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Monday, April 13, 2009

'Hannah Montana' outraces 'Fast and Furious' for the top spot with $34m, April 10-12, 2009

Thanks to a big dose of Miley Cyrus the box office continued its torrid pace for the new year, finishing 63% better than last year's comparable frame as moviegoers flocked to the Disney starlet this Easter weekend. Universal's actioner Fast and Furious was bumped from its perch to second place, while DreamWorks Animation's Monsters vs. Aliens finished solidly in third. Thanks to great weekends from the three films the box office posted the biggest Easter weekend in history.

Following up her box office smash Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds -- which shattered records over last year's Superbowl weekend -- Disney's Miley Cyrus scored another major hit with her Hannah Montana The Movie, taking in an estimated $34 million in its debut frame.

Besting the record breaking 3D concert movie Best of Both Worlds, which took in $31.1 million in February of 2008, Hannah Montana The Movie mobilized the legion of Cyrus' preteen fans (mostly girls) and their ticket-paying parents to movie theaters, as the G-rated pic averaged an incredible $10,904 in 3,118 theaters. It was the second biggest opening ever over Easter weekend, behind only 2006's Scary Movie with $40.2 million, as well as the fifth biggest April debut in history.

Disney has been able to successfully translate Cyrus' appeal to the big screen unlike any of their other Disney channel stars. Hoping to work the same February weekend magic as Best of Both Worlds this year, the studio offered their Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert on February 27th with lackluster results. The film significantly underperformed albeit lofty expectations, debut with just $12.5 million and losing the weekend bout to the sophomore weekend of Madia Goes to Jail.

More than half of Hannah Montana the Movie's weekend total came from a staggering $17.3 million Good Friday haul, as families took advantage of school closings for the religious holiday. Reviews were mixed.

Falling 59% in its sophomore frame was last weekend's record breaking Fast & Furious, which followed up the biggest April debut in history with a $28.8 million Easter weekend. In ten days the $85 million budgeted pic has grossed $118 million, and should have no trouble surpassing the $144.5 million domestic haul of 2001's The Fast and the Furious to become the highest grossing ipc in the franchise.

DreamWorks Animation's 3D computer-animated pic Monsters vs. Aliens dropping a slight 31% in its third weekend to $22.6 million, bringing its domestic take to $141 million. At its current pace the $175 million budgeted comedy could come close to reaching $200 million.

Opening in fourth was Seth Rogen's mall cop comedy Observe and Report, which opened with $11 million this weekend. Debuting in 2,727 theaters, the Warner release averaged $4,085 per theater. Budgeted at a modest $18 million, the film received mixed reviews from critics.

In the "who actually greenlit this?" category, Fox's Dragonball Evolution debuted in a distant eighth with $4.7 million, averaging just $2,132 in 2,181 theaters. An adaptation of the Japaneses anime cartoon, the film was largely savaged by critics.

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