'Toy Story 3' kicks 'Karate Kid' from top spot

Film is Pixar's best opening weekend ever; 'Hex' sinks at b.o.

Like kids ripping the wrapping paper off of a present, moviegoers rushed to Disney's "Toy Story 3" this weekend as Pixar's newest hit rang up an estimated $109 million.

Playing in 4,028 theaters, the further animated adventures of Woody, Buzz and the gang, this time in 3-D, posted the best opening weekend for a Pixar movie ever, leap-frogging the $70.5 million that "The Incredibles" posted in 2004.

Its slightly-frontloaded Friday gross of $41 million was the top opening day for an animated movie, besting the $39.4 million that "Shrek the Third" rang up in 2007, although "Toy" stopped short of setting a new weekend opening record for an animated movie, which the third "Shrek" still holds with $121.6 million.

With 11 number one openings for its 11 movies, Pixar's track record remains unbroken. "That kind of streak is unbeatable," Chuck Viane, Disney domestic distribution president, said. "They're the greatest story-tellers around. (Director) Lee Unkrich found a way to take everyone's best friends, Woody and Buzz," and deliver the goods like crazy."

On the other hand, audiences treated "Jonah Hex" like the proverbial lump of coal. The PG-13 rated DC Comics adaptation, produced by Warners and Legendary and starring Josh Brolin as an avenging Civil War vet, took in just $5.1 million from 2,825 locations. That added up to a dismal eighth place debut.

Still, Hollywood appears to have snapped out of the boxoffice doldrums that becalmed ticket sales in May.

Even though families were flocking to "Toy Story," Sony's "The Karate Kid" held on respectably in its second weekend. Falling 48%, it easily captured the second spot as it pulled in an additional $29 million and saw its domestic tally rise to $106 million after its first 10 days.

Fox's "The A-Team," muscling through its second weekend, fell just 46% as it captured $13.8 million as its domestic cume closed in on the $50 million mark.

All together, the weekend's top 10 movies corralled $179.2 million, up 28% from the $139.8 million that the top 10 amassed during the comparable weekend last year when "The Proposal" was the number one film with an opening weekend of $33.6 million.

Fox used Saturday night to publicly sneak the Tom Cruise-Cameron Diaz caper "Knight and Day" into 500 locations in the U.S. and Canada, where moviegoers snapped up 85% of the available tickets. According to Fox distribution exec Chris Aronson, "The response was nothing short of sensational, which was very gratifying."

"Knight" enters national release on Wednesday, giving it a jump on next weekend's other wide-opener, Sony's "Grown Ups," starring Adam Sandler and his posse.

The specialty films front also showed encouraging signs of life.

Fox Searchlight launched its dysfunctional family comedy "Cyrus," directed by the Duplass brothers, in four theaters, and the movie, starring John C. Reilly, Jonah Hill and Marisa Tomei, drew $180,289 for a whopping per-theater gross of $45,072.

Searchlight had originally scheduled the film for July, but moved it when it saw an opening in the current calendar, and Searchlight co-head Stephen Gilula said, "We're very excited by evidence of strong counter-programming against the big wide releases." "Cyrus" will move into six more cities next weekend as it gradually expands into a national release of 300 to 500 theaters by July 16.

Magnolia introduced Luca Guadagnino's Milan-set drama "I Am Love," starring Tilda Swinton, on eight screens, where it was greeted with $125,00 for a per-screen average of $12,625.

Reliance Big Pictures' "Raavan," starring Indian beauty Aishwarya Rai, attracted $551,375 in 119 locations for a per-theater average of $4,633.

The doc "8: The Mormon Proposition," from new distributor Red Flag Releasing, assembled $48,181 on 16 screens for a per-screen average of $3,011.

Roadside Attractions' "Winter's Bone" reported a per-screen average of $8,910 as it expanded during its second weekend onto 38 screens, building its cume to $461,812.

Now in its tenth weekend, Sony Pictures Classics' "The Secrets in Their Eyes," the foreign-language Oscar winner, closed in on the $5 million mark.

If its weekend estimate holds -- and some competitors felt Disney was being conservative -- "Toy" can claim the biggest June opening ever, trumping the $108.97 million that "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" bowed to last year.

It's already the third $100-million opening of 2010, and, corporately, Disney noted, it's had a hand in all three, having released "Alice in Wonderland" to $116.1 million earlier this year, while its new subsidiary Marvel pulled off a $128.1 million opening for "Iron Man 2," which Paramount distributed.

"Toy" benefited from a strong want-to-see. Cinemascore polling, which rewarded it with an A, found that 54% of the audience wanted to see it right away, which accounted for the rush to theaters on Friday. While the opening day audience was 54% female, the division of the sexes shifted to 50/50 as the weekend progressed. Fifty-four percent of the audience was under 25, but that still meant a lot of over-25s, probably remembering the first two "Toy" movies from their own childhood, headed to the multiplex.

That was borne out by the movie's Imax showings. Playing 180 large-format screens in North America, "Toy" sold $8.4 million worth of tickets -- 8% of its overall business -- becoming the most successful animated opening for Imax by beating out "Monsters vs. Aliens," which bowed to $5.1 million last year.

"Our evening business was very strong," noted Greg Foster, head of Imax. "Sometimes, with animation, you hit the wall when it comes to the after-6 p.m. screenings, but that didn't happen here, which is why the movie went the distance."

Rounding out the top 10, Universal's comedy "Get Him to the Greek" was fourth with $6.1 million.

In fifth place, Paramount's release of DreamWorks Animations' "Shrek Forever After" picked up another $5.5 million as its domestic total climbed to nearly $223 million.

Disney's "Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time" was sixth as it found another $5.3 million.

Lionsgate's "Killers" ranked seventh with $5.1 million.

"Iron Man 2," in ninth place, found $2.7 million and a new total of $305 million, and squeezing into tenth place, "Marmaduke" also was close to $2.7 million.
comments powered by Disqus