Box Office Guru

Box Office Wrapup: The Hangover edges out Up for top spot

Unfortunately, Will Ferrell is still Lost in third.

by | June 7, 2009 | Comments

UPDATE:

It looks like The Hangover actually ended up edging out Up for the top spot at the box office this weekend! Contrary to previous estimates, the box office actuals reveal that The Hangover brought in just under $45 million while Pixar’s Up raked in just over $44 million in its second week of release. Estimates had Up at $44.2 million and The Hangover at $43.3 million. Will Ferrell’s latest, Land of the Lost also came in a little lower than the weekend estimates predicted, earning $18.8 million, but the rest of the top 12 were fairly accurate. It’s not often that a movie will take the box office crown on the last day, but it was very close this weekend between the top two, and it made for an exciting race.

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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.

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Sensational word-of-mouth, glowing reviews, and a lack of offerings for young children now starting their summer breaks all contributed to the fantastic performance. Up enjoyed one of the better sophomore holds for a Pixar film declining less than WALL•E (49%), Ratatouille (38%), and Cars (44%) from the last three summers. It also held up better than the most recent offerings from rival DreamWorks which unleashed its last three titles over the past year – 3D pic Monsters vs. Aliens (45%), Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa (45%), and Kung Fu Panda (44%). Up is on course to fly higher than all six of those hits by the end of its run reaching $275M, and possibly $300M, from North America alone making it the second biggest Pixar smash ever behind just Finding Nemo‘s $339.7M.

Helped by the surcharges it is collecting from the 3D screens, Up is set to take on Pixar’s two biggest hits Nemo and The Incredibles. Nemo, which opened on the same weekend as Up in 2003, slid by only 34% in its second session for a ten-day tally of $144M. The following year’s Incredibles bowed in early November, dropped just 29% in its second try, and banked $143.3M after ten days. It ended with $261.4M which Up looks to soar past.

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The weekend’s big surprise came in the number two slot as the post-bachelor party comedy The Hangover flew past expectations to a stunning $43.3M opening weekend, according to estimates. The R-rated pic averaged a scorching $13,238 from 3,269 theaters for the best average of the frame. Directed by Todd Phillips (Old School, Starsky & Hutch), Hangover enjoyed the third biggest opening in box office history for an R-rated comedy. Only Sex and the City ($56.8M) and American Pie 2 ($45.1M) debuted better and both capitalized on built-in audiences which Hangover did not have.

Reviews were very positive and word-of-mouth from advance screenings helped to fuel excitement. Hangover easily beat out the debuts of other raunchy summer laughers with the same rating like Wedding Crashers ($33.9M), Knocked Up ($30.7M), and Superbad ($33.1M). However, one trouble spot came from the Saturday gross which dropped a troubling 9% from Friday’s stellar $16.5M opening day bow. Next weekend’s results will determine whether fans rushed out upfront, or if recommendations can help broaden the audience. But with a production cost of under $30M, The Hangover will certainly become a financial winner for Warner Bros. which already has a sequel in the works with Phillips and lead actors Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis and Ed Helms signed.

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Looking like the first big clunker of the summer movie season, Universal’s adventure-comedy Land of the Lost debuted weaker than expected in third place with an estimated $19.5M. The PG-13 pic launched ultrawide in 3,521 locations but averaged a mild $5,545. With Will Ferrell’s salary and special effects, the remake cost over $100M to produce and needed a bigger opening in order to find the land of profitability. The bow was even worse than the $20.1M of Ferrell’s last summer TV remake Bewitched from June 2005. Apparently, he did not learn his lesson.

Lost entered the marketplace trying to appeal to both families and to the comedian’s fan following, but the well-received Up and Hangover stole away much of those respective crowds. The PG-rated Night at the Museum sequel still sold a solid amount of tickets providing even more competition for those seeking adventure and laughs. Plus Lost‘s bad reviews and rating made parents think twice before taking their younger children. A weak product, intense competition, and source material that wasn’t wildly popular to begin with all contributed to Land of the Lost becoming this summer’s Speed Racer.

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Dropping 40% in its third weekend was Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian which grossed an estimated $14.7M. Fox’s action-comedy sequel has banked $127.3M in 17 days, off 22% from the pace of its 2006 predecessor. Paramount’s blockbuster reboot Star Trek followed with an estimated $8.4M, down only 33%, for a stellar total of $222.8M.

Sci-fi audiences have been spending half as much money on Terminator Salvation which fell 50% in its third mission to an estimated $8.2M. The Warner Bros. release became the year’s twelfth pic to break $100M on Saturday and raised its cume to $105.5M. Given its $200M production cost, the domestic results remain underwhelming. But overseas, Sony launched the John Connor saga this weekend and pulled in an impressive $67.5M haul ranking number one in 66 of its 70 markets. The international total stands at $97.2M and will quickly surpass the North American tally by the end of the week. Sony purchased rights for most overseas territories. Compared to 2003’s T3: Rise of the Machines, Salvation is running 21% ahead internationally for Sony but is lagging 17% behind domestically for Warner. Bros.

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Devilish films took up the next two spots. Sam Raimi’s Drag Me to Hell tumbled 54% in its second scare grossing an estimated $7.3M for a ten-day tally of $28.5M. Look for the Universal fright flick to end with $40-45M. Angels & Demons followed with an estimated $6.5M, down 43%, giving Sony a domestic take of $116.1M – down 39% from the pace of 2006’s The Da Vinci Code. Demons collected $22.3M overseas this weekend to push the international total to $292.9M and the global gross to $409M making it the top-grossing film worldwide this year.

The tour guide comedy My Life in Ruins created no excitement with moviegoers opening poorly in ninth place with an estimated $3.2M. The Fox Searchlight pic averaged a weak $2,771 from 1,164 locations and was panned by critics. Rounding out the top ten was the spoof comedy Dance Flick with an estimated $2M, stumbling a steep 58% in its third round, for a sum to date of just $22.7M for Paramount.

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Focus got off to a sizzling start with its pregnancy comedy Away We Go which bowed in four theaters with an estimated $143,260 for a potent average of $35,815. Directed by Sam Mendes (American Beauty, Revolutionary Road), the R-rated dysfunctional family pic stars NBC faces John Krasinski and Maya Rudolph and earned mixed reviews from critics. Away expands to over 30 sites across numerous top markets next weekend.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $157.3M which was down 7% from last year when Kung Fu Panda opened in the top spot with $60.2M; but up 22% from 2007 when Ocean’s Thirteen debuted at number one with $36.1M.

Author: Gitesh Pandya

www.BoxOfficeGuru.com