Sunday, October 26, 2008

Disney's "High School Musical" rocks box office

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – "High School Musical 3: Senior Year," the first big-screen adaptation of Walt Disney Co's popular TV movie franchise, graduated top of the class during its first weekend in North American theaters, according to preliminary sales estimates issued on Saturday.

The movie sold $16.9 million worth of tickets during its opening day on Friday, Disney said, and will easily beat pundits' forecasts of a weekend haul in the $40 million range. Disney declined to give a weekend estimate until Sunday.

"High School Musical 3" will have little trouble crushing the $27.8 million record for a musical opening set by the ABBA-themed romance "Mamma Mia!" in July.

It also ends the four-year winning streak of the "Saw" horror franchise. "Saw V" will come in at No. 2 with weekend sales of $30.1 million, based on a Friday haul of $14 million, said distributor Lionsgate. Beginning in 2004, the first four films all opened at No. 1 on consecutive Octobers.

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