North American box office: ‘Up’ down, gets a headache from ‘The Hangover’

1. The Hangover: $44.99 million (NEW)
2. Up: $44.14 million (2nd week; drops 35%)
3. Land of the Lost: $18.8 million (NEW)
4. Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian: $14.6 million (3rd week; drops 40%)
5. Star Trek: $8.3 million

actual numbers, not estimates
Good thing I wait for the actual numbers, because that’s where the story is this week. On Sunday, estimates had The Hangover in second place, with Up just squeaking by it to take first place again. But when the real numbers came in late yesterday, it turns out that the estimates had badly misjudged Sunday’s actual ticket sales for The Hangover: they were way higher than the actual numbers for Friday and Saturday would have suggested. Which means that The Hangover’s word of mouth is extraordinary.

Patrick Goldstein in the Los Angeles Times sums up the impact of that word of mouth perfectly:

[Warners marketing chief Sue] Kroll knew she hit pay dirt when she went to the hair salon on Saturday. She listened with delight as a pair of women relived the uproarious time they’d had seeing the film with friends the night before. “One of them said, ‘I loved that guy who was missing a tooth — he reminded me of my ex-boyfriend.’ ” Kroll recalled. “And then she said, ‘Everyone loves that movie. My mother’s going to see it now too.’ ”

That is what is called major league buzz — when even grandmothers are going to see a movie whose target audience is 19-year-old boys.

And here’s where I get depressed: The Hangover may be a hit, but if it might have been a great movies if it had had the balls to be really dark, instead of the faux, safe, pretende “dark light” that it is. Of course, it wouldn’t have been a movie that grandmothers were going to see.


Land of the Lost lost a significant percentage of its estimate, too, once the final numbers were in. I’d say this could signal the end for stupid shit cinema like this, but it won’t.

But look at Star Trek clinging to the Top 5! Terminator Salvation is gone (it dropped another 50 percent to the No. 6 spot; it did pass $100 million this weekend, but it cost $200 million). Drag Me to Hell is gone (it dropped another 57 percent to the No. 7 spot, though it did pass $25 million this weekend; no word yet on its budget, though I’d guess probably not more than $40 million, and probably a lot less). But Trek hangs on. And I do hope that means we get more from J.J. Abrams and his new crew.

My Life in Ruins, which could be said to be Nia Vardalos’s followup to My Big Fat Greek Wedding, tanked, clocking in for its debut at No. 9, taking in only $3.2 million. And it didn’t even deserve that much. But Sam Mendes’s lovely new indie romantic dramedy Away We Go (which I hope to review this week) earned a whopping $32,603 on each of the four screens it debuted on, by far the best per-screen average of the weekend. (The Hangover was a distant second, with $13,759 at each of its 3,269 venues.)

[numbers via Box Office Mojo]

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Tue, Jun 09, 2009 5:20pm

I’m actually very disappointed in Trek only making $8 million this weekend. Dammit you Trekkies, you’re supposed to be keeping it over $10 million for the next month! Sheesh.

Tue, Jun 09, 2009 7:28pm

A Star Trek sequel is a lock as far as blockbusters go these days. Outstanding critical acclaim + great commercial success = greenlit sequel.

Right now, Star Trek is THE event film of 2009 to beat. It’s gonna bank about $250 m when all is said and done and audiences are already beggin’ for more.

But the big boys are coming soon. Transformers and Harry Potter have a great shot at $300 m or more.