Box Office: Cruise and Sandler Go Down to Pixar

Toy Story 3

Sometimes things turn out the way you might expect.  It was a no-brainer going into this weekend that Pixar and Toy Story 3 would come out on top for the second weekend in a row.  It was also safe betting that Adam Sandler and his crew of Grown Ups would beat out a second place spot for itself and that Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz would show.  The numbers might not be precisely what was anticipated, but the rankings are right there.

The second weekend drop-off for Toy Story 3 was a little higher than Pixar’s traditional average.  The only other Pixar film to have a higher percentage drop is WALL-E.  This isn’t taking into account the 48.4% and 51.6% drops A Bug’s Life and Toy Story 2 respectively had in their second weekends in wide release.  They were initially released on one screen.  While Toy Story 3‘s drop this weekend was not higher than either of those, it was still considerably bigger than most expected from a film with such good word of mouth. Regardless, Toy Story 3‘s domestic take is already higher than that of WALL-E, Ratatouille, A Bug’s Life, and the first Toy Story.  This latest effort from Pixar is well on its way to beating Finding Nemo as the highest grossing film they’ve released to date, and without a massive roadblock in the next month it is sure to do just that.

Sandler et al, but mostly Sandler, proved their worth once more.  Grown Ups is the highest opening Sandler has had since 2005’s The Longest Yard, which pulled in $47.6 million upon arrival.  The same goes for Chris Rock, who co-starred with Sandler in both films.  Grown Ups didn’t have a bigger opening than Hitch, but you have to take into account Kevin James had more to do with this film’s opening than the Will Smith vehicle.  It needs not even be mentioned Grown Ups holds the biggest opening for David Spade and Rob Schneider, cameos not included.

While Sandler always seems to have this decent of an opening even for a film that has a 10% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, that doesn’t mean his films are monsters in the long run.  Sandler has never been in a film that has grossed more than $161 million, that being The Waterboy.  Grown Ups doesn’t seem to be the film that helps him surpass that milestone, and it is sure to have a pretty sized drop-off its second weekend out.

One film that didn’t even get much pull out of the gate is Knight and Day.  This idea of Tom Cruise not being able to sell a film without some other form of brand loyalty about it continues to hold true.  Not even re-teaming with his Vanilla Sky co-star Cameron Diaz helped Knight and Day make much of an impact.  The Wednesday release didn’t help the cause either, as the film only made $7.7 million before the weekend began. As it stands, Knight and Day is the second lowest opening Cruise has had in over 10 years, the lowest being Lions for Lambs in 2007.

Everything else had the pretty standard 45-50% drops save for Jonah Hex, which is an abysmal failure for everyone involved.  Supergirl, ladies and gentlemen.  That’s really all I have to say on that subject.

One interesting note is the case of Prince of Persia.  While many on the domestic side of things have been calling this film a bomb, it’s been creeping up its game around the world.  While it has only pulled in $86.1 million in domestic sales, it has succeeded in pushing itself past the $300-million mark worldwide.  With an estimated budget of $200 million, this puts the film in the black and broaches the subject of whether a film warrants a sequel based on worldwide box office.  Time will tell if Bruckheimer decides to throw his hat back in the Prince of Persia ring, but it would be an interesting story if he did.

Here is how the weekend box office shaped up:

  1. Toy Story 3 – $59m (-46.5%) $226.5m total
  2. Grown Ups – $41m NEW
  3. Knight and Day – $20.5m NEW $27.7m total since Wednesday
  4. The Karate Kid – $15.4m (-48.5%) $135.6m total
  5. The A-Team – $6m (-58.3%) $62.8m total
  6. Get Him to the Greek – $3m (-50.7%) $54.4m total
  7. Shrek Forever After – $2.8m (-48.8%) $229.3m total
  8. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time – $2.8m (-49.7%) $86.1m total
  9. Killers – $2m (-60.3%) $44m total
  10. Jonah Hex – $1.6m (-70.3%) $9.1m total

It’s unfair to compare this weekend’s $154.1 million take to last weekend or to the same weekend last year. Last weekend was aided by Toy Story 3‘s record-breaking weekend, and the same weekend in 2009 had the then record-breaking Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.  It is such a one-sided battle, in fact, that the top three films last weekend made more money than all ten films in this weekend’s list.  The same can be said for the top four films this weekend last year.  Nonetheless, this weekend saw a 17.6% drop from last weekend and a 18.9% drop from last year.  Like it or not, this was to be expected.  While Toy Story 3‘s second weekend drop was bigger than anticipated, Grown Ups did better and Knight and Day did worse than expected, so they balance each other out.

The numbers are sure to be up again next weekend though, as both The Twilight Saga: Eclipse and M. Night Shyamalan’s adaptation of The Last Airbender hit theaters.  Toy Story 3‘s reign at the top is probably only going to last these two weekends, with Eclipse the sure victor.  It releases on Wednesday this week to get the audience primed for the weekend.  We’ll be back on Tuesday night to run through how we see the weekend shaping up.

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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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