Pixar’s 10th film, Up, debuted this weekend as the No. 1 film in the United States. Surprise! For some reason, though, I always feel a little disappointed in the numbers. It opened with $68 million over the weekend, which is the biggest Pixar opening since The Incredibles ($70 million) and the third biggest Pixar opening ever. And yet it opened with less than X-Men Origins: Wolverine and even Fast & Furious. Damnit: Up is the kind of movie that deserves a $100 million opening. Fortunately, however, Pixar flicks have lots of legs, so this one will probably end up in the $250 million-$275 million range before it’s over, and probably the second or third highest grossing film of the year.
And now: How many grown men wept at Up over the weekend? Show of hands. [I did. —DC]
Meanwhile, Sam Raimi’s Drag Me to Hell (I’m willing to bet that 70 percent of all DMtH reviews contained the phrase “return to form”) put up nearly $17 million over the weekend, or $135 million less than what Raimi’s last film, Spider-Man 3. That was good enough for third. It’s still Raimi’s biggest non-Spider-Man opening, and I haven’t looked around to see where that lies against expectations, but it’s satisfying enough for me. I suspect the budget was no more than $25 million, so DMtH will ultimately eke out a big enough profit to justify Raimi’s efforts. Plus, it’s going to kill on DVD. And if you haven’t seen it yet, I strongly urge you to do so at night, in a crowded theater. It’s one of those rare movies that you actually enjoy watching with people yelling at the screen. It’s going to kill in 2017 at midnight screenings.
Elsewhere, Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian slipped to No. 2 this weekend, walloped by Up. It grossed around $25 million to push its two-week total over $105 million. Terminator Salvation, on the other hand, dropped like a decapitated T-800 head, losing 63 percent of its already disappointing opening weekend. It’s barely crossed the $90 million mark, and will probably gross no more than $130 million before it’s all over, and will need to do well internationally to recoup its $200 million production budget. T5 does not look promising unless McG can cut expenses and the marketing folks can somehow turn the current perception around. Karma, Christian. Karma.
Finally, rounding out the top five was the summer’s juggernaut, Star Trek, which put up another $12 million to cross the $200 million mark. It is 2009’s most financially successful film so far. A buddy of mine also made a fairly astute observation (that may or may not be obvious but it slipped past me): Star Trek and “Lost,” which come from the same guys — Damon Lindeloff and J.J. Abrams — also have divergent opinions on time travel. In the “Lost” world, you can’t change the past (or at least that’s the current theory). But obviously the same is not true in Star Trek.
Nothing else of much interest in this weekend’s box-office numbers. The Brothers Bloom continues to perform well in very limited release; it was number 11 this weekend, in only 148 theaters (compared to 3700 theaters for Up). And that’s about it.
Here’s your top five:
1. Up ($68 million)
2. Night at the Museum II ($25 million; $105 million)
3. Drag Me to Hell ($16.8 million)
4. Terminator Salvation ($16 million; $90 million)
5. Star Trek ($12 million; $209 million)