reviewed and well-liked Star Trek. With another $12.8 million to its credit, the film has crossed the $200 million mark domestically and thus becomes the highest-grossing film released this year having beamed itself past the terrific Monsters vs. Aliens and into the record books.

Comparisons to last year’s comparable weekend were tough when the cosmopolitan buddy chick flick Sex in the City: The Movie debuted with a whopping $57 million as the pent-up demand for Carrie Bradshaw and her pals was too much for women across the nation to resist. The summer box-office growth rate has paled in comparison to the blistering pace established in the first quarter of the year with about a 4 percent revenue increase summer over summer at this point. Revenues are still at an impressive 13.6 percent over last year and attendance at an 11 percent advantage over 2008 as we head toward a weekend of summer comedy.

Not to worry, however, as star Bradley Cooper and his crew of misfit bachelor party pals prepare to give the nation a killer Hangover next weekend, and not to mention Will Ferrell who will take audiences to the Land of the Lost.


1. NEW! Up (Disney) – $68.2M; 3766 theaters; $18,109 PTA

2. Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian (Fox) – $25.5M; 4101 theaters; $6,218 PTA; -53%; $105.2M cume

3. NEW! Drag Me to Hell (Universal) – $16.6M; 2508 theaters; $6,630 PTA

4. Terminator Salvation (Warner Bros.) – $16.1M; 3602 theaters; $4,481 PTA; -62%; $90.6M cume

5. Star Trek (Paramount) – $12.M; 3507 theaters; $3,650 PTA; -44%; $209.5M cume

6. Angels & Demons (Sony/Columbia) – $11.2M; 3464 theaters; $3,233 PTA; -48%; $104.7M cume

7. Dance Flick (Paramount) – $4.9M; 2459 theaters; $1,993 PTA; -54%; $19.2M cume

8. X-Men Origins: Wolverine (Fox) – $3.9M; 2263 theaters; $1,723 PTA; -52%; $170.8M cume

9. Ghosts of Girlfriends Past (Warner Bros.) – $1.9M; 1450 theaters; $1,314 PTA; -50%; $50M cume

10. Obsessed (Sony/Screen Gems) – $665K; 679 theaters; $979 PTA; -66%; $67.5M cume


LAST WEEK’S B.O.: Night at the Museum 2 Fights Back, Crushes Terminator