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Sunday, June 7, 2009

'Up' edges 'Hangover' for top spot with $44.2m, June 5-7, 2009

In a weekend many thought might be a battle of two newcomers, it was Disney-Pixar's blockbuster family comedy Up which held on to the top spot, leading all films with another fantastic $44.2 million. Its biggest challenger was not Will Ferrell's big budget TV adaptation Land of the Lost, but rather the modestly budgeted R-rated comedy The Hangover, which despite no big stars managed one of the biggest opening weekends ever for an R-rated comedy at $43.2 million. Unable to shrug off horrendous reviews, Land of the Lost finished a distant third with $19.5 million.

Battling throughout the weekend for the top crown, Pixar Animation's Up and Warner Bros.' The Hangover traded places between Friday and Saturday, with the PG-rated animated hit edging the raunchy R-rated comedy by less than $1 million by Sunday. Falling just 35% from its better than expected debut last weekend the $175 million budgeted pic finished with $44.2 million, bringing its ten day take to a remarkable $137.3 million. That ten-day haul is the third biggest in Pixar history, behind only 2003's Finding Nemo with $144 million and 2004's The Incredibles with $143.2 million. Finding Nemo posted a sophomore frame of $46.6 million (down 33.7%) on its way to $339.7 million total, while The Incredibles posted a $50.2 million second weekend (down 28.7%) on its way to $261.4 million.

Thanks to glowing reviews and fantastic word of mouth, Up became the first film in four months to finish at No.1 in consecutive weekends and also posted the biggest sophomore frame since The Dark Knight finished with $75.1 million last July. At its current pace and with no direct competition until Ice Age 3 on July 1st, look for Up to become the second biggest film in Pixar history with a $270-280 million domestic haul.

Blowing away nearly all industry projections this weekend, Warner Bros.' raunchy Vegas comedy The Hangover debuted in second with $43.3 million, posting the third biggest opening ever for an R-rated comedy. Averaging a whopping $13,238 in 3,269 theaters, the well-reviewed pic beat out R-rated brethren like Superbad ($33.1 million), Wedding Crashers ($33.9 million) and Knocked Up ($30.7 million) despite a relatively unknown cast.

Carrying a production budget of just $30 million, the Todd Phillips directed pic will go a long way in helping Warner shake off the disturbing performance of its summer tentpole Terminator Salvation, which limped across the $100 million mark in its third week of release in spite of its $200 million price tag. Knowing they already had a hit on their hands, Warner had already greenlit a sequel for its newest comedy franchise.

Universal's gamble in bringing a cheesy 1970s Saturday morning TV show to the big screen blew up in their face as their big budget family comedy Land of the Lost debuted in a distant third with just $19.5 million. Savaged by critics (RT score of just 28%), the Will Ferrell vehicle came to theaters with a $100 million price tag, averaging $5,545 in 3,521 theaters.

Ferrell's affinity for turning 70s era TV shows into big budget theatrical productions has been a mixed bag, with 2005's Bewitched opening to $20.1 million on its way to $63.3m total, and 2004's Starsky and Hutch (in which he had a non-starring role) debuting with $28.1 million and $88.2m total. Universal's choice to launch Land of the Lost this weekend was probably its downfall, as the film was forced to follow the second weekend of Pixar's Up, and the third for Fox's Night at the Museum 2, all of whom share the same PG family demographic. Fans of Ferrell most likely chose the better-reviewed and less watered-down The Hangover. Look for Lost to finish with less than $50 million domestic.

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