Up barely floated past the boffo success story of the summer, The Hangover, while some other films struggled for traction in a loud, crowded summertime cinemascape.
1) Up — $44.2 million
Well, Pixar continues its terrifying and complete reign of supremacy. Their 3D South American jungle adventure—about an old man who captures a little boy in his floating balloon house and dangles him in front of dangerous animals—raked in another hefty sum. Part of that was due to the higher-priced 3D tickets, which are becoming all the rage. Pretty soon you'll be seeing Michael Haneke or Wong Kar Wai making meditative weirdo foreign films that Jump. Right. At You!
2) The Hangover — $43.3 million
Once the actuals are determined, this bro-bait sleeper hit could end up going over the top and beating those two gay balloon lovebirds. Either way, it's still an astoundingly strong debut for a movie that doesn't have any stars and has a strong R rating. Will this finally make Bradley Cooper a movie star? Will director Todd Phillips ascend to the ranks of Apatow and Stiller? "No" and "Maybe", would be my guesses. Who I'm most excited for, though, are Ed Helms and Zach Galifianakis, two funny gents who ought to finally have some weight to throw around dusty old Hollywood. Since audiences gave the thing a can't-be-beat A CinemaScore, and as there's no direct competition on the near horizon, these drunken buffoons ought to stumble and belch their way safely through the next few weeks, unmolested.
UPDATE: Final tallies are in, and The Hangover did, in fact, beat Up this weekend, $45 million to $44.4 million. A photo finish! [Variety]
3) Land of the Lost — $19.5 million
Oh dear. Will Ferrell was back in the game with Step Brothers, but now he's right back out. Playing on almost 300 more screens than Hangover, it managed to gross less than half of that made-on-the-cheap flick's haul. Was it the bad reviews? Was it that no one could quite tell if it was a children's movie or for grownups? Was it that every gag in the commercials and trailers was gross and had to do with either blood, snot, or pee? I mean, "Matt Lauer can suck it!" was sorta funny, but that was... about it. I like Ferrell, so don't wish him failure, but this whole project always seemed a bit iffy as a bigtime summer competitor. Maybe if it came out in March or something. Then again, maybe not even then. It got a lousy C+ CinemaScore, which means no one will tell their friends to go and the thing will quickly disappear. Some call it banished to a land where things are... lost.
6) Terminator Salvation — $8.5 million
John Connor: The Yelling Chronicles finally crossed the $100 million mark! So good for them and the giganto Arnie robots and the filthy, soot-covered cherub nymph that is Anton Yelchin, and Moonwalker Bloodypants or whatever her name is, but most of all good for McG, who managed to take a great at best and decent at worst franchise and run it straight into the ash-strewn ground. Do you think he and Brett Ratner ever get together and talk about X-Men: The Last Stand and Salvation and sort of half chuckle, half weep for an hour or two, then drive off in their fancy cars to their mansions and eventually forget all about it? I'll bet they do.
9) My Life in Ruins — $3.2 million
A depressingly apt title. Poor Nia Vardalos flew so high seven years ago when her cheesy (feta!) little indie-that-could My Big Fat Joey Fatone slowly stormed the box office and, presumably, made her very very rich. But a failed TV series and a short string of guest spots later, her new sad Greek lady rehash has stumbled out of the gate with a lowly sum. Or has it? The flick's only playing on 1,164 screens, giving it a higher per-screen average than the number five film this week, the unstoppable Star Trek. So that could bode well for a slow burn, though the reviews haven't been as buoyant as they were for Big, Fat, plus there's no John Corbett. So maybe it is a fizzle. Ah well. Onto I Hate Valentine's Day, also about a sad Greek lady and... oho! John Corbett. Dynamite.