Up: Pixar's Marvel

After less than a month of playing, Disney-Pixar's 3-D toon “Up” should become the second-highest-grossing Pixar title at the domestic box-office after “Finding Nemo.”  


Considering that the protagnoist of “Up” is a 78-year-old man (voiced by Ed Asner) makes the achievement all the more impressive in a market dominated by young viewers.  In this respect, “Up” is a truly family fare, a multi-generation saga that can be enjoyed by any age group.

Right now, “Up's” domestic figure is over $187.4 million, the second best of any summer film to date; the first is “Star Trek,” with a cumulative gross of $231.9 million.

“Up's” successful run demonstrates how 3-D runs can boost a film's grosses through higher ticket prices. According to Variety, the film's 3-D runs make up only 40% of the total screen count, yet they contribute 60% of the gross.

In the spring, DreamWorks Animation released its first 3-D feature, “Monsters vs. Aliens,” which grossed $195.2 million domestically and $169.4 million at the international box office.

The biggest challenge “Up” faces will come July 1 when Fox's 3-D animation “Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs” debuts. “Ice Age 3” will take most of the 3-D screens away from “Up,” considering the limited number of such screens.  But “Up” will be able to keep its 2-D runs.

Chuck Viane, Disney's prexy of domestic distribution, said 3-D has been a boon to “Up,” but he stressed that the foundation of any successful picture, animated and otherwise, is a really good story.  “3-D enhances the storytelling, and thereby, the run,” Viane said.

For the weekend, “Up” grossed $30.7 million, only $2 million less than Warner-Legendary Pictures' R-rated comedy “The Hangover.” “Up” was in its third weekend of release, “Hangover” its second.  “Up” will soon surpass the $206.4 million grossed by Pixar's “Ratatouille” in summer 2007, and the $223.8 million grossed domestically by Pixar's “Wall-E” last summer.

“Finding Nemo,” released in 2003, is the champion with a cumulative figure of $339.7 million domestically.  The next-best Pixar grosser is “The Incredibles” with $261.4 million.  Based on its performance, there's good reason to believe that “Up” wil surpass the success of “The Incredibles.”