Toy Story 3

It’s time for Pixar to step in.  Save for a few surprises here and there, the Summer has been a bit dismal in regards to box office takes.  Iron Man and Shrek have come and collected, and The Karate Kid is sure to be a big earner when all is said and done.  However, many films so far have not lived up to their potential.  Not true this weekend, as a clear winner is sure to emerge on top of the heap, and our pals Buzz and Woody are going to bring some serious cash Disney’s way.

BIG HITTERS

There is more going for Toy Story 3 than it just being the yearly, Pixar release that is sure to be loved by the critics, win an Oscar, and make a ton of dough.  Opening on 4028 screens, it is the widest release Pixar has had to date, and the first film from the animated studio to hit more than 4000 screens.  Several before it have opened in the 3900+ range, but none have had this type of opening before.  A deciding factor in that, I’m sure, is the current popularity of 3-D, which Pixar first began utilizing with last year’s Up.  That was one of the reasons for Up‘s ultimate success, but a little film called Avatar changed the 3-D game late 2009.  Look for Toy Story 3 to cash in on some of those dividends.

Toy Story 3 is also the first franchise in Pixar history.  It is, thus far, the only Pixar film to get a feature film sequel.  This being the third film in that franchise, the built-in brand loyalty is sure to have fans of the series out in force.  Which brings us to the film’s potential.  The biggest opening for a Pixar film was in 2004 with The Incredibles.  It opened to $70.4 million the first weekend of November.  The biggest, Summer opening Pixar has had was with 2003′s Finding Nemo, which pulled in $70.2 million when it opened in May of that year.  Look for Toy Story 3 to trounce both of these numbers.  However, beloved or not, I’m not sure if I see this film opening to more than $100 million as many are expecting.  Only two, animated films have been able to make $100 million or more in their opening weekends: Shrek 2 ($108 million) in 2004 and Shrek the Third ($121.6 million) in 2007.  While Toy Story 3 is going to dominate the box office this weekend, I don’t see it having the biggest opening weekend of the year.

Get reacquainted with Buzz, Woody, and the whole gang by watching the Toy Story 3 trailer right here:

Did someone mention blockbuster openings, because there’s only going to be one this weekend. Jonah Hex has seemed to be plagued by trouble going back to the film’s announcement.  While the idea of Neveldine and Taylor writing and directing it seemed like a recipe for bad-ass success, Warner Brothers ultimately went a different route.  Of course, there’s only one person who can fill the boots of the guys who directed Crank, and that’s the guy who directed Horton Hears a Who.  Despite having the DC Comics brand behind it, don’t expect Jonah Hex to land too many solid punches this weekend.  In fact, with the critical and financial failings this film is likely to have, expect it to be remembered more in line with Catwoman than too many of DC’s other properties.  There aren’t too many selling points on this film otherwise.  Josh Brolin isn’t the leading man he probably should be. Jennifer’s Body and its $6.8-million opening weekend proved all we needed to know about Megan Fox’s ability to open a film.  I don’t think Michael Shannon and his two seconds of dialogue-less screen time are going to make the film an extra cent.  When all is said and done on the Jonah Hex front, expect it all to be quite ugly.

If you’re still up for a little Wild, Wild West 2010 action, check out the Jonah Hex trailer right here:

FAMILIARITIES

Toy Story 3 is going to be number one.  Jonah Hex will be lucky to get into double digits.  Everything else about this coming weekend seems fairly predetermined.  The Karate Kid came out high kicks flying last weekend, and the good word of mouth is only going to help its second weekend drop-off.  With its opening weekend numbers, the film has already broken past its estimated budget, and plans for a sequel are already underway to no one’s surprise.  Look for The Karate Kid to fly past the $100-million mark by Sunday.

I wish the same could be said for The A-Team, but, sadly, that film isn’t getting anywhere near the $100-million mark let alone its $110-million budget.  It’s a shame for director Joe Carnahan, too, who wanted to do a Preacher film next.  Between the lack of success for The A-Team and how little Jonah Hex is going to make, these second tier DC/Vertigo Comics projects may be put on hold indefinitely, and Carnahan probably won’t be at the top of the list to direct it.

LITTLE OPENERS

The roll-out on films that debuted at Sundance continues this weekend.  First up is The Killer Inside Me, a rather violent tale that is surely going to divide audiences.  Our very own Robert Levin didn’t favor it too well.  It opens in New York at the IFC Film Center.

If you’re just dying to see Casey Affleck play psycho, check out the trailer for The Killer Inside Me:

Also getting a limited release is Cyrus, the latest comedy from Mark and Jay Duplass.  This time around, they are rolling with the likes of John C. Reilly, Jonah Hill, and Maris Tomei.  Check out either Neil’s Sundance or Landon’s SXSW take on the film, both of whom give it glowing reviews.  Cyrus opens this weekend in New York and L.A.

Check out the trailer for Cyrus right here:

Also hitting limited release this weekend are 8: The Mormon Proposition in a number of markets, I Am Love starring Tilda Swinton in New York and L.A., the French comedy Let It Rain in New York, and the documentary Stonewall Uprising at the Film Forum in New York.

Here’s how the top 10 is shaping up this weekend:

  1. Toy Story 3 – $95m NEW
  2. The Karate Kid – $25m (-45%)
  3. The A-Team – $14.4m (-56.3%)
  4. Jonah Hex – $9.4m NEW
  5. Shrek Forever After – $6.2m (-39.8%)
  6. Get Him to the Greek – $4.6m (-46.6%)
  7. Killers – $4.1m (-52.3%)
  8. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time – $3.5m (-55.1%)
  9. Sex and the City 2 – $2.9m (-55%)
  10. Marmaduke – $2.8m (-47.5%)

$167.9 million is what we are looking at for the coming weekend.  At a 19.5% increase from last weekend’s $140.5 million, this is still relatively conservative considering how much money Toy Story 3 could make.  This would also be a 20.1% increase from the same weekend last year when The Proposal gave Sandra Bullock her biggest opening weekend at that time.  Year One also had a decent opening that weekend, and The Hangover and Up were still riding strong in their third and fourth weekends, respectively.

This time last week, I was writing up how there didn’t seem to be too many $50+ million opening weekends for the rest of the Summer, and I probably spoke way too soon.  The Karate Kid has already proven me wrong.  There is no way Toy Story 3 won’t continue to do this, as well, as its opening numbers are sure to break records if not overall within the PIXAR family.

We’ll be back on Sunday night to go over the weekend numbers.

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