UP is Up & Away the Weekend's Box Office Winner

Disney-Pixar's 10th CGI-animated feature Up pulled off the same trick the other 9 films did before it – it opened  #1 at the North America box office this past weekend.

Up debuted to an estimated $68.2 million, good for an easy win over its competition and 3rd place on Pixar's own non-adjusted chart, behind 2004's The Incredibles ($70.4m) and 2003's Finding Nemo ($70.3m).

Interestingly, the film's grosses were  boosted for premiums some exhibitors charge for the 3D version , a first for Pixar. According to boxofficeguru.com, New York's City's famous AMC Loews Lincoln Square charges $12.50 for a regular feature and $16.50 for a 3D feature.

Neck-and-neck with Star Trek for title of best rated-reviewed movie of the year, the (of course) family-friendly, PG-rated film should easily breach the $200m barrier and ultimately challenge Trek for the year's highest grosser, until the latest Harry Potter and the Transformers sequel roll into theaters later this summer, that is.

Fox's Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian fell 52% from its opening weekend to gross an estimated $25.5m, boosting its 10-day total to $105.3m. The film is not tracking to approach the $250.9m gross of 2006's first Museum and seems destined to top out short of $200m.

Universal's Drag Me To Hell, billed as director Sam Raimi's return to his "horror roots" after making the three mega-blockbuster Spider-Man installments, scared up (sorry) $16.6m in its debut weekend.  Despite strong reviews, the gross could be regarded somewhat of a disappointment, considering Raimi's Q-factor among genre fans and the fact that horror films like The Unborn and The Haunting of Connecticut both opened to over $20m this year.

A couple of the box office trackers also cited Universal's own The Strangers, the low-budget horror flick that opened to $21m this same weekend one year ago.

There is some division among the box office trackers about its outlook over the next few weeks. Boxofficeguru and ercboxoffice.com are both predicting a sharp decline and short life while boxoffice.com expects the film to show some legs when the positive reviews begin to kick in and more moviegoers get hip to the fact the PG-13 film plays more like horror-comedy.

As expected, Terminator Salvation took a sizeable hit, though not of Wolverine proportions. The fourth Terminator go-around took in an estimated $16m, a 62% decline from its opening weeked. At $90.7m over 11 days the film might not reach the $150m mark, which wouldn't even recoup (domestically) its reported $200m budget.

Star Trek continues to show staying power, dropping 44% from last weekend to $12.8m, good for a $209.5m 22-day total.

if Paramount keeps up the marketing machine, the film has a chance to finish in the $250m range, and challenge 1979's Star Trek: The Motion Picture for highest grosser in the franchise, adjusted for inflation (an estimated $240m).

Finally,X-Men Origins: Wolverine garnered another $3.9m for a total of $170.9m. The film is getting close to its eventual box office ceiling.

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