SUNDAY PM/MONDAY AM UPDATE: Box Office Cliffhanger: Sunday Numbers Show ‘The Hangover’ Caught ‘Up’ For #1

SATURDAY PM/SUNDAY AM: Some of the fun of summer box office reporting is that, every now and then, a low-brow sleeper comes out of nowhere and challenges for the No. 1 film crown during a weekend. “I guess there’s no reason to do this if sometimes crazy things don’t happen,” marveled one rival studio exec. At first, Friday’s domestic grosses indicated that Warner Bros’ well reviewed Bachelor Party goes wrong comedy The Hangover might top Pixar/Disney’s Up after opening for $16.5M from 3,269 theaters. Then on Saturday, the R-rated laffer slid to $14.8M Saturday for a $43.3M weekend with Sunday’s estimate of $12M. That’s without stars, too. Instead, credit a hot concept (directed by Old School helmer Todd Phillips) and marketing plan combining word-of-mouth with heavy TV ad rotation. It was the 3rd best R-rated comedy opening ever.

Instead, The Hangover finished No. 2 and Pixar CGI toon Up, because of this four-quadrant pic’s usual Saturday crowded matinees for kiddies repeated as No. 1 with an impressive hold around -35%. Up was a strong No. 2 Friday with $13.1M from 3,818 plays, then jumped to #1 by adding $17.8M Saturday and an estimated $13.3M Sunday for a $44.2M weekend. Pixar’s 10th straight smash, Up will post a $137.3M cume, so that’s two success stories this weekend.

Universal told me its expensive Land Of The Lost needed to debut with at least $30M for the studio not to sweat. In 3rd place, it’s now officially one of the first turkeys of the summer. (Because aren’t dinosaurs related to birds?) Land Of The Lost opened Friday a distant 3rd with just $7.1M from 3,521 runs sliding to $7M Saturday for just a $19.5M weekend. That’s unusually low for a Will Ferrell summer comedy, but this one received dismal reviews. Still, how typically Hollywood that rival studios are taking obvious enjoyment in Universal’s distress, especially on the heels of its recent underperforming thriller State Of Play and last week’s disappointing grosses for the Drag Me To Hell horror flick. But this is a cyclical biz. Last summer, Fox struggled.

But this time around 20th Century Fox will be enjoying the $127.3M cume for its sequel reteaming Ben Stiller Owen Wilson, Robin Williams with director Shawn Levy. Night Of The Museum 2: Battle Of The Smithsonian pulled in another $14.6M from 3,807 theaters this weekend for 4th place.

Paramount’s Star Trek took in $8.4M from 3,202 dates for 5th place with a hefty $222.8M cume.

Warner Bros’ Terminator Salvation made $8.1M from 3,403 plays for #6 and a cume of $105.4M. Overseas, it took in $67.5 million this frame, and the sci-fi action film was #1 in 66 of 70 markets and is the #1 grossing title of this weekend overseas. Sony acquired the rights to most foreign territories. The foreign cume is now $97.2M. Overall, T4 is currently pacing 21% higher than T3 in comparable territories at this stage in that film’s release.

Universal’s Drag Me To Hell earned $7.3M (-54% from its opening a week ago) from 2,510 dates — sinking to #7 with a cume of $28.5M.

Imagine/Sony’s Angels & Demons did $6.5M from 2,925 theaters in the 8th spot for a new North American cume of $116.1M. The pic also crossed the $400M mark this weekend and became the No. 1 grossing global hit released to date this year. Of it’s $409M, Angels & Demons has generated $292.9M in the international marketplace, including $22.2M this weekend from overseas. Best performing territories for the film include the United States, Germany, Japan, Italy, UK and Russia. “No one ever expected to replicate the success of Dan Brown’s The DaVinci Code, which was a cultural phenomenon. But for his sequel to hit $400+M and continue climbing is really quite an achievement,” Sony gushed.

No. 9 was that big fat hit My Big Fat Greek Wedding writer/star Nia Vardalos’s new Fox Searchlight romantic comedy My Life In Ruins which debuted with $3.2M from only 1,164 venues. And, rounding out the Top 10, Paramount’s spoof Dance Flick earned $2M from 1,707 locations bringing its cume to $22.6M.

Among other openers, Focus Features’ Away We Go debuted in 4 theaters to gross $143K. A young adult audience drove box office and sold out the late night screens.

Overall, this weekend’s total movie grosses of $164M lagged last year’s big $174.6M box office by -6.1%.