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Cars 2: 5 Things to Know About the Pixar Sequel

Cars 2
Disney/Pixar

The toon is expected to earn at least $50 million in theaters this weekend despite receiving mixed reviews.

1. It's receiving very mixed reviews (35 "rotten reviews" on Rotten Tomatoes, and only 22 "fresh" or positive ones) -- but expected to make at least $50 million this weekend. And its licensed product sales are forecast to come in above Toy Story 3's $2.8 billion. "Kids don't read the reviews; parents don't care as long as kids are happy,"  Barton Crockett, entertainment analyst at Lazard Capital, tells the New York Post. "Kids love Cars; they want this stuff whether critics like the movie or not."

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2. It cost $200 million to make, so will have to do robust business worldwide to earn that back. The first Cars, released in June 2006, cumed $244.1 million domestically and $217.9 million internationally.

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3. Cars 2 has the potential to do bigger business overseas than its predecessor for several reasons. The film 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).

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4. Pixar CEO John Lasseter returned to the director’s chair for the first time since Cars to direct the sequel.

5. Even though 3D is struggling, Cars 2 should benefit from the 3D boom in key foreign markets including Russia, Brazil and Mexico, where the toon debuts this weekend as well.