Box Office Review-Sunday 31 May “Up Lifts 3D”

By Carolyn Giardina | May 31, 2009 10:27 am PDT

Disney/Pixar’s stunning “Up” gave digital 3D a high profile lift this weekend, soaring to No. 1 at the North American box office with an estimated $68.2 million. The film opened in 3,766 theaters, including a record 1,534 3D theaters.
This surpassed the opening weekend domestic gross of DreamWorks Animation’s “Monsters Vs. Aliens,” which debuted with $59.3 million in March, although with fewer 3D theaters (an estimated 1,300). Since opening weekend, DWA was able to keep many of the 3D theaters, allowing it to stay in the top 10 until it had to relinquish most of the screens to “Up.” This weekend, DWA’s animated comedy played in 566 theaters—down from 1,434 last week—and added an estimated $315,000 for a $194.4 million total domestic gross.
Next, 3D stakeholders will get a glimpse of what the still limited number of digital 3D screens might mean to box office totals as a string of 3D titles prepare to open.
“Monsters” had the majority of 3D theaters for a couple of months and demonstrated that it had legs. “Up”—while it had more screens at the start—faces a more crowded upcoming 3D release schedule.
“Call of the Wild 3D” is scheduled for a June 12 opening, but Fox’s anticipated 3D release of “Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs,” is one month away with a July 1 opening date. That still leaves four more weekends for “Up” to have the majority of 3D screens, but it is a far shorter window than “Monsters” enjoyed.
“Ice Age” will then face a similar situation, as the Disney/Jerry Bruckheimer 3D release “G-Force” debuts on July 24.
Also this weekend at the North American box office, estimates suggest that Fox’s “Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian” finished second with $25.5 million, ahead of new release “Drag Me to Hell ($16.6 million), Terminator Salvation ($16.1 million), and “Star Trek” ($12.8 million).
“Star Trek” crossed the $200 million mark with an estimated $209.5 total domestic gross.