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Pixar Up, Box Office Down

June 1st, 2009

It was a close call, but 2009 wasn't able to keep pace with 2008, despite Up's better than expected opening. Overall, the box office generated $166 million, which was 6.0% lower than last weekend and 1.4% lower than the same weekend last year. Year-to-date, 2009 still has an impressive 13.6% lead over 2008 at $4.11 billion to $3.61 billion, and even with weakness over the next few weeks, 2009 should maintain its lead for a while to come.

Pixar goes ten for ten as Up opened in first place with $68.11 million over the weekend. This is the studio's third best opening, and its tenth first place film in a row. (A Bug's Life and Toy Story 2 didn't open in first place, but expanded into first place after a prestige limited engagement.) Looking at the film's reviews, it is hard to imagine that it won't have wonderful legs, and $200 million domestically is now the low end of the range for its final box office, while $250 million becomes a lot more realistic. This is a little higher than original expectations, and more than enough to make the studio happy.

Night at the Museum - Battle of the Smithsonian finished within a rounding error of the low end of Thursday's prediction, earning $24.35 million over the weekend for a total of $104.15 million after two. It became the eighth film released in 2009 to reach $100 million, but it wasn't the only one to get there this weekend. As for where it goes from here, $150 million is practically a sure thing, while $175 million is possible. This is well behind the performance of the first Night at the Museum, but as long as the movie's production budget wasn't an insane amount, it should be enough to show a profit by its initial push into the home market, if not sooner.

Terminator - Salvation was a little weaker, earning $16.43 million over the weekend. However, that was still enough for third place, which was better than expected. It was also enough to lift the film's total to $90.95 million after eleven days of release. At this point, it is less than a week away from hitting $100 million, and when it does, it will join a list of at least ten other films from 2009 that have accomplished that feat.

Drag Me to Hell earned some of the best reviews for any wide release this year. But its opening was significantly weaker than predicted on Thursday with $15.83 million. The great reviews mean it could have better legs than most horror movies, and that could help it match original expectations.

Rounding out the top five was Star Trek with $12.61 million over the weekend and a total of $209.31 million after four weeks of release. It became the biggest hit of the year so far, and the first $200 million movie as well.

Speaking of milestones, Angels and Demons reached $100 million over the weekend and now has $104.91 million in total. This is not too far below original expectations, but about 40% lower than the original had pulled in at this point in its run.

This brings us to the sophomore class, and the only such film not to reach the top five was Dance Flick, which fell 55% to $4.74 million over the weekend for a total of $19.08 million after two. This is hardly a powerhouse performance, but it is in line with original expectations.

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Filed under: Up, Star Trek, Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian, Angels & Demons, Terminator Salvation, Drag Me To Hell, Dance Flick