Box Office: ‘Cars 2’ Keeps Pixar Trucking

We applaud you, Pixar. Your cash-cow generating skills are unmatched even when you don’t seem to be putting in the same amount of effort as usual. Such is the case with Cars 2, a Pixar movie that isn’t exactly universally loved. I know. That’s groundbreaking in and of itself. But despite being a critical underachiever, Cars 2 still managed to lap its competitors and fall in line with much of Pixar’s slate. It’s $68m weekend puts it at #5 on the opening chart for the studio, ahead of Wall-E and just under 2009’s Up. This opening also puts the movie at #4 on the all-time biggest June opening in history, a list whose top five includes three Pixar films. Wall-E’s $63m opening weekend in 2008 and Toy Story 3’s $110.3m opening from last year are the other two.

Where this puts the Cars franchise remains to be seen, though. This opening is impressive, but it didn’t push past the usual $65-70m opening weekend Pixar usually gets. Toy Story 3 was the one exception. However, the mileage Cars 2 has could prove strong, and the merchandising – the assumed culprit in why we have a Cars 2 in the first place – is bound to be even stronger. Pixar seems content with dishing out original films as well as sequels with Brave hitting next Summer and the Monsters Inc. sequel, Monsters University, landing in June of 2013. It would surprise no one to hear in the coming weeks that a Cars 3 is planned.

Bad Teacher sure surprised a lot of people. We expected it to land somewhere in the $20-25m range, but the $31m it generated this weekend proves the R-rated comedies are still hitting strong. The success of Bridesmaids and The Hangover Part II already set that belief in motion, but with Bad Teacher’s impressive opening, you can rest assured a lot of R-rated comedies are going to continue getting the greenlight.

Speaking of green, Green Lantern sank pretty hard here in its second weekend. It dropped over 65%, and still hasn’t been able to breach the $100m domestic mark. Despite all that, Warner Brothers announced Sunday plans to continue with the planned sequel. This announcement could be for a number of different reasons, not the least of which is the idea that sequel plans might drive more people into the theater to see the first film. There isn’t a date set, but if Green Lantern continues dropping as quickly as it is, those plans could get swept aside. Ooh, maybe a reboot?

Here’s how the weekend broke down:

  1. Cars 2 – $68m NEW
  2. Bad Teacher – $31m NEW
  3. Green Lantern – $18.3m (-65.5%) $89.3m total
  4. Super 8 – $12.1m (-43.6%) $95.1m total
  5. Mr. Popper’s Penguins – $10.3m (-44.2%) $39.4m total
  6. X-Men: First Class – $6.6m (-44.7%) $132.8m total
  7. The Hangover Part II – $5.8m (-41.8%) $243.9m total
  8. Bridesmaids – $5.3m (-24.3%) $146.6m total
  9. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides – $4.7m (-29.3%) $229m total
  10. Midnight in Paris – $4.4m (-8.3%) $28.5m total

The top 10 for the weekend brought in $166.5m, up for the second weekend in a row. That’s not taking into account the #11 and 12 films on the chart, Kung Fu Panda 2 and The Tree of Life, which combined raked in an additional $5.5m. That’s also up from the same weekend last year when Toy Story 3 topped the charts with its second weekend and Grown Ups and Knight & Day opened to so-so numbers.

Next weekend’s big film won’t be bringing in so-so numbers. It’s Transformers: Dark of the Moon, and love it or hate it, it’s going to be making some serious bank. Larry Crowne and Monte Carlo will be serving as counter-programming, but those giant robots will be the main topic of discussion.

We’ll be back on Thursday night to see how the weekend is shaping up.

Jeremy's been writing about movies for a good, 15 years, starting with the film review column of his high school newspaper. He stands proud as the first person in his high school to have seen (and recommend) Pulp Fiction. Jeremy went on to get a B.A. in Cinema and Photography with a minor in journalism. His experience and knowledge of film is aided by the list of 6600 films he has seen in his life (so far). Jeremy's belief is that there are no bad films, just unrealized possibilities. Except Batman and Robin. That shit was awful.

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