First look: ‘Up’ soars; not many dragged to ‘Hell’


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Pixar’s perfect streak at the box office continued this weekend with ‘Up,’ which opened to a studio-estimated $68.2 million.

That puts the quirky tale directed by studio veteran Peter Docter just behind the Disney-owned company’s biggest films, ‘Finding Nemo’ and ‘The Incredibles,’ which both debuted with $70 million. It also puts to rest any fears that a movie starring an old man won’t appeal to kids.


Helped by 1,530 3-D screens with higher ticket prices, ‘Up’ came in above last year’s ‘Wall-E,’ which opened to $63.1 million, and 2007’s ‘Ratatouille,’ which started off with $47 million. Both those movies went on to gross more than $200 million at the domestic box office, and ‘Up’ will almost certainly do the same.

‘Drag Me to Hell,’ the horror film distributed by Universal for director Sam Raimi’s Ghost House Pictures, didn’t recruit as many evildoers as expected. Despite its big-name director coming off the ‘Spider-Man’ trilogy, the film grossed only $16.6 million. ‘The Strangers,’ a similarly themed horror film with no big names behind it, opened to $21 million on the same weekend last year.

In second place was Fox’s ‘Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian,’ which didn’t lose too much ground despite the opening of another big-budget family film. The Ben Stiller vehicle dropped 53% on its second weekend to $25.5 million. Its total gross after 10 days is a healthy $105.3 million.

Male audiences, however, seem to have quickly lost interest in ‘Terminator Salvation’ even though there aren’t any other action flicks in the market. The fourth series entry, which Warner Bros. is distributing domestically for the Halcyon Co., dropped 62% on its second weekend to $16.1 million. After 11 days, the total domestic gross for the $200-million event film is a disappointing $90.7 million.


- Family films continue to dominate the box office as ‘Up’ soars to $68 million


- PHOTOS: Disney without Pixar

-- Ben Fritz