'Hangover,' 'Up' lead boxoffice again

New releases no match for strong holdovers

"The Hangover" hung around the top spot in domestic rankings for the second straight weekend, ringing up an estimated $33.4 million in the first repeat boxoffice win of the summer.

Disney/Pixar's "Up" -- which had looked like it pulled off the same feat the prior session until final data put it in second place -- was a repeat silver-medalist, with $30.5 million in the latest weekend face-off between the family-oriented animated feature and the chart-topping R-rated comedy from Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures.

"Hangover" now boasts a 10-day cumulative boxoffice of $105.4 million, following a skimpy 26% drop from its first Friday-Sunday tally. "Up" raised its cume to $187.2 million through three sessions.

Sony's remake of the subway hijacking thriller "The Taking of Pelham 123" opened with $25 million in third place, roughly in line with pre-release projections for the Denzel Washington-John Travolta starrer. Paramount's Eddie Murphy comedy "Imagine That" debuted limply, with $5.7 million in sixth place.

Universal's Will Ferrell-toplined "Land of the Lost" dropped a relatively modest 51% from its first weekend to find $9.2 million in fifth place and a $35 million cume.

On an industrywide basis, the $150 million weekend marked a big 17% drop from the same frame last year, according to Nielsen EDI.

Year-over-year declines in successive weekends have taken a toll on industry momentum. Seasonal boxoffice is now roughly flat with that from the same period of summer 2008, at $1.48 billion.

Year to date, 2009 is still pacing 6% ahead of the same frame last year, at $4.39 billion. That's despite the current year featuring one less boxoffice weekend due to seasonal fluctuations in the boxoffice calendar.

In a limited bow, Vivendi unspooled the adventure pic "Call of the Wild 3-D" in 15 theaters and grossed $10,500. That represented a thin $700 per venue for the Christopher Lloyd starrer.

Sony Pictures Classics opened the scifi thriller "Moon" in eight New York and Los Angeles locations and fetched $145,218. That gave the Sam Rockwell starrer an impressive $18,152 per site ahead of planned expansions over coming frames.

And Francis Ford Coppola's drama "Tetro" from American Zoetrope debuted with bicoastal solo engagements to gross an encouraging $15,243. "Tetro" cume hit $18,683 since its unspooling on Thursday.

Elsewhere in the specialty market, SPC's romantic comedy "Easy Virtue" added 44 theaters for a total 90 and grossed $322,997, or an acceptable $3,589 per venue, with a $1 million cume.

Focus Features expanded its Sam Mendes-helmed dramatic comedy "Away We Go" to 45 playdates from a previous four, registering $554,383, or a solid $12,320 per engagement, with a cume of $751,322.

And Regent/Here's Japanese drama "Departures" added seven locations for a total 23 in grossing $104,098, or a sturdy $4,526 per venue, with a cume of $334,104.

Passing $100 million quicker than any previous laugher toting a restricted rating, "Hangover" is a solid candidate to gross $200 million-plus over its entire domestic run. Warners soon may firm up a summer 2011 release slot for a previously greenlighted sequel.

Warners exec VP Jeff Goldstein said the pic's leggy soph session shows "Hangover" is the buzz comedy of the summer.

"It's got extraordinary word-of-mouth and is just pure fun," Goldstein enthused.

"Pelham" follows a 1974 original that starred Walter Matthau and Robert Shaw. There also was a 1998 "Pelham" telefilm, with Edward James Olmos in the Matthau role of a subway detective and Vincent D'Onofrio in the role of the hijacker.

The latest remake -- directed by Tony Scott ("Deja Vu") -- skewed 54% male, with 62% of patrons aged 30 or older.

"We're very happy with the results," Sony distribution president Rory Bruer said. "It's exactly where we thought we would be."

"Imagine," which co-stars the young newcomer Yara Shahidi, drew audiences comprised 62% of females, with 51% of patrons under age 25. Pre-release interest was soft, but "Imagine" still had been expected to gross into the double-digit millions.

"Given the fact that Eddie Murphy's been a big part of many of Paramount's biggest hits over the years, we're disappointed that more people didn't turn out for the opening," Par exec VP distribution Don Harris said.

Also during the weekend, Disney staged 817 sneak previews for "The Proposal," a romantic comedy starring Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds. Audiences averaged at least 88% of capacity, boding well for its bow over the coming frame.

Also Friday, Sony will unspool the prehistoric comedy "Year One," starring Jack Black and Michael Cera, in wide release.
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