- The Washington Times - Monday, May 25, 2009

LOS ANGELES — Ben Stiller’s “Night at the Museum” sequel and Christian Bale’s “Terminator Salvation” are combining for a solid Memorial Day weekend at the box office.

According to estimates from distributor 20th Century Fox, “Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian” took in $53.5 million from Friday to Sunday. That put it well ahead of the first movie, which had a $30.4 million three-day opening in December 2006.

Distributor Warner Bros. said “Terminator Salvation” pulled in $43 million during the same period, plus $13.4 million on opening day Thursday. Its total since premiering was $56.4 million.

The fourth movie in “The Terminator” series came in a bit behind 2003’s “Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines,” the last of the franchise’s installments to star Arnold Schwarzenegger. That third chapter took in $44 million in its first weekend.

Paramount’s “Star Trek” held up well with $22 million, coming in at No. 3 and raising its total to $183.5 million. The movie is on the verge of becoming the year’s top-grossing movie so far, approaching the $193.1 million gross of DreamWorks Animation’s “Monsters vs. Aliens.”

The previous weekend’s No. 1 movie, Sony’s “Angels & Demons,” fell to fourth place with $21.4 million, lifting its domestic haul to $81.5 million. “Star Trek” and “Angels & Demons” were close enough on revenues that their ranks could change once final numbers are reported.

Box-office analyst Paul Dergarabedian of Hollywood.com estimates that the industry’s overall take for the first three days of the holiday weekend was running even with last year, when the fourth “Indiana Jones” movie had a $100 million three-day opening.

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