Box Office Has a Huge ‘Hangover’

Squeaks by “Up” for weekend box office crown.

Last Updated: June 8, 2009 @ 6:27 PM

Monday update:

After a strong Sunday, Warner Bros.’ "The Hangover" actually nudged past Disney-Pixar’s "Up" to take the weekend box office crown.

According to the studios’ final numbers for the weekend, "Hangover" beat "Up" by almost $900,000. The boozy Vegas romp took in $44.9 million; Pixar’s pic made 44.1 million. 

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Sunday final:

The weekend was full of surprises as “The Hangover” came within a million of knocking “Up” out of its comfy nest atop the box office.

The R-rated Vegas romp, which cost $35 million, awoke Sunday morning with an estimated $43 million, but its impressive debut wasn’t enough to topple the $44 million “Up” added to its coffers this weekend.

“Up,” like most Pixar pics, demonstrated amazing staying power. Ticket sales for the well-reviewed fantasy fell only 35 percent and got a huge $17.8 million bump on Saturday. “Up” has now earned an impressive $137.3 million in just ten days of release.

The overall box-office was down for the second week in a row, compared with last year.

Meanwhile, Universal’s “Land of the Lost,” which seemed to be a lock for second place on Thursday, was just plain lost . Poor reviews and a highly competitive box office contributed to the PG-13 comedy grossing only $19.5 million.

“It’s kind of the first flop of the summer,” said Paul Dergarabedian of Hollywood.com. “When movies hang in there strongly, it creates more competition for the newcomers. Even ‘Star Trek’ is hanging in there in its fifth week.”

The costly ($100+ million) “Lost” may have suffered a kind of identity crisis that resulted in its being caught in box-office limbo. Some critics said the PG-13 comedy was too sexual and scatological for the family crowd who took their offspring to see PG-rated “Up” and “Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian.” But “Lost” wasn’t adult enough for fans of Will Ferrell’s R-rated fare such as “Step-Brothers,” “Semi-Pro” and “Old School.”

Universal distribution president Nikki Rocco said the studio doesn’t know why “Lost” was such a misfire. “The film didn’t do the business we hoped it would this weekend. We’ll be studying it and figuring it out,” she said. Universal had expected the movie to perform in the 30s.

“You make movies in the hopes that they’re going to work. And occasionally, you have a big miss. I think the whole industry is shocked,” Rocco said.

Many in the industry will also be shocked that a little, R-rated comedy without any A-list names came so close to out-grossing a bonafide Pixar blockbuster. “The Hangover’s” $43 million take is the third biggest opening ever for an R-rated comedy, behind “Sex and the City’s" $56.8 million debut last summer and “American Pie 2’s” $45.1 million opening in 2001.

Dergarabedian said the boozy pic, starring Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms and Zack Galifianakis, benefitted from “a great marketing campaign, a great title, a terrific concept and lots of buzz.” “Hangover” also distinguished itself as the only R option in a marketplace dominated by PGs and PG-13s.

“Museum” followed “Lost” in fourth place with $14.6 this weekend — only a 40 percent drop in its third week of release. The Fox comedy has grossed $127.3 million to date.

“Trek” got the No. 5 spot with $8.4 million — a 33 percent drop. With $222.8 million, J.J. Abrams’ redo is the top domestic grosser of ’09.

“Terminator Salvation” landed in No. 6 with $8.1 million, followed by “Drag Me to Hell” with $7.3 million.

The biggest global release of the year, “Angels & Demons” racked up another $6.5 million domestically for eighth place and total of $409 million worldwide.

The weekend’s other newcomer, Fox Searchlight’s “My Life in Ruins,” debuted at No. 9 with $3.2 million. “Dance Flick” followed with $2 million.

“X-Men Origins: Wolverine” and “Ghosts of Girlfriends Past” fell out of the Top 10 for the first time since both were released six weeks ago.

In the indie world, “The Brothers Bloom” continued to dominate, picking up another $425,000 this weekend in 173 theaters for a cumulative $2 million.

Summit’s “Bloom” will soon be challenged by Focus Features’ “Away We Go,” which grossed $143,260 in just four theaters this weekend. The indie comedy directed by Sam Mendes and starring John Krasinski will open in wide release on July 12.

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