LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – "Up," the story of a floating house, its grumpy 78-year-old owner and an inquisitive 8-year-old accidental stowaway, remained atop the weekend box office in North America, selling $44.2 million of tickets its second weekend in theaters.
The family-friendly Disney/Pixar animated release about a house lifted by colorful balloons and the odd couple's adventures showed surprising staying power. Its weekend gross was down 35 percent from its opening weekend but still made a strong showing for a film in its second week.
Movie industry analysts had predicted that "Up" would bring in less than $40 million.
"The Hangover," released by Warner Bros. Pictures, was a close second at $43.3 million. The film about a group of men trying to reconstruct what happened at a wild, Las Vegas bachelor party benefited from a good buzz and positive reviews. It also was the first big comedy released after a month dominated by action flicks.
Universal's "Land of the Lost," a new release starring Will Ferrell, finished a disappointing third at $19.5 million. It is a remake of a mid-1970s U.S. children's television series.
Four of the top five films attracted families with small children as recession-weary parents continued to seek entertainment at the movies.
"Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian," collected $14.7 million and landed in the No. 4 spot. It made about $54 million when it opened two weekends ago, and has taken in $127 million overall.
"Star Trek," a Paramount issue, also showed staying power, finishing fifth for the weekend in its fifth week of release. It brought in $8.4 million. Its cumulative total stands at $223 million.
ANGELIC WORLD GROSS
"Angels & Demons," from Sony/Columbia, earned $6.5 million in North America during the weekend and its worldwide gross surpassed the $400 million mark, making it the No. 1 film in the world in 2009.
The film, based on Dan Brown's popular novel about conspiracy in the Catholic church, is the follow-up to the Brown novel and 2006 movie, "The Da Vinci Code."
Rory Bruer, president of worldwide distribution for Sony Pictures, said the weekend pushed the "Angels & Demons" international gross to about $405 million. "The Da Vinci Code" brought in about $540.7 million globally.
The website rottentomatoes.com, which aggregates movie criticism, showed that positive reviews for "The Hangover" helped it prevail over "Land of the Lost" in their debut weekends. "The Hangover" gathered 75 percent positive reviews, compared to only 28 percent for "Land of the Lost."
A reason for the resilience of "Up" may be the fact that it had a 98 percent rating on the website.
Third among new released and seventh for the week overall was Fox Seachlight's "My Life In Ruins," which took in $3.2 million. It suffered from negative reviews -- only 12 percent positive criticism according to rottentomatoes.com. Its distributor is a unit of News Corp.
"Up" was released by Walt Disney Pictures, a unit of Walt Disney Co.
"The Hangover" was released by Warner Bros., a unit of Time Warner Inc.
"Land of the Lost" was issued by Universal Pictures, a unit of NBC Universal, the media division of General Electric Co.
"Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian" was released by 20th Century Fox, is, like Fox Searchlight, a unit of News Corp.
"Star Trek" was issued by Paramount Pictures, a unit of Viacom Inc.
"Angels & Demons" is distributed by Columbia Pictures in North America a unit of Sony Corp.
(Editing by Stacey Joyce and Bill Trott)