Warner Bros. comedy tops Friday box office

Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures’ comedy “The Hangover” had the upper hand over a string of family and teen demo comedies at the Friday box office, grossing an eye-opening $16.54 million; the second-best first day for an R-rated comedy.

Starring a crop of fresh face leads at the box office, “Hangover” towered over Universal’s Will Ferrell starrer “Land of the Lost,” the frame’s second frosh laffer, which drew $7.2 million in third.

Directed by Todd Phillips and playing at 3,269 locations, “Hangover” began generating buzz after Warner Bros. announced in April that they would be making a sequel. Among R-rated comedy openers, “Hangover” ranks behind the $26.8 million first day of “Sex and the City” and just ahead of the $16.48 million charted by U’s “American Pie 2.” The B.O. opening for “Hangover” also marks a career best for Phillips.

“Hangover” follows four buddies played by Zach Galifianakis, Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms and Justin Bartha who head to Las Vegas for a wild bachelor party, only to discover that when they awake the next morning, the groom is missing.

Disney-Pixar’s animated 3-D toon “Up” also had an upbeat second Friday, dipping 37% at 3,818 sites with an estimated $13.1 million. Through eight days, the domestic cume for the Ed Asner voiced pic stands at $106.2 million; just slightly ahead of the running B.O. of last summer’s “Wall-E” which made $103.7 million in its first eight days.

Playing at 3,521 theaters, Universal’s big screen take on the 1974 Sid and Marty Krofft TV moppet series “Land of the Lost” received a PG-13 rating, making the adventure comedy an iffy selection for families at the multiplex. Will Farrell PG-13 comedies in recent years such as “Anchorman” and “Blades of Glory” have historically cleared the $10 million mark on their first day at the box office.

Families continued to flock to Fox’s “Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian” at the onset of its third sesh. The Ben Stiller PG comedy made $4.6 million, down 37% at 3,807 for a running cume of $117.3 million.

U’s “Drag Me to Hell” and Warner Bros.’ “Terminator Salvation” were in a near dead heat for fifth place. Friday estimates pegged “Drag Me to Hell” at $2.573 million and “Salvation” at $2.5 million. In its third Friday on 3,304, the total B.O. for “Terminator” stands at $99.8 million while “Drag Me to Hell” at 2,510 counts an eight-day domestic haul of $23.8 million.

The day’s third wide release Fox Searchlight’s “My Life in Ruins” starring Nia Vardalos of “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” drew $1.1 million off 1,164, ranking outside the top five on Friday.

On the limited side, Focus Features’ Sam Mendes comedy-drama “Away We Go” touted a per theater of $11,222 or $45,000 from four venues.

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