Inside Pulse Box Office Report: Sheriff Woody Puts a Hex on Jonah

(Note: This photo was taken just as Sheriff Woody was told that Toy Story 3 went to infinity and beyond its competition at the box office.)

It should come as no surprise that Toy Story 3 was the top-grossing feature for the weekend. The film was Pixar’s eleventh straight to finish in the top position. Since it had happened ten times previously, where it would place was never in doubt. The question was how much it would make. For this Father’s Day weekend, the movie shattered records previously set by Pixar’s The Incredibles and Finding Nemo, both of which had $70 million openings. Toy Story 3 finished the weekend with an estimated $109 million in ticket sales. Compare that to its predecessor from eleven years ago, Toy Story 2, which made $57 million in 1999 dollars. Sure, 3D screenings contributed to the $109 million, but this is just an example of Pixar’s brand name recognition. Pixar is a mark of quality, appealing to numerous demographics. The studio has failed to disappoint, and it’s at a point now where people start to speculate on if a new release will be “great,” instead of being “just good.” With a 91 rating on Metacritc, currently the best performing film of 2010, the film looks to challenge Finding Nemo as the best performing Pixar release to date. (Finding Nemo had a domestic gross of $339.7 million in 2003.)

Dropping to second this weekend was The Karate Kid, a surprise blockbuster with its $56 million opening last week. Despite its 52% drop, its box office now sits at $105 million versus a budget of $40 million. The suits at Sony are no doubt pleased. A sequel is already being planned as story pitch sessions ensue. While no-one was clamoring for The Karate Kid to be remade, this is clearly a case where it was the right remake at the right time. Generally favorable reviews by critics and a strong audience response (translation: cha-ching), you can guarantee that Sony will try to replicate its success. If anyone from Sony reads my review of The Karate Kid, a Yao Ming appearance would pay huge dividends in China. Trust me.

Sadly, The A-Team is performing below studio expectations. Years in development with John Singleton and Ice Cube (as Baracus) attached at one point, not to mention eleven writers taking a crack at the script, the $110 million version of the ’80s TV show has only made $49 million to date. There was definitely a plan, because it has great chemistry among the four leads, but it clearly did not come together in the minds of the audience who weren’t swayed by a parachuting tank or an A/C unit falling on top of the vintage black van with red stripe. Next week, another 20th Century Fox actioneer, Knight and Day with Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz, hopes to perform much better. Sadly, I’ve seen Knight and Day and was underwhelmed. And this is coming from a guy who is generally pleased with the films James Mangold has directed (3:10 to Yuma, Walk the Line, and Cop Land).

Even though The A-Team will probably fail to crack the $100 million mark in the U.S./Canada, it isn’t nearly the colossal dud that Warner Bros. has on its hands with Jonah Hex. With a budget that I hear is rumored around $80 million, it only made $5.2 million. That’s strike three for Megan Fox, after starring in Jennifer’s Body and as a supporting star in How to Lose Friends and Alienate People. If you don’t count People as a strike, how about being booted from Transformers 3? Here again she is a supporting star, yet she was a major part of the marketing campaign. But she got third billing in the end credits after Josh Brolin and John “Scene-chewing” Malkovich. After the bomb that was The Losers, Warner Bros. better think twice before the DC Comics comic it will bring to the big screen next. (Strangely enough, Jeffrey Dean Morgan has been a part of the last three DC Comics movies and they all finished poorly. He’s like the Ted McGinley of movies.)

While not The Hangover-like hit it was expecting, Universal’s Get Him to the Greek adds another $5.7 million, upping its total to $47.5 million to date. Adam Sandler’s Grown Ups is sure to take away some of Greek‘s target audience, but it should remain steady until movies like The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, Inception and Salt bump it so far down the list that it will ultimately be replaced by the next comedy hit (presumably) on the horizon: Dinner for Schmucks, with Steve Carell and Paul Rudd.

Shrek Forever After fell victim of the Disney/Pixar machine this weekend, but with $5.5 million it has amassed a respectable $223 million five weeks into its run. Killers is more than halfway to reaching its $75 million budget, but it won’t reach it so let’s press on. Thank goodness for overseas grosses, because that’s the only way Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time won’t be a gigantic bomb. Overseas it has taken in $200 million versus $80 million to date domestically. In ninth and tenth place, both Marmaduke and Sex and the City 2 prove that nobody cares to see the Sunday funnies made into movies or four broads who don’t realize we are in a recession.

Turning our attention to what is happening with independent cinema, Winter’s Bone has a 300% increase in attendance as it adds 34 new theaters to its run. It has made $338.8k in two weeks. Cyrus the new Duplass brothers’ comedy with John C. Reilly, Marisa Tomei and Jonah Hill finishes just outside the top 20 as it opens on four screens to gross $180.3k. It had the largest per-screen average of any film in the box office chart. Other films making their debuts in art houses across the country include I Am Love, Raavan and 8: The Mormon Proposition.

1. Toy Story 3 $109 million
2. The Karate Kid $28.5 million ($105.7 mil.)
3. The A-Team $13 million ($49 mil.)
4. Get Him to the Greek $5.7 million ($47.5 mil.)
5. Shrek Forever After $5.5 million ($223 mil.)
6. Jonah Hex $5.2 million
7. Killers $5 million ($39.2 mil.)
8. Prince of Persia $5 million ($80.2 mil.)
9. Marmaduke $2.7 million ($27.9 mil.)
10. Sex and the City 2 $2.5 million ($90.2 mil.)

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