Box Office: Monsters University Still #1, But The Heat Was On Fire As It Burned White House Down

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Watch out! That next shot is a doozy.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Pixar’s Monsters University retained its #1 spot with an estimated $46.2 million to bring its domestic total to $171 million. Not bad, but considering it’s the only new summer release in the market place that is specifically geared for kids then the two-week figure isn’t a shocker. Let’s see how it fares with the arrival of Universal Pictures’ Despicable Me 2 and Disney’s The Lone Ranger this Fourth of July weekend. While I’ve only seen one of the two releases, and I can’t give my official review until its opening date, I will say that it is very drawn out (what’s with Hollywood and needing new releases be 130 minutes-plus in length?) but with a big action sequence set to a familiar tune, or overture if you will.

Coming in second place was Fox’s attempt at making an R-rated Cagney & Lacey with Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy in the starring roles. Paul Feig’s follow-up to Bridesmaids, The Heat was originally set to open back in April, but the suits at Fox pushed it to summer due to incredible test screenings, where it was rating off the charts. It seems like the decision to push to summer was a smart move as the comedy opened to $40 million. That figure is a new personal best for Bullock and McCarthy. Bullock’s previous biggest opener was The Blind Side ($34.5 million) for which she went on to win the Oscar for Best Actress. McCarthy scored a $34.6 opener this spring with Identity Thief. As much as our beloved Scott Sawitz would like nothing more than to see less of Melissa McCarthy, it looks like she’s here to stay. And before the film even opened there were discussions for a sequel. This also doesn’t jive with Scott’s feelings about the movie. In 140 characters or less, he expressed that “The Heat is so awful that anyone who thinks it, or Melissa McCarthy, is funny is banned from movies.” Don’t think that’s going to happen either.

I caught The Heat at an early bird showing on Sunday and I didn’t find it all that bad, as compared to my compadre. Though Sandra Bullock’s character did look like the stuffed-suit version doppleganger of her Miss Congeniality character. As for McCarthy, I don’t know why they need to draw humor from the clothing attire her fictional personas wears. Too much of a cheap punchline, as is par the course with the characters she plays. As for the movie itself, it was a 30-minute situational comedy drawn out to be a two-hour comedy film. Some of the exchanges work better than others, and I even cracked a few smiles a time or two. The biggest was probably at a poorly timed pun. Maybe it’s because I make a lot of bad ones. It’s true. Also, the appearance of Marlon Wayans as an FBI agent gave me bad memories of White Chicks. Hopefully in the sequel they don’t have Bullock and McCarthy as white chicks be disguised as black chicks. Though that would set off one of the biggest racially insensitive firestorms in Hollywood that now I do want to see this. Can’t be any worse than Jim Carrey’s hypocrisy when it comes to doing a movie and shying away from promoting the film because the violence it portrays goes against his moral fiber when it comes to guns and violence. Read Scott’s Monday Morning Critic column for more on this story.

Still performing above its “It’s got disaster written all over it” expectations, Paramount’s World War Z added another $29.8 million over the weekend to bring its global total to $259 million. It’s still got a long way to go before the studio sees any green. People like zombies, but do they like them to the point to get this film over $500 million worldwide? The smart money is to watch some classic zombie movies or maybe spring for The Last of Us on PS3. A better time would be had.

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F-U Gravity!

The other big new release was Sony’s White House Down. Opening in a distant fourth place with $25.7 million, Roland Emmerich’s “Die Hard at the White House” film (the second to be released this year, behind Olympus Has Fallen), has Channing Tatum in the Gerard Butler role and an unchained Django taking the President role over Two Face, Aaron Eckhart. Next to Michael Bay nobody does destruction and calamity like Roland Emmerich. The director behind Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow and 2012 (not to forget Stargate, but let’s overlook 10,000 B.C.), he’s got a track record for blowing things up. WHD is more subdued to the destruction we’ve seen before. And as an about face, it appears that this is one of the few times that a film released the same year with a similar theme (think Deep Impact vs. Armageddon) doesn’t outperform the former. Olympus Has Fallen opened in the spring with $30.3 million. With the poor U.S. opening expect Sony to go on the offensive and have Tatum and Foxx on a massive publicity campaign as they kowtow to the press and make appearances at foreign premieres. What’s funny is that Scott made a Facebook comment that “White House Down is dull and mediocre, this year’s version of Shooter in reaction.” The funny part is that Olympus Has Fallen helmer Antoine Fuqua also directed Shooter.

Fifth place went to Man of Steel with $20.8 million. The famed DC Comics superhero’s performance over the weekend was enough to give it a running toal of $248 million, which also makes it the second highest-grossing film of 2013 so far, behind Iron Man 3‘s $405 million. With the arrival of The Heat audiences looking for some R-rated comedy fun bypassed This Is the End, which dropped to sixth place with $8.7 million. As early summer sleeper hit, Now You See Me crossed the $100 million mark, having made $5.5 million over the weekend. May holdovers Fast & Furious 6 and Star Trek Into Darkness are hanging on by threads (expect one or both to disappear from the Top 10 this time next week). Finally in tenth place we have The Internship (aka “Google Crashers”). Seriously, somebody get a hold of Vince Vaughn’s and Owen Wilson’s agents. They need better scripts.

Duking it out this Fourth of July we have, as stated earlier, Despicable Me 2 and The Lone Ranger, plus the new Kevin Hart concert film Let Me Explain. With Explain playing on 800 screens it won’t be able to contend with DM2 or The Lone Ranger, both of which will play on more than 3700 screens. It may however have a higher per-screen average. When Hart’s last concert film opened in September 2011 on 98 screens, Laugh at My Pain, its per-screen was $19,474. That total was much larger than the other high profile films opening that weekend, Contagion and Warrior.


Weekend Box-Office Top Ten for June 28 – June 30, 2013

1. Monsters University (Disney/Pixar) – $46.18 MILLION ($171 mil. cume)

2. The Heat (Fox) – $40 MILLION

3. World War Z (Paramount) – $29.8 MILLION ($123.7 mil. cume)

4. White House Down (Sony) – $25.7 MILLION

5. Man of Steel (Warner Bros.) – $20.8 MILLION ($248.6 mil. cume)

6. This Is the End (Sony) – $8.7 MILLION ($74.6 mil. cume)

7. Now You See Me (Lionsgate/Summit Entertainment) – $5.5 MILLION ($104.6 mil. cume)

8. Fast & Furious 6 (Universal) – $2.4 MILLION ($233.3 mil. cume)

9. Star Trek Into Darkness (Paramount) – $2 MILLION ($220.5 mil. cume)

10. The Internship (Fox) – $1.425 MILLION ($41.7 mil. cume)

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