By Mack Chico
“Hannah Montana: The Movie” opened as the top film over the Easter weekend, taking in $34 million in ticket sales at theaters in the U.S. and Canada.
“Hannah Montana,” from Walt Disney Co., displaced the action film “Fast & Furious,” which fell to second with $28.8 million, box-office researcher Media By Numbers LLC said today in an e-mailed statement.
Sales rose 61 percent to an Easter holiday weekend record of $130.2 million from a year earlier, the third straight weekend of year-over-year gains for Hollywood studios. For the year to date, box-office revenue is 17 percent ahead of last year, and attendance is up 15 percent.
“‘Hannah’ had a gigantic Good Friday, when kids were out of school, it didn’t do as well on Saturday or Easter Sunday, but this was well above expectations,” said Steve Mason, a film analyst with BigHollywood.com, in a telephone interview. He had expected the movie to earn about $25 million.
In “Hannah Montana: The Movie,” a spinoff from Walt Disney Co.’s “Hannah Montana” television show, Miley Cyrus plays a teen-age star who returns to her hometown to escape the pressure of stardom. Cyrus’s father, Billy Ray Cyrus, co-stars.
A 3-D concert film, “Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour,” took in $70.6 million worldwide last year, according to Box Office Mojo. The film had $31.1 million in sales during its opening weekend.
‘Fast & Furious’
“Fast & Furious,” from Universal Pictures, is the fourth in the series about illegal street racing. Vin Diesel and Paul Walker, stars of the original “The Fast and the Furious,” return for the first time since the original film to reprise their roles. Diesel made a cameo appearance in “The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift” in 2006.
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In “Fast & Furious,” an undercover cop played by Walker joins forces with Diesel’s character, a former convict. The first three films generated $334.2 million at theaters in the U.S. and Canada, according to Box Office Mojo LLC. The film was expected to take in $32 million in its second weekend, the estimate of Gitesh Pandya, the editor of BoxOfficeGuru.com in New York.
Third place’s “Monsters vs. Aliens,” the 3-D animation feature from Dreamworks Animation SKG Inc., earned $22.6 million in its third week. The movie, which is about a group of monsters called on to battle invaders from outer space, features the voices of Reese Witherspoon, Seth Rogen, Hugh Laurie, Rainn Wilson and Stephen Colbert.
‘Observe and Report’
“Observe and Report, which debuted in fourth place with $11.1 million, stars Seth Rogen as a mall security guard who longs to become a real police officer. He gets to try out his sleuthing skills when a streaker targets the shopping center. The film is distributed by Time Warner Inc.’s Warner Bros.
The Nicolas Cage thriller “Knowing” earned $6.67 million for Summit Entertainment LLC in fifth place. Cage stars as a professor who decodes a document, left in a 1958 time capsule, that has foretold the world’s worst disasters, including some yet to come. Rose Byrne co-stars.
Here’s a complete look at the weekend’s top-grossing films based on Friday-Sunday estimates as compiled by Exhibitor Relations:
- Hannah Montana: The Movie, $34 million
- Fast & Furious, $28.8 million
- Monsters vs. Aliens, $22.6 million
- Observe and Report, $11.1 million
- Knowing, $6.7 million
- I Love You, Man, $6.4 million
- The Haunting in Connecticut, $5.7 million
- Dragonball: Evolution, $4.7 million
- Adventureland, $3.4 million
- Duplicity, $3 million