"The Last Song" Hits High Note at the Box Office

Actress/singer Miley Cyrus arrives at the 20th anniversary Time for Heroes Celebrity Carnival to benefit the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric Aids Foundation, Sunday, June 7, 2009, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Gus Ruelas) AP Photo/Gus Ruelas

This story was written by CBS News' Karina Mitchell.

Tween queen Miley Cyrus struck a chord with audiences and the box office in her Disney film "The Last Song," which opened earlier this week. Supported in part, no doubt, by the huge fan base her popular "Hannah Montana" TV show has generated, the one woman media sensation hit all the right notes and helped propel the film to the top of the daily box office rankings, bringing in an estimated five million dollars on the first day of its' strategic Wednesday release.

Marketers strategically planned the early opening to get an edge on big name movies slated for the usual Friday release.

As "Hannah Montana" comes to an end, the singing sensation is trying hard to launch herself as a dramatic actress. "The Last Song" was penned specifically with her in mind, by author Nicholas Sparks.

Photos: Miley Cyrus

Cyrus sheds the sugary sweet image she has cultivated on her hit show, instead playing an edgy teen troubled by her parents' (Greg Kinnear and Kelly Preston) divorce. Unwillingly, she is sent to spend the summer in the South with the father she is estranged from and in the bargain finds young love in the form of Liam Hemsworth.

It's no surprise the film bears all the hallmarks of a Sparks novel - young tormented love, a crescendo of emotions before the final prerequisite romantic happy ending. There's nothing surprising in the story plot. What is surprising is Cyrus' performance - it's surprisingly under par. Given that she is trying to expand her brand name, I would have expected a stronger performance from the 18-year old star. In her defense, the singing sensation admits that she might want to take some professional acting lessons to develop her potential. Still, as she tells Showbuzz viewers, "it was amazing to go into a different role, feel fresh and start from a new place."

It doesn't matter if her performance doesn't win her an Academy Award any time soon, though. With "The Last Song"'s strong opening at the box office and the final season "Hannah Montana" around the corner, it's clear her fans are making sure this young star will continue to experience the best of both worlds for some time to come.

Sure to give Miley a run for top spot at the box office this weekend are the 3-D spectacular "Clash of the Titans" and Tyler Perry's "Why Did I Get Married Too?"

Eighties themed films are ripe for director's imaginations this year, it seems. "Clash" is a remake of the 1981 original that starred Harry Hamlin as Perseus, the mortal son of Zeus. This time around, Sam Worthington holds that honor and must battle Hades (played by Ralph Fiennes), Medusa and much of the rest of the underworld to save heaven and earth from falling prey to evil. Powerhouse Liam Neeson stars as the mighty Zeus in this mythological fantasy that promises to keep audiences enthralled.

And a powerhouse all of his own Tyler Perry returns to the big screen after his last Madea adventure in a story about relationships and the institution of marriage in "Why Did I Get Married Too" out Friday. The story revolves around four couples who reunite for their annual vacation in the Bahamas to review their marriages. Humorous interactions between the couples are tempered with some intense moments. Adding to the confusion is the arrival of an uninvited guest trying to woo back his recently remarried wife. Janet Jackson also stars in this comedy-drama.
By Karina Mitchell
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