Zac Efron turned "17" into $24 million this weekend.
Warner Bros.’ comedy "17 Again," starring the 21-year-old heartthrob, topped the box office, while ticket sales for "Hannah Montana the Movie," which played to an overlapping teen and tween-age audience, fell 61 percent to take in an estimated $12.6 million in fourth place.
"Monsters vs. Aliens" — now a month in release — cut ahead of "Hannah" to take No. 3 with $12.9 million.
Overall, the box office continues to escalate to new heights in a time of national recession. This weekend’s total take was up 21 percent when compared to the same weekend last year, and the year-to-date box office figurenow stands more than 17% higher in revenue than last year.
"The fourth consecutive ‘up’ weekend at the box office gives us a gargantuan year-to-date revenue lead of 17.3% over last year and an attendance increase of 15.6%. This gives us an incredible amount of momentum as we head into the final weekend of the Spring and portends a huge start to the Summer Movie Season on May 1," said Paul Dergarabedian of Media By Numbers.
Dergarabedian noted that this year’s record-busting box office has been driven by untraditional stars such as Kevin James, Liam Neeson, Tyler Perry and Paul Rudd.
"With a great marketing campaign and the incredible appeal of star Zac Efron to female fans everywhere, the PG-13 rated film opened better than expected and now adds Efron to the list of unlikely leading men who can open a picture on their own and line up the fans at the multiplex," Dergarabedian said.
Universal’s R-rated drama "State of Play" performed above expectations, coming in at No. 2 with $14.1 million.
Lionsgate’s "Crank: High Voltage" was projected to outdo the political thriller by a few million. But "High Voltage," starring Jason Statham, came in at No. 6 with only $6.5 million, just behind Universal’s "Fast & Furious," now in its third week at the box office. The first "Crank" film debuted in No. 2 with $12.8 million in September 2006.
"I guess it’s all about what expectations are and how people in this industry set it up," Universal Pictures distribution president Nikki Rocco said. "Many wanted to write ‘State’ off too quickly. Its not a huge breakout hit, but it has solid footing."
According to Universal’s exit polling, 75 percent of "State’s" audience were over 35 years old; 55 percent were female. Sixty six percent said their main reason for seeing the film was Russell Crowe; 52 percent said they were drawn to the story.
"Adults shows up, but they show up slowly," Rocco said of the exit polls. "Hopefully, with a good word of mouth, it will stay around."