By Mack Chico
The animated comedy about a widower and young boy who travel in a flying house raked in $68.2 million, according to studio estimates from Nielsen EDI.
And the film delivered on virtually every count, scoring an A-plus from CinemaScore and a recommendation from 98% of the nation’s films critics, according to RottenTomatoes.com.
“Pixar rarely has big stars in its movies,” says Gitesh Pandya of BoxOfficeGuru.com. “Ed Asner (the star voice of Up) is not known for opening big. Pixar relies on their reputation for quality. And they’re 10 for 10.”
Chuck Viane, distribution chief for Disney, which distributes Pixar’s films, says that while families drove Up‘s business, nearly a third of the audience was adults without children.
“I think Pixar has a way of turning stories into ‘gotta see’ movies for adults,” Viane says. “They get an unusually even blend of ages.”
Up marked the third-largest Pixar debut, behind The Incredibles‘ $70.5 million and Finding Nemo‘s $70.3 million.
The studio has created anticipation for its films with patience. Up is only the 10th film in the studio’s 14-year history.
“They take their time,” Viane says. “They’ll tweak a story over and over until they’re satisfied. The highest compliment you can pay to them is they’re in no rush and get the job done right.”
Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian was second with $25.5 million for a 10-day total of $105.3 million.
Despite stellar reviews, Sam Raimi’s return to schlock horror with Drag Me to Hell managed only third place and $16.8 million. Most analysts projected the horror film, which earned thumbs-up from 94% of reviewers, to collect at least $20 million.
Terminator Salvation ($16.1 million) was fourth, followed by Star Trek ($12.8 million).
Ticket sales dipped 24% from last weekend and 1% from the same weekend last year. Final numbers are out today.
1. “Up”, 68,2 millon
2. “Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian”, 25,5
3. “Drag Me to Hell”, 16,6
4. “Terminator Salvation”, 16,1
5. “Star Trek”, 12,8
6. “Angels & Demons”, 11,2
7. “Dance Flick”, 4,9
8. “X-Men Origins: Wolverine”, 3,9
9. “Ghosts of Girlfriends Past”, 1,9
10. “Obsessed”, 665,000