Box Office: 'Cars 2' Zooms Away with $25.7 Mil on Friday

5:51 PM PST 06/24/2011 by Pamela McClintock
Disney/Pixar

UPDATED: Pixar sequel is looking at a $67 million-$70 million weekend; Cameron Diaz's R-rated comedy "Bad Teacher" also overperforms.

Signaling a key victory for Pixar and Disney, Cars 2 earned an estimated $25.7 million at the Friday box office, putting it on course to gross as much as $67 million to $70 million for the weekend.

There had been concern that the sequel wouldn’t be able to match the $60.1 million grossed by the original Cars. Now, Cars 2 is looking to score one of the best debuts of 2011 domestically.

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The news was good all the way around in what’s looking to be a boom weekend at the box office.

Sony’s new entry Bad Teacher opened to an estimated $12.1 million on Friday for a possible $30 million weekend. The movie, starring Cameron Diaz, Jason Segel and Justin Timberlake, is the latest R-rated comedy to prosper at the box office.

Moviegoers gave the R-rated comedy a C+. Of those buying tickets, 60% were over the age of 25, while females made up 60% of the audience.

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Sony is already on good standing financially, considering Bad Teacher cost just $20 million to produce.

Cars 2 was a much more expensive proposition, with its production budget pegged at $200 million.

Pixar CEO John Lasseter returned to the director’s chair for the first time since the original Cars to direct Cars 2, which is drawing mixed reviews, unusual for a Pixar title.

Audiences, however, swooned over the 3D toon, which received an A- CinemaScore.

Cars 2 is set this time not in rural America, but in London, Paris and Tokyo, where Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) and Mater (Larry the Cable Guy) travel to compete in the World Grand Prix.

Mater, however, gets swept up in an international espionage case and meets a new set of friends and enemies, including the James Bond-like Finn McMissile (Michael Caine), Holley Shiftwell (Emily Mortimer) and Francesco Bernoulli (John Turturro).

Coming in No. 3 after Cars 2 and Bad Teacher at the Friday box office was Warner Bros.’ Ryan Reynolds superhero pic Green Lantern, which fell a steep 72% from its opening Friday to $6 million. The pic’s domestic cume is now $77 million.

Paramount’s Super 8 held in nicely, grossing an estimated $3.8 million on its third Friday for a cume of $86.8 million and coming in No. 4 for the day.

Jim Carrey family film Mr. Popper’s Penguins placed No. 5 on its second Friday, grossing $3.7 million for a cume of $32.8 million.

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