Clapboard: Hangover is Just the Tonic

LOS ANGELES ~ Raucous adult comedy The Hangover knocked animated family film Up off top spot at the North American box office at the weekend.

The critically acclaimed Hangover, about a Las Vegas bachelor party which goes awry, struck the jackpot with a haul of US$44.9 million, figures from box office tracker Exhibitor Relations showed.

The low-budget film, is set to make a star of its unlikely protagonist played with aplomb by full-bearded US comic Zach Galifianakis, who steals practically every scene. Warner Brothers has reportedly approved a sequel.

The comedy just pipped Disney Pixar’s Up, which took $44.1 million in its second weekend. The film – about a grumpy balloon salesman who realizes a cherished dream to travel to South America – has now grossed $137.2 million since its release in May.

The strong showings enjoyed by The Hangover and Up were in stark contrast to the debut of $100-million Land of the Lost.

Despite starring comedian Will Ferrell, negative reviews saw the big-priced adventure romp open with a disappointing $18.8 million.

Comedy sequel Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian came in fourth, taking in $14.6 million for a total of $127.3 million in its first three weeks.

The movie finds Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson and Ricky Gervais undertaking more night-time museum adventures, this time in the US capital Washington, rather than New York.

Keeping its number five spot was another franchise flick, the science fiction blockbuster Star Trek, earning $8.3 million for an outright haul of $222.7 million over five weeks in theatres.

Terminator: Salvation, starring Welsh-born actor Christian Bale in the post-apocalyptic role of a resistance leader fighting power-hungry machines, took in $8.2 million, falling to sixth place from third last week.

Gruesome horror flick Drag Me To Hell came in seventh with $7 million.

Angels and Demons – a sequel to the hit 2006 thriller The Da Vinci Code – fell two spots to land in eighth. Directed by Ron Howard and with Tom Hanks reprising his starring turn, Angels took in $6.5 million.

With a meagre $3.2 million in ninth place, Nia Vardalos vehicle My Life in Ruins seemed unlikely to reproduce the actress’s 2002 surprise hit My Big Fat Greek Wedding.

Vardalos plays an American woman experiencing a midlife crisis in Athens until “Poupi” (Alexis Georgoulis) waltzes into her life.

Rounding out the top 10 was Dance Flick, about a street dancer from the wrong side of the tracks bonding with a beautiful girl to battle it out at a dance competition. It drew $1.9 million in ticket sales.

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