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Box Office Report: 'Night at the Museum' opens with $70 mil

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Nightatthemuseum3_l

Nightatthemuseum3_l

Ben Stiller had no problem handling Christian Bale and an army of robots this Memorial Day weekend. Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian cruised to an easy first-place finish of $70 million over the four-day weekend, according to early estimates by Hollywood.com Box Office. The total marks Stiller’s biggest opening ever, as the PG-rated comedy clearly caught the attention of families looking for non-violent (and just a wee bit educational) entertainment. Smithsonian‘s tally also demolishes its predecessor, Night at the Museum, which opened its doors to a $42.2 million gross over a four-day Christmas weekend in 2006.

Settling for No. 2 was Terminator Salvation, which earned $53.8 million over the four-day weekend (plus $13.4 million from its debut on Thursday, bringing its five-day gross to $67.2 million). Warner Bros. will boast about Salvation representing the Terminator series’ best opening, beating Terminator 3: Rise of the Machine‘s three-day tally of $44 million in July 2003. But as impressive as Salvation‘s earnings may be, it could have trouble in the forthcoming weeks. The film’s numbers dropped from Friday to Saturday, a rarity that could signal disappointing word of mouth.

Both Star Trek (No. 3 with $29.4 million) and Angels and Demons (No. 4 with $27.7 million) registered solid results, dropping only 47 percent and 53 percent, respectively, from last weekend. Trek, in particular, is holding up extremely well — the sci-fi reboot is closing in on $200 million and should take over Monsters vs. Aliens this week to become 2009’s top moneymaker.

Dance Flick rounded out the top five with $13.1 million, which is a respectable outcome for the modestly budgeted spoof movie from the Wayans family.

On the indie scene, Steven Soderbergh’s The Girlfriend Experience, starring the adult-film actress Sasha Grey, scored an okay $200,000 from 30 theaters. Easy Virtue, the 1920s-era romantic comedy featuring Jessica Biel, roared to $146,000 from just 10 theaters for a healthy average of $14,600 per theater. Also, the con film The Brothers Bloom expanded to 52 theaters, stealing $528,000 and averaging just more than $10,000 per theater.

Overall, the box office was up 2% compared to last year’s Memorial Day weekend, when Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, despite nuking the fridge, managed to whip up a staggering $126.9 million.

More Box Office News:

Box Office Preview: ‘Terminator Salvation’ and ‘Night at the Museum 2’ square off
Angels & Demons summons a $48 million bow
Star Trek soars with $72.5 mil debut
Wolverine opens with an impressive $87 million
EW.com’s Box Office Chart