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‘Up’ maintains No. 1 box-office altitude with $44M

June 8th, 2009 Posted in Entertainment

By DAVID GERMAIN
Two live-action comedies were unable to bring down the animated adventure “Up.” Disney and Pixar Animation’s “Up” reeled in $44.2 million to remain on top of the box office for the second weekend in a row, according to studio estimates Sunday.

The Warner Bros. bachelor-bash comedy “The Hangover” came in a close second with a $43.3 million debut. Will Ferrell’s action comedy for Universal, “Land of the Lost,” had to settle for a distant third with a $19.5 million opening.

“Up” was the first movie of Hollywood’s busy summer season to take the No. 1 spot for two straight weekends. But overall revenues fell for the second weekend in a row, putting the brakes on what has been shaping up as a record revenue year for the movie business.

The top 12 movies took in $164 million, down 6 percent from the same weekend last year, when “Kung Fu Panda” opened on top with $60.2 million, according to box-office figures compiled by Hollywood.com.

For the year, Hollywood has taken in $4.3 billion, up 12.5 percent from 2008 revenues. But studios have been unable to maintain the red-hot pace of the year’s first four months.

“Definitely, things have slowed,” said Paul Dergarabedian, box-office analyst for Hollywood.com. “But there are some potential saviors on the horizon.”

Three big sequels — “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen,” “Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs” and “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” — open within three weeks of one another starting June 24.

With $137.3 million in the bank after just 10 days, “Up” is streaking toward the $200 million mark achieved by such previous Pixar hits as “WALL-E,” “Ratatouille,” “Cars” and “Toy Story 2.”

Revenues for most big movies typically drop 50 percent or more in the second weekend, but the audience for “Up” was down only 35 percent from its opening. That puts it in line with “Finding Nemo,” the top-grossing Disney-Pixar animated tale, said Chuck Viane, head of distribution for Disney.

“Up” likely will finish in the top three among Pixar flicks, Viane said. Leading the Pixar slate now are “Finding Nemo” with $339.7 million, “The Incredibles” with $261.4 million and “Monsters, Inc.” with $255.8 million.

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