Box Office Results for June 24, 2011

This weekend, two new releases opened big as Pixar‘s 3D animated sequel Cars 2 and the raunchy Cameron Diaz comedy Bad Teacher both excited their target audiences pumping in nearly $100M worth of ticket sales at the North American box office.

Scoring its twelfth number one hit, Pixar’s Cars 2 finished in first place by a mile with an estimated $68M during its opening weekend making for the fourth biggest June debut ever behind Pixar’s Toy Story 3 ($110.3M), DreamWorksTransformers: Revenge of the Fallen ($109M), and Warner Bros.Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban ($93.7).  The Pixar film raced into 4,115 theaters – a new high for a Pixar toon – and averaged a stellar $16,525.  The strength of the Pixar brand and the Cars franchise meant more to audiences than the flood of negative reviews from critics who gave the animation studio what were by far its worst marks ever.

Audiences continued to show their distrust for 3D as those screens contributed to just 40% of the gross.  That follows opening weekend shares of 45% for DreamWorks Animation‘s Kung Fu Panda 2 last month and 56% of Blue Sky‘s Rio in April despite the fact that Pixar has always been the leader of computer animation.  Among Pixar films, the Cars 2 opening was on par with the $68.1M of 2009’s Up, which was the first 3D offering from the studio but, as expected, well below the launch of Toy Story 3 from a year ago.

In the world of cartoons, Cars has been one of the most successful brands when it comes to merchandising consistently selling products long after the original film bowed to $60.1M in June 2006.  That free in-home advertising helped the sequel.  Film critics may have rejected Cars 2, but kids were truly excited and they – and their parents – are the ones who spend at the box office.  And those customers liked the spy-themed sequel as the CinemaScore grade was an A-.  With a hefty budget of $200M, Cars 2 has a long road ahead of it to make back the production and marketing costs.  However since Pixar films usually reach about four times their opening weekend tallies, this one could match or exceed the $244.1M of its predecessor.  Plus overseas grossers should get a major shot in the arm thanks to a strong international market for 3D and the film’s global setting that takes the story to Tokyo, Paris, London, and the Italian Riviera.

Cameron Diaz enjoyed one of the best openings of her career with the raunchy school comedy Bad Teacher, which powered well ahead of expectations to debut to an estimated $31M.  The Columbia release averaged a terrific $10,167 from only 3,049 locations and played best to adult women who have been underserved in recent weeks thanks to male-skewing action films topping the charts all month leading into this weekend.  Reviews were mixed though more negative than positive, and audiences did not find it all that enjoyable either with the CinemaScore grade being a disappointing C+.  But starpower from Diaz along with co-stars Jason Segel and Justin Timberlake helped to drive in business as did an interesting story involving a foul-mouthed and underachieving middle school teacher trying to score herself a sugar daddy.  The studio’s marketing push was effective too.

Films that Diaz has anchored solo have generally fared poorly at the box office while those with other famous co-stars have opened better but still below Bad Teacher20th Century Fox and Regency‘s Knight and Day from last summer with Academy Award Nominee Tom Cruise bowed to $20.1M (with $27.4M over 5 days) while 20th Century Fox and Regency’s What Happens in Vegas from 2008 with Ashton Kutcher debuted to $20.2M.  Her overall top openings have come from DreamWorks Animation’s Shrek films and Columbia’s Charlie’s Angels and Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle, which were much more expensive productions compared to her new R-rated comedy, which reportedly cost only $20M.  Exit polls showed that 63% of the crowd was female and 57% was 25 and older.  With nothing similar to Bad Teacher opening over next weekend’s Independence Day holiday session, the studio hopes to keep attendance high for at least another week so it can get on track to reach the $100M mark.

The big budget super hero pic Green Lantern collapsed in its second weekend tumbling 66% to an estimated $18.4M giving the studio a disappointing $89.3M in the first ten days.  That was less than what past June comic book film shave done in the same amount of time including DC‘s Batman Begins from 2005 ($103.2M), Universal and Marvel‘s Hulk from 2003 ($100.6M), 20th Century Fox and Marvel’s Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer from 2007 ($97.5M), and Universal and Marvel’s The Incredible Hulk from 2008 ($97.1M).  The Marvel heroes all finished in the $130-135M range while Academy Award Nominated Director Christopher Nolan‘s Caped Crusader reboot had good legs and topped $200M.  Given the public’s rejection of Green Lantern, and Tuesday night’s arrival of Paramount‘s Transformers: Dark of the Moon, a lackluster final domestic take of around $120-125M may result.  Overseas results for DC have not been too strong so far.

