May 31, 2009 / 5:08 PM / 8 years ago

"Up" soars to top of box office

LOS ANGELES, May 31 (Reuters) - Disney/Pixar’s “Up” soared to the top of the weekend box office in North America, selling $68.2 million of tickets on its opening weekend, Disney said said on Sunday.

The 3D animated tale of a grouchy widower and a young boy who fly away in a house lifted by balloons scored the third biggest opening for Pixar after “The Incredibles” and “Finding Nemo”, which brought in $70.5 million and $70.3 million respectively in 2004 and 2003.

Box office pundits had expected “Up,” which became the first animated feature to open the Cannes Film Festival this month and was highly praised by critics, to open in the $50 to $60 million range.

“Up” pushed “Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian” into second place with $25.5 million in another good week for family-oriented movies with broad appeal.

Horror newcomer “Drag Me To Hell” from “Spider-Man” director Sam Raimi, opened in third place with $16.6 million, according to studio estimates.

”Up“ was released by Walt Disney Pictures, a unit of Walt Disney Co (DIS.N). Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian” was released by 20th Century Fox, a unit of News Corp NWSA.0. “Drag Me to Hell” was released by Universal Pictures, a unit of General Electric Co’s (GE.N) NBC Universal. (Reporting by Jill Serjeant)

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