Weekend Box Office – CARS 2 Scores $68 Million Win; BAD TEACHER Overachieves with $31 Million

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After posting a strong start on Friday, Cars 2 went on to finish the weekend with an estimated $68 million from its 4,115 locations.  That was more than double what its closest competitor, Bad Teacher, took in; but not quite enough to get the sequel higher than fifth place on the list of All-Time Pixar Studio champions.

Title Weekend Total
1 Cars 2 $68,000,000 $68
2 Bad Teacher $31,000,000 $31
3 Green Lantern $18,350,000 $89.3
4 Super 8 $12,100,000 $95.1
5 Mr. Popper’s Penguins $10,300,000 $39.4
6 X-Men: First Class $6,600,000 $132.8
7 The Hangover Part II $5,865,000 $232.9
8 Bridesmaids $5,372,000 $146.6
9 Pirates of the Caribbean 4 $4,700,000 $229
10 Midnight in Paris $4,480,000 $28.5

cars-2-movie-poster-cast-01Despite comically low early expectations for Cars 2 ($40-$50 million), Disney/Pixar Studios’ first non-Toy related sequel easily charged off with a first day total that eclipsed all of the previous Pixar titles apart from Toy Story 3.  All it had to do was follow the traditional kiddie-film formula with a bump in attendance on Saturday and Cars 2 should have been able to accelerate to over $70 million for the weekend – right where past Pixar leaders like Finding Nemo and The Incredibles crossed their own three-day finish lines.  Instead, Mater and McQueen lost some speed on Day Two (down 9.3%) and ended up in the middle of the Pixar pack, ahead of Wall-E and Cars but behind Up.  Naturally, all of the studio’s titles trail last year’s Toy Story 3, which also fell off by almost 10% on its second day; but with a final count of $110.3 million, no one much noticed the decline.

Pixar had two other noticeable declines to deal with in Cars 2: one which surely impacted the film’s first weekend estimate and another which probably didn’t.  First, Cars 2 is just the latest in a string of 2011 titles released in 3D to post diminishing returns for the higher-priced format.  With 60% of its theatres offering Cars 2 in 3D, Box Office Mojo estimates that about 40% of the film’s final estimate will come from its extra dimension.  Compare that to May 2009, when just 40% of theatres featured Pixar’s Up in 3D but the format accounted for 52% of the film’s weekend debut, and you can see why purveyors of the technology have been freaking out of late.

The second, more precipitous, drop facing Cars 2 is the sequel’s perceived dip in quality.  Far from the 97% Fresh that Toy Story 3 rated on Rotten Tomatoes, Pixar’s critical love fest hit a speed bump with their latest release.  The first Cars was already pretty low on most adult’s Pixar list – though at 74% Fresh it is still several laps ahead of its successor’s current 33% rating.  Normally a bad review would equal poor word of mouth for a major release but I’m not sure that logic applies for a kiddie crowd-pleaser like Cars 2.  The fact is that kids (especially boys) always loved Cars; and with schools out and summer presenting few kid-pic options, I would expect Cars 2 to put up strong mid-week numbers – especially for those too young to be seduced by Transformers 3.

cameron-diaz-bad-teacher-movie-image-2Here’s a good indicator of how poor the reviews have been for Cars 2Bad Teacher is currently running thirteen points ahead of the film on Rotten Tomatoes.  A Cameron Diaz movie!  Ahead of a Pixar title!  Sony should totally find a way to get that into their TV spots.  This week’s second major release exceeded all expectations by taking in an estimated $31 million from 3,049 locations.  That is significantly above the film’s early projections of under $20 million and even more than the $25 million anticipated after Friday’s figures were reported.  Bad Teacher’s performance is even more impressive considering the film has a budget reported to be about $20 million.  Considering that this week last year saw Diaz in the disappointing Knight and Day ($20.1 million first weekend/$117 million budget) this is already looking like a big hit for all parties involved.

No such luck for Green Lantern.  After dropping a giant 71% from its first to second Friday, the Warner Brothers/DC superhero declined an estimated 65% this weekend to claim third place with $18.4 million.  Even worse, international figures have been unusually low for Green Lantern, with current reports crediting just 17.5% of the film’s worldwide total of $93.2 million to overseas attendance.  After a comparable ten day period, Thor – this summer’s other “lesser” superhero title – had already brought in almost $120 million in domestic ticket sales and a nearly equivalent amount overseas.

Overall this weekend managed to put the box office back into the plus column by 9% over last year when Toy Story 3 enjoyed its second weekend at number one.  Next weekend we’ll see another increase with the release of Transformers: Dark of the Moon.  Of course, TF3 is actually going wide on Wednesday (Tuesday night will see its 3D and IMAX debuts) which means that many fans will have caught the film before the weekend but, considering that the last Transformers brought in $62 million on its first day in 2009 (a Wednesday) I’m sure the new film’s weekend total will eclipse the $64.8 million of 2010’s winner: Eclipse.

