Ah, the power of Ben Stiller and slapping monkeys. 

In somewhat of a surprise, Stiller's "Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian" dominated the Memorial Day four-day box office by grossing a strong $70 million.  The sequel to the 2006 family hit which earned a whopping $250 million domestically didn't break any summer records, but should do hold up OK over the next month or so even with family friendly newcomers such as Pixar's "Up" and the Will Ferrell comedy "Land of the Lost" on the way.

Even more startling, however, was the $53.8 million cume for the much-hyped "Terminator: Salvation."  Relaunching with Christian Bale in the role of human species champion John Connor, the action flick has brought in a total of just $67 million since it opened last Thursday.  That's close to the five-day $68 million gross of "Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines" in 2003, but considering the increase in ticket prices since that time and that tracking showed a much bigger opening, there has to be some tinge of disappointment in both financier The Halcyon Company and distributor Warner Bros. camps.

A much closer race played out for third where "Star Trek" held steady with another $29.4 million to "Angels & Demons" $27.7 million.  The J.J. Abrams reboot is being fueled by great word of mouth and has already reached $191 million, almost unthinkable for a "Star Trek" movie.  "Trek" should surpass "Monsters vs. Aliens" as the top grossing movie of the year sometime this week.  Don't cry for Tom Hank's thriller though.  The sequel to "The Da Vinci Code" has already made more than "Star Trek" overseas where it's playing much more strongly.

The weekend's other debut was the Wayans Bros. spoof "Dance Flick" which pulled in $13.1 million.  Considering how little time and effort Paramount was able to provide the comedy with "Trek" opening only two weeks before, it could have been much, much worse.


Below are the final Memorial Day weekend results according to Box Office Mojo.  Look for continuing box office reports every weekend on HitFix.

1. "Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian," $70 million

2. "Terminator: Salvation,"$53.8 million, $67.1 million to date.


3. "Star Trek," $29.4 million, $191 million to date.

4. "Angels & Demons," $27.7 million, $87.8 million to date.

5. "Dance Flick," $13.1 million

6. "X-Men Origins: Wolverine," $10.1 million, $165 million to date.

7. "Ghosts of Girlfriends Past," $4.8 million, $46 million to date.

8. "Obsessed," $2.5 million, $66 million to date.

9. "Monsters vs. Aliens," $1.9 million, $193 million to date.

10. "17 Again," $1.3 million, $60 million to date.