In its third weekend, the sci-fi thriller Super 8 collected an estimated $12.1M for fourth place.  Off 44%, the $50M Paramount release has taken in a solid $95.2M and may end its run with an impressive $125-135M.  Produced for one-fourth of the budget of Green Lantern and backed by a less costly marketing campaign, Super 8 should end up with a larger domestic gross.

  

20th Century Fox grabbed the next two spots with its latest summer titles.  The Jim Carrey family comedy Mr. Popper’s Penguins held up moderately well in its second weekend despite new competition for kids dropping 44% to an estimated $10.3M.  With $39.4M in ten days, a $70M final seems likely.  The super hero pic X-Men: First Class grossed an estimated $6.6M, down 45%, giving the studio $132.8M to date.

  

R-rated wedding comedies The Hangover Part II and Bridesmaids kept bringing in audiences with estimates of $5.9M and $5.4M, respectively.  The Warner Bros. sequel fell 42% and has banked $243.9M to date while Universal and Apatow‘s sleeper sensation eased by only 24% putting the remarkable total at $146.7M.  Both Bridesmaids and Super 8 have displayed good legs and will be very profitable proving that good filmmaking can often trump lavish marketing at the box office.

  

Rounding out the top ten were two films from opposite ends of the budget spectrum.  Walt Disney and Jerry Bruckheimer‘s pricey 3D fourquel Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides slipped only 29% to an estimated $4.7M boosting the domestic tally to $229.1M.  Academy Award Winning Director Woody Allen‘s modestly priced runaway hit Midnight in Paris dipped by a scant 8% to an estimated $4.5M giving Sony Classics $28.6M to date.  A final gross topping $50M is not out of the question.

  

The top ten films grossed an estimated $166.8M, which was up 8% from last year when Pixar Animation Studios’ Toy Story 3 stayed in the top spot with $59.3M in its second frame; but down 13% from 2009 when DreamWorks Pictures’ Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen opened at number one with $109M.

June 24, 2011 to June 26, 2011 Top Ten

1.   Cars 2

  • $68,000,000
  • Pixar Animation Studios (Disney)

2.   Bad Teacher

  • $31,000,000
  • Columbia Pictures (Sony)

3.   Green Lantern

  • $18,350,000
  • DC Entertainment (Time Warner)

4.   Super 8

  • $12,100,000
  • Paramount Pictures (Viacom)

5.   Mr. Popper’s Penguins

  • $10,300,000
  • 20th Century Fox (Fox)

6.   X-Men: First Class

  • $6,600,000
  • 20th Century Fox (Fox) and Marvel Studios (Disney)

7.   The Hangover Part II

  • $5,865,000
  • Warner Bros. Pictures (Time Warner)

8.   Bridesmaids

  • $5,372,000
  • Universal Pictures (NBC Universal) and Apatow Productions

9.   Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

  • $4,702,000
  • Walt Disney Pictures (Disney) and Jerry Bruckheimer Films

10. Midnight in Paris

  • $4,481,000
  • Sony Pictures Classics (Sony)

June 25, 2010 to June 27, 2010 Top Ten

1.   Toy Story 3

  • $59,338,000
  • Pixar Animation Studios (Disney)

2.   Grown Ups

3.   Knight and Day

  • $20,140,000
  • 20th Century Fox (Fox) and Regency Enterprises

4.   The Karate Kid

  • $15,547,000
  • Columbia Pictures (Sony)

5.   The A-Team

  • $6,204,000
  • 20th Century Fox (Fox)

6.   Get Him to the Greek

  • $3,141,000
  • Universal Pictures (NBC Universal) and Apatow Productions

7.   Shrek Forever After

  • $3,101,000
  • a Paramount release (Viacom)
  • DreamWorks Animation Studios (DreamWorks SKG)

8.   Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

  • $2,846,000
  • a Walt Disney release (Disney)
  • Jerry Bruckheimer Films

9.   Killers

10. Jonah Hex

  • $1,627,000
  • DC Entertainment (Time Warner)

June 26, 2009 to June 28, 2009 Top Ten

1.   Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

  • $108,966,000
  • DreamWorks Pictures (Viacom)

2.   The Proposal

3.   The Hangover

  • $17,022,000
  • Warner Bros. Pictures (Time Warner)

4.   Up

  • $13,062,000
  • Pixar Animation Studios (Disney)

5.   My Sister’s Keeper

6.   Year One

  • $6,022,000
  • Columbia Pictures (Sony) and Apatow Productions

7.   The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3

8.   Star Trek

9.   Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian

  • $3,644,000
  • 20th Century Fox (Fox)

10. Away We Go

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~ by Matt Whitfield on June 28, 2011.

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