Up: Pixar’s Animation is Box-Office Hit

May 29, 2009–Disney’s Pixar release “Up” made $21.4 million yesterday, thus becoming the second best opening day ever for an animated feature behind last summer’s “Wall-E,which grossed $23.2 million.

Marking Pixar’s tenth feature tells the story of an elderly man, voiced by Ed Asner, who ties balloons to his house and embarks on a fantastic flight. Playing at 3,766 theaters, “Up” also received an extra lift at the box office yesterday from 1,530 3-D playdates.  “Up” is the fourth Disney animated pic to clear the $20 million mark on its first day along with “The Incredibles,” “Finding Nemo” and “Wall-E.”

Last June “Wall-E’ reaped an opening weekend of $63.1 million, but it is 2004’s “The Incredibles” which continues to hold the three-day record for a Disney-Pixar release with $70.5 million. DreamWorks’ “Shrek the Third” still is the highest opening day of all-time for a feature toon at $38.4 million. 

Family audiences also rmbraced Fox’s comedy “Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian.”  The movie landed second with $7.4 million in its second Friday, down 52% at 4,101 with a current domestic cumulative of $87.2 million.

Counterprogramming, Universal unspooled Sam Raimi‘s horror “Drag Me to Hell” which grossed $6.4 million off 2,508 in third.  The film marks a return to Raimi’s horror roots, his last blood and guts feature being 1993’s “Army of Darkness” which counted $11.5 million at the domestic box-office.   “Drag Me to Hell” is rated PG-13, unlike previous prolific summer horror titles that are R-rated.  Dimension’s “1408” was one of the last PG-13 horror sleepers from summers past,with a $7.6 million first day and a $20.6 million weekend bow in June 2007.

In its second Friday, Warner Bros.-Halcyon’s “Terminator Salvation” drew $5.1 million in fourth off 3,602, down 65%, for a nine-day gross of $79.6 million. 

“Star Trek” became the first release in 2009 to cross the $200 million mark last night, collecting $3.6 million off 3,507 in fifth, based on a 39% decline