"Hannah Montana" rocks box office

Mon Apr 13, 2009 7:16am EDT
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Sixteen-year-old actress Miley Cyrus became one of the biggest stars in Hollywood on Sunday as her first nonconcert movie topped the North American box office, earning twice as much as Disney had forecast.

Walt Disney Co's "Hannah Montana: The Movie" sold $34 million worth of tickets at the three-day Easter weekend, as fans of the perky starlet rushed to see the first big-screen adaptation of her hit Disney Channel TV series.

Cyrus returned the favor, turning up with her father and co-star, Billy Ray Cyrus, at theaters in Utah and Tennessee and blogging about her wild weekend on Twitter.

"omgomg! my fans rock! the movie is doing great you guys! omg AND its all cause of you!!!! I LOVE U ALL! IF YOU HAVENT SEEN IT YET CHECK IT!," she wrote, using the "omg" acronym as shorthand for "Oh, my God."

As in her TV show, Cyrus plays a regular schoolgirl by day and a pop star by night. But her father (Billy Ray Cyrus) decides she needs to get back to her small-town roots, so takes her on a surprise trip to her old Tennessee home where love and other complications ensue.

Going into the weekend, Disney had hoped "Hannah Montana" would perform in the same range as 2003's "The Lizzie McGuire Movie," a vehicle for Disney Channel star Hilary Duff. "Lizzie" opened to $17.3 million in 2003, and ended its domestic run with $42.7 million.


On Sunday, the studio denied that it had deliberately set a low target. "It caught us by surprise. No doubt about it," said Chuck Viane, the studio's president of domestic theatrical distribution. "Outside of Wow! what can you say?"   Continued...

<p>Cast member Miley Cyrus attends the premiere of "Hannah Montana the Movie" in Los Angeles April 2, 2009. REUTERS/Phil McCarten</p>