There was no sign of economic hardship at the box office over the weekend,as Disney's High School Musical 3 Senior Year , a film thatreportedly cost less than $15 million to make, raked in $42 million -- themost any musical has earned in its opening weekend ever. Moreover, anotherlow-cost film, Lionsgate's R-rated horror flick Saw V , debuted with$30.5 million in ticket sales. Together the two films helped the box rise41.3 percent over last year to $120.8 million, according to box-officetrackers Media by Numbers. In an interview with today's (Monday) LosAngeles Times , Media by Numbers President Paul Dergarabedian observed,"Ultimately, there was something for everyone in the marketplace. ... Itshows that if you put the right movies in the market, people will turn out."All was not rosy, however, as Warner Bros.' Pride and Glory , whichhad taken years to reach the starting gate, came up lame with just $6.3million. Last week's winner, Fox's Max Payne fell 57 percent to $7.5million, while Lionsgate's W. dropped 49 percent to $5.3 million. Inlimited release, Clint Eastwood's Changeling , starring AngelinaJolie, got off to an impressive start in nine cities with $502,000,representing a per-screen gross of $33,441, three times the per-screenaverage of High School Musical. And Sony Pictures Classics' Synecdoche, New York also performed strongly with $172,926 in ninetheaters, or $19,214 per theater.
'Smalls Change (Meditations Upon Ageing)' arrives in April.
The two awards have made for a great 72nd birthday present for the country music icon.