Box Office: Monsters University Nets Pixar Its Second-Best Opening, World War Z Finishes #2

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Sadly, Dorm Disco Night didn’t make it into Monsters University.

This weekend was just insane if you headed out to the movies for some cheap entertainment. But that all depends if you got an early-bird ticket, skipped the concession stand and went with 2D instead of 3D. Not all people went that route, however, so it was extremely big business for the major theaters with two hot new releases, each one offering enough competition in order to achieve the biggest possible quadrant audience possible.

In the end it was Monsters University that aced its final exam winning its opening weekend with an estimated $82 million domestically ($136.5 million worldwide). The total was large enough to become Pixar’s second largest debut, which is right behind Toy Story 3‘s $110.3 opening weekend from June a few years back (last week’s #1, Man of Steel would overtake the successful debut of the third Toy Story installment to become the most successful June release on record).

Not that anyone was clamoring for a prequel to 2001’s Monsters Inc., a prequel they got. As Pixar’s first, the animation giant proved that it was more than capable of delivering in spades. The film received an ‘A’ Cinemascore, and as I remarked to one publicist it combined some of the best elements of college comedies (think Revenge of the Nerds) with a Monsters esthetic. So, essentially, it is “Revenge of the Nerdsters.” Who knew that even in the monster population there were outcasts. I wonder where Bigfoot would place? As per usual, family films always tend to clean up at the box office, because Hollywood knows it is getting at least two tickets purchased (assuming the kid is at the theater with parent in tow) with every kid’s ticket sold. Monsters University was definitely a crowd-pleaser with both kids and adults so that’s a good sign for repeat viewings, either in theaters or with the eventual home video purchase (expect this one out on DVD and Blu-ray in time for Thanksgiving, if not sooner). With at least one more week with no kid-friendly competition, expect MU to be well above $125 million this time next week. Then it will have to contend with Despicable Me 2.

Having read horror stories and accounts of the production hell that was World War Z it definitely exceeded expectations for studio Paramount with an estimated $66 million to finish in second place. With Brad Pitt starring and producing the feature he had a major stake in the production. Sadly, the film material, which is based on the bestselling book by Max Brooks (yep, Mel Brooks’ son), makes a radical change from the book in which is based. Okay, so the only similarities are that they share the same title. Despite the troubled production, the film proved to be the biggest opening of Brad Pitt’s career. Better late than never, am I right? The same thing happened to Tom Cruise with the release of Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol. Granted that was a franchise flick, but Pitt is hoping a sequel is in the cards for WWZ. There’s already been early discussions. Take that information with a grain of salt. With a $220 million production, not including the cost of advertising, Paramount better hope the film has some serious legs overseas. There’s a reason why Pitt has been hitting the circuit hard, promoting the film at international premieres. He wants this to be a hit in the biggest possible way. So far it seems to be working. It has already made $45.8 million in the international market, from 25 territories.

After an impressive opening last week, Man of Steel became a “Man of Bronze,” as it placed third with a $41 million haul. That amount was enough to make MoS become the fifth film of the year to cross the $200 million mark domestically. Also in its second week and in fourth was This Is the End. It made $13 million to bring its total since June 12th to $57.8 million. Still performing strong on word-of-mouth recommendations was Now You See Me, making $7.9 million. By next weekend it will hit the celebrated $100 million mark. Not bad for a summer release that isn’t based on a comic book, or is a sequel. The only things it has going for it is the art of magic and the Zombieland reunion of Jessie Eisenberg and Woody Harrelson. Man, I could totally go for a Zombieland sequel. More so than another WWZ.

In its fifth weekend, Fast & Furious 6 finds itself in sixth spot with $4.7 million. F&F is definitely a force to be reckoned with. Worldwide it is closing in on $650 million globally. That’s just insane for the fifth sequel in a franchise. The Internship keeps partying like its 2005 with audiences thinking Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson as “Google Crashers” is a brilliant idea. I still think Vaughn should pump the breaks career-wise only to show up in a David Mamet or Quentin Tarantino movie or something in the next few years. Almost neck and neck with The Internship was the horror cheapie The Purge (#8). The final placeholders of the top ten are two May blockbuster holdovers: Star Trek Into Darkness with $3 Million and Iron Man 3 with $2.2 million. IM3 is also in select company, becoming just the 17th film to make more than $400 million domestically.

Turning attention to the specialty side of the box office, Weinstein Company newcomer Unfinished Song starring Terence Stamp opened in two theaters and made $27,692. The entertaining doc 20 Feet From Stardom made $74,682 at six locations. The Magnolia release, Tobias Lindholm’s A Hijacking, about Somali pirates made $42,500 at seven theaters. And if you haven’t seen Mud, well it made a little bit of history becoming just the second independent this year to gross more than $20 million. The other is The Place Beyond the Pines.


Weekend Box-Office Top Ten for June 21 – June 23, 2013

1. Monsters University (Disney/Pixar) – $82 MILLION

2. World War Z (Paramount) – $66 MILLION

3. Man of Steel (Warner Bros.) – $41.2 MILLION ($210 mil. cume)

4. This Is the End (Sony) – $13 MILLION ($57.8 mil. cume)

5. Now You See Me (Lionsgate/Summit Entertainment) – $7.8 MILLION ($94.5 mil. cume)

6. Fast & Furious 6 (Universal) – $4.7 MILLION ($228 mil. cume)

7. The Internship (Fox) – $3.425 MILLION ($38.3 mil. cume)

8. The Purge (Universal) – $3.412 MILLION ($59.4 mil. cume)

9. Star Trek Into Darkness (Paramount) – $3 MILLION ($216.6 mil. cume)

10. Iron Man 3 (Disney) – $2.1 MILLION ($403 mil. cume)

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