LOS ANGELES Comic book movie "The Incredible Hulk" added about $1 million in box office muscle to its debut weekend, pushing the film's total domestic ticket sales to $55.4 million, according to final studio figures on Monday.
"Incredible Hulk" opened at No. 1 on box office charts with estimated Friday-through-Sunday ticket sales of $54.5 million, exceeding studio expectations but falling short of its 2003 predecessor that earned $62 million in its debut weekend.
The earlier movie, "Hulk," received mixed reviews when it was released and failed to excite core audiences of mostly young male moviegoers and comic book fans.
As a result, its box office dropped quickly, and "Hulk" ended its theatrical run with just over $130 million, prompting industry analysts to view it as a disappointment for backers at Universal Pictures and Marvel Studios.
By contrast, the new "Incredible Hulk" received slightly better reviews than the first film, performed better at the box office than had been anticipated and generated positive buzz from fans exiting theaters.
The "Hulk" revival was produced by Marvel Studios, part of Marvel Entertainment Inc, and distributed for a fee by Universal Pictures, which is a unit the NBC Universal media division of General Electric Co.
Elsewhere, the weekend's No. 2 film, animated "Kung Fu Panda," made by DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc and distributed by Viacom Inc's Paramount Pictures, saw its North American weekend tally revised down slightly to $33.6 million from $34.3 million. "Kung Fu Panda" opened at No. 1 the previous weekend.
This week's No. 3 film, director M. Night Shyamalan's supernatural thriller "The Happening," saw its box office basically unchanged from Sunday's estimate to Monday's final figure, at $30.5 million. It was distributed by 20th Century Fox, a unit of News Corp.
(Reporting by Bob Tourtellotte; Editing by Steve Gorman and Braden Reddall)