Weekend Report: Pixar Tows 'Cars 2' to Top Spot

Pixar's reliability was on display again with the roll-out of Cars 2. The manufacturer's latest model generated its 12th No. 1 opening in a row with an estimated $68 million over the weekend. Moviegoers were also hot for Bad Teacher as well, but Green Lantern flamed out.

Riding on approximately 7,700 screens at 4,115 locations, Cars 2 delivered the fourth highest-grossing June opening weekend ever and the fifth highest-grossing opening weekend yet for a Pixar movie, behind Toy Story 3's $110.3 million, The Incredibles' $70.5 million, Finding Nemo's $70.3 million and Up's $68.1 million. The talking car sequel out-grossed the first Cars' $60.1 million opening weekend from June 2006, but trailed it in terms of estimated attendance. Cars 2's weekend was towards the back of the Pixar attendance pack, ahead of only A Bug's Life, Ratatouille and Toy Story.

Cars 2's run featured the 3D illusion at 2,508 locations, which accounted for 40 percent of the gross (including 150 IMAX screens that contributed five percent). The 3D share was even less than what Kung Fu Panda 2, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides and Green Lantern posted in their unenthusiastic 3D debuts. For perspective, Toy Story 3's 3D share was 60 percent (with 2,463 3D venues), while Up's was 52 percent (with only 1,534 3D venues). Distributor Walt Disney Pictures' exit polling indicated that Cars 2's audience was 53 percent male and 56 percent under 25 years old (36 percent was age 11 and younger).

Cars 2 fared a bit better than forecasted, but it wasn't special in the realm of Pixar, especially since it was a presumably easy-sell sequel and not a marketing challenge like Up, WALL-E or Ratatouille. It effectively ran on franchise fumes, and, since Pixar is a stronger brand than DreamWorks Animation, that yielded a faster start than Kung Fu Panda 2, which also involved resting on laurels (at least in terms of marketing). Cars 2 may not be able to out-pace the first Cars's $244.1 million final haul, but its retention should ultimately be better than Kung Fu Panda 2's versus its predecessor.

In second, Bad Teacher bagged an estimated $31 million on around 3,700 screens at 3,049 locations, grading highly thanks to its relatable, outrageous and clearly-conveyed premise. That gross was greater than Bridesmaids's $26.2 million last month and was in the same range as Step Brothers and Knocked Up. According to distributor Sony Pictures, Bad Teacher's audience was 63 percent female and 57 percent aged 25 years and older, skewing a little less female and younger than Bridesmaids did.

Green Lantern descended to third with an estimated $18.5 million. Its fall was a steep 65 percent and was more severe than both Thor and X-Men: First Class. The drop was closest to Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer among past comparable titles. What's worse, at $89.3 million in ten days, Green Lantern also had a lower total through the same point.

In fourth place, Super 8 slowed 44 percent to an estimated $12.1 million. With a $95.2 million tally in 17 days, the cryptic creature feature has surpassed the final grosses of Battle: Los Angeles and Cloverfield, and it continued to track ahead of District 9.

Mr. Popper's Penguins rounded out the Top Five with an estimated $10.3 million. Down 44 percent, the Jim Carrey family comedy has made a tepid $39.4 million in ten days. X-Men: First Class had its smallest decline yet, retreating 45 percent to an estimated $6.6 million for a $132.8 million sum in 24 days.

The gap between The Hangover Part II and Bridesmaids tightened further as a little less than $500,000 separated the two R-rated comedies over the weekend. Hangover II was off 42 percent to an estimated $5.9 million, while Bridesmaids dipped 24 percent to an estimated $5.4 million. The respective totals, though, were $243.9 million in 32 days and $146.7 million in 45 days.

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides was down only 29 percent, its best hold yet, and grabbed an estimated $6.6 million for a $229.1 million total in 38 days. Kung Fu Panda 2, on the other hand, felt the brunt of Cars 2 and collapsed 54 percent to an estimated $4.15 million, though it crossed the $150 million mark in 30 days.

Meanwhile, Midnight in Paris boasted the smallest drop among nationwide holdovers. The Woody Allen comedy eased eight percent to an estimated $4.5 million, increasing its sum to $28.6 million in 38 days. It eclipsed Vicky Cristina Barcelona and Match Point as Allen's top grossing movie in 25 years (since Hannah and Her Sisters) and ranks fourth overall. While Midnight has an excellent shot at surpassing Hannah's $40.1 million to become Allen's top-grossing picture overall, it won't come close to the the attendance levels of most of Allen's heyday movies, including Annie Hall, Manhattan and Hannah.

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