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  • Michael

    I knew Green Lantern would drop and drop by huge numbers, but seeing the numbers makes it seem more stark than I thought it would be.

    Well, I think it’s truly official now: GL is a huge failure.

  • Ryan

    GL is this year’s Speed Racer.

    Though I loved the Speed Racer adaptation, it had a lot of heart and the casting was also perfect.

    Too bad audiences didn’t buy it.

    As for Green Lantern, the backlash is justifiable.

  • Proeteus

    I love Green lantern comics and i enjoyed the movie. I hope the number either force them to reboot in a few years with out the whole origin story and just get to the real meat of the Green lantern and green lantern corps or if they do do a sequel they focus on hal and the corps and make it a intergalactic battle.

    GL on earth is boring unless he is with the JL.

  • Jenny Murphy

    Great for Cars 2. I didn’t want to see Pixar have a failure (at least failure at the box office). I think, because there really is nothing else for parents to take their kids to out there, word of mouth will be good and it should get to $200 million domestic. Green Lantern make take another couple weeks just to get to $100 million.

    Here’s my winner for most incoherent review you’ll ever read (Cars 2). The man obviously doesn’t know English very well.

    http://mankabros.com/blogs/btp/2011/06/23/cars-2-review/

    • Al

      True pixar is usually solid but I feel like if they realize they can make almost as much money with crappier films there will be less reason for them to strive for excellence. I think a weak box office turn out might have been good for their hubris seeing as they have a Monsters inc. prequel coming out that seems like a pure money grab just like cars 2 was. Hopefully the awful reviews will be enough to keep Pixar on point. I guess we’ll see, their next movie Brave sounds really interesting though.

  • jake

    How do they get these numbers when the weekend isn’t over?

  • aaronsullivan

    My two year old was in a bad mood the night we went to Cars 2 unfortunately, so our family was very distracted (especially my poor wife who missed a good third of the movie I think) but I found it good for the most part.

    The theme and character stories were very weak for a Pixar film and I didn’t quite like the way it resolved either. Seems like the focus was on the spy/mystery plot which was kind of fun but also a bit disturbing. Torture and murder has been breached before in Pixar films but never so directly and the radical change in genre for Cars made it unexpected as well.

    All that said though, the technical aspects and the chases and action scenes were riveting — I swear that pun was unintentional.

    The sound was boosted too high (something I never complain about) but the 3D was pristine and Pixar even went all out, making the 3D Fun and not subdued like it was in Up.

    I’m sure I’ll be missing the 3D in quite a few scenes when we get to watching it at home in 2D.

    I’ll reserve judgement until I see it in better circumstances, but I certainly get where the critical disdain is coming from.

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  • gimpsuit

    So, with all these films that are underperforming in 3D… you do also realize they are underperforming in 2D as well right?
    They also just happen to be badly reviewed and very average films. So I guess the question is, are people actually turning away from 3D, or just turning away from average films in 3D? Because none of those underperforming films you mentioned were actually very good.
    It’s natural the 3D % would fall, I mean, why would you pay extra to see what you know is going to be an average film.
    Also, I think it’s very possibel people are startting to bluff the system and buy a 2D ticket, then just wander into a 3D screening with their glasses ready. I know for the last 10 years at least I could buy a ticket, have it checked at the main entrance, then walk into ANY cinema I please. There’s no one montioring if you are going to the correct cinema. So why not just pay for a 2D ticket and watch it in 3D to avoid the surcharge? I’m sure people would be doing this, and of course the box office records reflect this. Plus the industry is getting ripped off on their precious surcharge.
    Maybe all is not as simple as it seems. But don’t let that ruin a good story.

    • Jesus

      No you’re completely right, the studios and theaters are being cheated out of their 3D surcharges. Poor, poor studios and theaters. The fact of the matter is 3D isn’t worth the extra money they charge for them and people are realizing that the extra $4 per ticket doesn’t necessarily add up to extra enjoyment. If the difference was really that noticeable, the 3D television market would be booming right now and not sagging. TV manufacturers are close to forcing people to purchase 3D systems by making 80% of the TVs available in major retail stores 3D (and about 20% more expensive on average).

      This is all happening because people don’t care enough about 3D, not because of low projection lighting but because it’s not economically worthwhile. The dip is going to continue as long as studios and theater owners continue their line of thought that they can gouge moviegoers on ticket prices.

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  • Collin V.

    I don’t know what’s worse: the fact that Pixar actually made ONE bad movie or the fact they decided to make a sequel to Cars in the first place.

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