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Box Office Update 5/22-5/24: Museum Outlasts Terminator

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The holiday weekend proved to be a strong one for Ben Stiller and company as Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian dominated the box office. Whether you look at the three or four day numbers, the comedy/fantasy film comes out on top and a healthy amount ahead of number two finisher, Terminator: Salvation.

I have not yet seen the new Museum, but it does look like fun. I enjoyed the original film, which was a big hit over the Christmas holiday a few years ago. The original was nothing particularly special, but it was the sort of movie you could have a good time at with your entire family. It only makes sense that an attempt to capitalize on its popularity would be made in the form of a sequel. The new film does sport a large ensemble cast of familiar faces, all of whom appear to be having fun. I am not expecting much from it, but I am looking forward to checking it out.

As for Terminator: Salvation, I expected it to perform better over the weekend. It did take in a lot of money, but one has to wonder if this is the end of the franchise. I guess that will depend on if it displays any legs and how well it does overseas. For what its worth, the action is spectacular and there are seeds of a good story, but it feels terribly choppy.  If the stories of more than 30 minutes of cut footage and on-the-set rewrites are true, that could have played into the film's issues.

Star Trek continues to perform well in its third weekend of release. It is steaming towards $200 million and some believe it could make its way to the triple-century mark. Its success makes me so very happy. The movie is an absolute blast, filled with action, humor, and familiar characters, all in a movie that does not require knowledge of the series and sets up a fresh alternate universe. If you haven't seen it, make sure you do, if you already have, see it again.

Angels & Demons slipped to fourth place in its second weekend. It is a dip that does not surprise me. Even as I was mildly entertained, it is not a good movie. There is too much talking with no point and not much of a mystery. The pseudo-intellectual thriller is on rails — it goes from point A to point B and so on with no real outside influence or jeopardy. I suspect it will continue to fall with regularity and be forgotten shortly thereafter.

Fifth place this week is held by the new spoof Dance Flick. It is a movie I have not seen and have absolutely no intention if seeing. The trailer was more than enough intelligence-sapping footage for me. It looked terrible, I am sure it is terrible, and I am sorry for anyone who spends money on it. I like dumb movies as much as the next guy, but a line needs to be drawn somewhere between funny-stupid and stupid-stupid.

The rest of the top ten are essentially last week's holdovers slid down a few spots. The most notable of these fading titles is X-Men Origins: Wolverine which is making a chunk of change to be sure, but did not have quite the reception that the studio would have wanted. Now, if only they had made a better movie.

Next weekend sees competition coming in the form of a new Pixar release, Up, a movie I am really looking forward to. Also offering some competition, but probably not as much, is Drag Me to Hell, the new horror film from Sam Raimi, his first since the Evil Dead films.  It features Alison Lohman and Justin Long (side note: this was originally set to star Juno's Ellen Page, but she backed out).

Three movies dropped off the top ten this week: The Soloist (11), Next Day Air (12), and earth (13).

3-Day Estimates:

This Week Last Week Title Wknd Gross Overall Week in release
1 N Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian $53,500,000 $53,500,000 1
2 N Terminator: Salvation $43,010,000 $56,382,000 1
3 2 Star Trek $22,783,000 $184,417,000 3
4 1 Angels & Demons $21,800,000 $81,911,000 2
5 N Dance Flick $10,734,000 $10,734,000 1
6 3 X-Men Origins: Wolverine $7,950,000 $163,204,000 4
7 4 Ghosts of Girlfriends Past $3,810,000 $45,948,000 4
8 5 Obsessed $1,975,000 $65,883,000 5
9 7 Monsters vs. Aliens $1,417,000 $193,063,000 9
10 6 17 Again $1,010,000 $60,319,000 6

Box Office Predictions Recap
Mark your calendars, boys and girls. I followed up my best week ever with a very mediocre one. I knew this weekend would be tough with the two main releases both having the potential to be big blockbusters. I had the two reversed and both of their predicted grosses pretty far off. I had a feeling I was going in the wrong direction — by now I should know to always bet on the family film, especially on a holiday weekend. The rest of the movies were in the general ballpark, but still not all that great. Next week? Well, let's not think about that just yet.

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