Everyone expected a big weekend for the latest from the seemingly unstoppable Pixar/Disney creative team, but who knew that an elderly human could outperform an immature robot?
Yes, despite apparently being a bit intense for the very small ones, “Up” benefited from its widely noted ability to make adults cry and then laugh a lot as well — and perhaps more pointedly from being shown in what Nikki Finke reports is a record number (over 1,500) of 3-D digital screens. It raised $68.2 million, beating “WALL-E” by about $5 million, making it the third highest grosser in Pixar’s illustrious history. (Though, as always, one should remember that ticket prices keep getting higher.) But for those who think pristine visuals and high tech sound are the only attractions, I also have reason to believe it did well at the few remaining drive-in theaters as well…but more about that in a bit.
Overall, “Family” was apparently the watchword as “Night at the Museum: The Battle of the Smithsonian,” as Brandon Gray points out, dropped what is now considered a very respectable 53.5% to net $25.5 million smackers, buoyed by those premiums for IMAX theaters, both legit and “Liemax.”
Meanwhile, there was just a slight whiff of disappointment in horrorland as the ethically fascinating creepfest “Drag Me to Hell” netted a mere $16.6 million, but Sam Raimi’s presumably lowish budget flick is not quite in the movie toilet. Variety‘s Dave McNary cites a Universal bigwig thusly:
“It was a solid start,” [distribution chief Nikki] Rocco said, who asserted that “Drag Me to Hell” should benefit in coming weeks from a slew of positive reviews.
And, word of mouth of course. Like me, right here. As mentioned in my pre-weekend b.o. post, I really did head down to the Mission Tiki Drive-In in otherwise scenically challenged Montclair, CA. Alongside seeing hordes and hordes and hordes and hordes of families scrambling to see “Up” and meeting some very, very cool fellow cinenerds (some famed far and wide, relatively speaking), I can also say that “Drag Me to Hell” is a genuine hoot. You serious horror fans should be aware that, while it has laughs, they are mostly of the nervous and ironic variety, if that makes you feel any better. I mean, God forbid if a horror movie should actually be, you know, fun — and I don’t mean Dick Cheney’s idea of fun.
Meanwhile, “Terminator Salvation” did a lackluster $16.1 million in its second weekend, meaning that McG, Christian Bale and company likely feel like they’ve been dragged to the unhappy place themselves.