Pixar continues its eerily strong success streak with its latest picture, about a floating house. Terminator is in trouble, while the Ben Stiller bubble has yet to pop. It probably never will.
1) Up — $68.2 million
One stormy night many years ago, a small car drove up to a menacing, crooked old house far in the dirty outskirts of a crumbling, decaying American city. A man emerged from the car, walked up to the door, and tentatively knocked. After a long wait—he thought about leaving, he wanted to leave, but something compelled him to stay—a strange, bent old man answered the door. "Come in out of the rain," he croaked to the weary traveler. "My master shall see you in the parlor." He led the traveler through the dimly lit, cobwebbed rooms and finally there was a roaring fire and a huge armchair. In which sat a man of indeterminate age—was he young? or old? middle-aged? The traveler couldn't quite tell. "Sit down," the ageless man purred, like three voices talking at once. And so the traveler did. "I've prepared your contract here," and suddenly appeared an old piece of parchment. "Let's see... 'Being of sound mind and body'... blah blah... 'In perpetuity forever'... yadda yadda... ahh yes, the important part. 'And the company shall reign for decades, producing the highest quality product with supernatural ease, and all will be showered with praise.' And all for the low low price of... one soul. So just sign here if you could. No, I need the full name, not just initials. Yes, that's right. John Lasseter. Right there..." And John Lasseter signed and the bargain was upheld and though Pixar reigns now, poor Lasseter will suffer a thousand eternities in hell. I mean, that's the only reasonable explanation for their mind-boggling, unbroken string of successes, right?
2) Night of the Museum: Fight for the Threequel — $25.5 million
Showing strong legs in its second time at the rodeo, Ben Stiller's comedy held up despite its strong family competition from the aforementioned devil's deal. Do you think that some poor parents had to take their kids to both of these movies this weekend? Like somewhere where it rained and there was nothing else to do? And so you shill out $40, $50 for tickets and popcorn and sugary soda and hey, actually, Up is pretty good. But then they start wailing because they're bored and what else is there to do. OK, we'll go see Drag Me to Hell you think grimly, chuckling to yourself. No, obviously it has to be that museum movie with the Zoolander guy. So, $40, $50 again and sigh... it's actually pretty silly, with all the loud jokes and funny voices and all the kids do is yell, and you suddenly think in a sad flash that back in college you would have spent a whole rainy weekend stoned, sitting on the couch watching Star Wars, or trying to make out with Mindy Kitimski from down the hall and oh well, so it goes.
3) Drag Me to Hell — $16.6 million
Strong reviews and an otherwise horror-free cinemascape helped Sam Raimi's movie to a strong third place debut. Which is good news for fans of horror/comedy everywhere, and possibly good news for the underused Alison Lohman, who shined so brightly in the underrated White Oleander and then kinda disappeared for a while. Guess all it takes to get you back on top is a creepy old gypsy lady who tries to make a demon eat you. Just ask John Lasseter.
4) Terminator Salvation — $16.1 million
Yikes. Fourth place in its second weekend is not so good for ol' Stormin' Norman Christian Bale and his McG-led army of gray people doing gray things in Gray World. Which is OK, because the movie is not so good. My big beef? Why would a collective hive mind computer system that's all run from a central place need... a keyboard? Like, why would that be there? Can't the robots just tell each other how to do things because they're all just one computer robot? And why would they design their San Francisco headquarters with like, architectural flair? Do they care about aesthetics? I thought they were just uncaring computer robots. I'm confused. So is the rest of America.
9) Ghosts of Girlfriends Past — $1.9 million
It's funny to think about who went to this movie this weekend. It's been out for five weeks. Who went? People who just got back from a long trip overseas and when their significant other picked them up and the airport and asked them "so what do you want to do?" they said... "Ohh I know, let's go see that Matthew McConaughey ghost movie." So they do and then after the movie when they're taking the long way back to the car, enjoying the night, their significant other, whose name is Mindy Katimski, squeezes his hand and says "Speaking of old relationships, did I ever tell you about my boyfriend in college? We just smoked a lot of pot and watched Star Wars all the time. It was kinda lame. Anyway, he's got a bunch of kids now. He must be so happy."