As the below chart reveals (care of the endlessly informative boxofficemojo.com), "Up" just had the best third weekend ever for a Pixar film, besting "Finding Nemo"'s $28,384,483 and "The Incredibles"' $26,523,852. It's also the tenth highest third weekend of all time, ahead of "Spiderman 3," "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" and "Shrek."
Though it's still tracking slightly behind "Nemo" in its total gross ($187,179,000 vs. $191,487,211), its impressively minimal drops (just 30.9% this weekend), suggest that could actually change. "Nemo" is the highest grossing Pixar film, with a final tally of $339,714,978. That's an ambitious number for "Up" to be sure, especially considering "Ice Age 3" and "Harry Potter" are a few weeks away, but its also about to benefit from kids being out of school.
Whether that happens or not, may I just state the obvious and often-repeated: It's really lovely to see this film - complete with its heavy, risky, and fully realized themes - become a strong contender for the summer's highest grossing film. From that brilliant opening sequence where we are exposed to the challenges of a miscarriage and the death of a spouse, to its layered conclusion that reflects on nostalgia and memory (which is made all the more effective due to the fact that seeing a Disney movie always makes me consider those ideas in myself, and I'm not alone, as a heavy minority of my earliest memories involve Disney cartoons) - "Up" is also a strong contender to become one of my favourite films of the year, and certainly will be one of the most personally affecting. It's not very often you can speak to a summer blockbuster on those terms.
In fact, the only three summer films thus far to perform above expectations - "Star Trek," "The Hangover" and "Up" - are also among the only summer films to actually get good reviews (the fourth example, "Drag Me To Hell," wasn't so lucky). Perhaps that's finally suggesting audiences are less willing to fork over money for garbage. But then there's that whole "Paul Blart: Mall Cop" thing working against that theory...
Either way, here's to "Up" making money. It's remarkably well-deserved.