Going into the weekend, most analysts presumed that Disney/Pixar's Up would hang over the top of the box office for the second consecutive week. "Hang over" was indeed the operative term (minus the space) as Warner Bros.' The Hangover sold far more tickets than anyone had expected and waged a balloon race of sorts with the animated movie that was so close that the actual outcome won't be known until final sales figures are released later today (Monday). According to studio estimates on Sunday, Up took in around $44.2 million, well above predictions, while The Hangover took in about $1 million less, also above predictions. But some websites reported that avid word-of-mouth praise for Todd Phillips's R-rated comedy could have driven business up far higher than expected on Sunday and that it might have lifted the final results above those for the animated film. "Don't be surprised if the weekend actuals show an upset," wrote industry blogger Nikki Finke on her Deadline Hollywood Daily site, quoting a source as remarking, "It has a real shot at being first this weekend." While both films exceeded analysts' predictions, other films came in well below their expected results -- most particularly Universal's Land of the Lost , which was expected to be a loser -- but not the dismal megaflop that it turned out to be. The Will Ferrell starrer -- which reportedly cost more than $100 to produce -- earned just $19.5 million, well below the modest $30 million that had been predicted for it. (By contrast, The Hangover reportedly cost $35 million to produce.) The only other film to open wide was the Nia Vardalos ( My Big Fat Greek Wedding ) comedy My Life in Ruins , which took in a small, thin, week $3.2 million. On the other hand, American Beauty director Sam Mendes's Away We Go opened in four theaters where it took in $132,260 -- giving it the highest per-screen average. It is due to expand on Friday. Overall, the box office was down 6 percent from the comparable weekend a year ago the second consecutive "down" weekend.

The top ten films for the weekend, according to studio estimates compiled by Box Office Mojo 1. Up, $44.2 million; 2. The Hangover, $43.3 million; 3 . Land of the Lost, $19.5 million; 4. Night at the Museum Battle of the Smithsonian , $14.7 million; 5 . Star Trek , $8.4 million; 6. Terminator Salvation , $8.2 million; 7. Drag Me to Hel l, $7.3 million; 8. Angels & Demons, $6.5 million; 9. My Life in Ruins , $3.2 million; 10. Dance Flick , $2 million.

08/06/2009