- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 12, 2009

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Miley Cyrus and alter-ego Hannah Montana have double-teamed their way to another No. 1 box office debut.

Walt Disney’s “Hannah Montana: The Movie” opened with $34 million in ticket sales, according to studio estimates Sunday. That followed Cyrus’ first-place premiere last year with her 3-D concert film.

The movie is a big-screen installment of the Disney Channel series about an ordinary teen living a double life as pop star Hannah.

“Hannah Montana” drew $17.3 million on Friday for the biggest opening day ever for a G-rated live-action movie.

While girls 12 and younger and their moms made up most of the audience, “Hannah Montana” also attracted a solid crowd of teenage girls, fans reaching the age when they might be outgrowing the show, said Mark Zoradi, president of Disney’s motion-picture group.

“Miley’s audience stayed with her,” Zoradi said. “Those that enjoyed the show on TV and maybe have become young teens themselves came back for the movie.”

The previous weekend’s box office champ, “Fast & Furious,” fell to second place with $28.8 million. The street-racing thriller raised its domestic take to $118 million, and distributor Universal said its worldwide total has topped $200 million.

Seth Rogen’s “Observe and Report” opened at No. 4 with $11.1 million, a fair but unremarkable debut for the Warner Bros. comedy about an emotionally unstable mall cop trying to catch a flasher and gain entry to the police academy.

It was a slightly better opening for Rogen than last fall’s “Zack and Miri Make a Porno” ($10.1 million) but far below the $20 million and $30 million debuts of his previous comedies “Knocked Up” and “Pineapple Express.”

“Observe and Report” was a tougher sell, with Rogen dropping his lovable teddy-bear persona to take on an unsympathetic character.

“This was a little bit darker,” said Jeff Goldstein, general sales manager for Warner Bros. “A little older, and a little bit more big city.”

The weekend’s other new wide release, 20th Century Fox’s fantasy adventure “Dragonball: Evolution,” debuted at No. 8 with $4.7 million.

Hollywood extended its box office hot streak as overall receipts totaled about $142 million, up 50 percent from the same weekend last year, when “Prom Night” led with $20.8 million.

Revenues this year are at $2.76 billion, up 16.7 percent from 2008’s, according to box office tracker Media By Numbers. Accounting for 2009’s higher ticket prices, movie attendance is running 15 percent ahead of last year’s.

At just 16, Cyrus already has an enviable box office history as she moves from TV to the big screen. “Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert” put in a $31.1 million debut, while her animated comedy “Bolt” opened with $26.2 million last fall and became a $100 million hit.

“Her average opening weekend is around $30 million,” said Paul Dergarabedian, president of Media By Numbers. “That’s a pretty good track record for a 16-year-old. Her opening-weekend average rivals stars twice her age.”

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Media By Numbers LLC. Final figures will be released Monday.

1. “Hannah Montana: The Movie,” $34 million.

2. “Fast & Furious,” $28.8 million.

3. “Monsters vs. Aliens,” $22.6 million.

4. “Observe and Report,” $11.1 million.

5. “Knowing,” $6.7 million.

6. “I Love You, Man,” $6.4 million.

7. “The Haunting in Connecticut,” $5.7 million.

8. “Dragonball: Evolution,” $4.7 million.

9. “Adventureland,” $3.4 million.

10. “Duplicity,” $3 million.


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Universal Pictures, Focus Features and Rogue Pictures are owned by NBC Universal, a unit of General Electric Co.; Sony Pictures, Sony Screen Gems and Sony Pictures Classics are units of Sony Corp.; DreamWorks, Paramount and Paramount Vantage are divisions of Viacom Inc.; Disney’s parent is The Walt Disney Co.; Miramax is a division of The Walt Disney Co.; 20th Century Fox, Fox Searchlight Pictures and Fox Atomic are owned by News Corp.; Warner Bros., New Line, Warner Independent and Picturehouse are units of Time Warner Inc.; MGM is owned by a consortium of Providence Equity Partners, Texas Pacific Group, Sony Corp., Comcast Corp., DLJ Merchant Banking Partners and Quadrangle Group; Lionsgate is owned by Lionsgate Entertainment Corp.; IFC Films is owned by Rainbow Media Holdings, a subsidiary of Cablevision Systems Corp.

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