After a rousing $41 million Friday, universally praised Pixar sequel Toy Story 3 racked up an estimated $109 million three-day weekend, a record, reports Anthony D’Alessandro. That makes Pixar’s unbroken string of blockbusters 11 for 11. The western Jonah Hex was dead on arrival.
In case you forgot what it felt like to attend a real-summer crowd pleaser in recent weeks, try squeezing into a screening of Walt Disney/Pixar Studios’ Toy Story 3. The follow-up to 1999’s Toy Story 2 blew the hinges off the multiplex doors with a record-breaking three-day take of $109 million at 4,028 venues. Abroad, Toy Story 3 brought in another $44.3 million. Pixar’s 11th release ranked as the second-highest animated domestic opening of all-time, cueing behind Paramount/DreamWorks’ Shrek the Third ($121.6 million) which remains the champ three years after its release in 2007. Toy Story 3 easily becomes the highest opening for a Disney/Pixar film, outstripping 2004’s The Incredibles ($70.5 million) in two days.
Should Toy Story 3’s estimate hold up when actuals are reported, it will be mark the highest 3-day opening in June, beating last summer’s Transformers: The Revenge of the Fallen which made $108.96 million. In the indie market, Fox Searchlight’s Cyrus looks to be the first specialty breakout of the summer, reports indieWIRE.
Meanwhile, Warner Bros.’ big screen adaptation of 1972 DC comic Jonah Hex crashed below its $8-$10 million expectations with $5.1 million in fifth off 2,825 sites; a rarity for a studio known for shepherding graphic novel material to great B.O. heights.
The chart-shattering success of Toy Story 3 reveals that the lackluster theatrical summer marketplace can’t be attributed to moviegoers’ preoccupation with other forms of entertainment or a struggling economy, rather the less than par titles on the marquee (The Karate Kid and Iron Man 2 aside) vying to meet their tastes.
Toy Story 3’s rally not only underscores the theory that sequels are the cornerstones of a healthy summer B.O., but long-awaited sequels to hearty franchises. Toy Story fans have been waiting close to 11 years for this weekend. Should DreamWorks Animation have delayed the release of Shrek Forever After by a number of years? While its first weekend returns were low, the film picked up word-of-mouth as it went along–and so will TS3. The Ty’re timeless and enduring,” says Disney distribution president Chuck Viane on the Toy Story characters longevity. “When I went into the audience it felt like they were watching their friends.”
What also kept the Toy Story brand alive in the last 11 years has been the studio’s relentless merchandising and the successful turnout of the toons’ theme park attractions at the Disney resorts. Toy Story 3’s success is another boon for 3-D, proving that moviegoers have no problem paying as much as $5 more to see an event title. Audience ennui hasn’t set in for 3-D; it just depends on the movie the visual format is associated with. Clearly, animated and tentpole action epics are prime 3-D fare. 60% of Toy Story 3’s tickets were generated from 3-D hubs, the average for wide 3-D releases, while the film‘s 180 IMAX sites grossed a record for an animated film — $8.5 million.
Toy Story 3 drew 56% females on Friday, while Saturday saw a 50/50 split between females and males as more dads were available. 56% of the audience were under 25 years old. Cinemascore was easily A and the Tomatometer at one point over the weekend showed 100% fresh (it’s now 98).
Apply the math formula that most Disney toons make four times their domestic opening in the long run and Toy Story 3 is in for a record run this summer, potentially rivaling the highest grossing animated film of all-time, 2004’s Shrek 2 ($441.2 million).
Going into the weekend, Jonah Hex wasn’t expected to wow. And even though the comic-inspired feature cost from $47 to $65 million (there were reshoots), Jonah Hex continues to serve as a reminder of what’s wrong with a summer box office that has yielded such domestic flops as Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, The A-Team and Marmaduke. Non-sequel titles — especially those hoping to trigger a franchise — face an uphill battle; westerns are even harder, no matter what the season. 64% of those taking in Jonah Hex were male with the overall audience giving the film a C+ Cinemascore.
The unfortunate casualty of Jonah Hex is Megan
JenniferFox. Although she’s in Jonah Hex for about 15 minutes, Fox still had to co-promote the film; her star is not on the rise following her detachment from Transformers 3, not to mention the unimpressive B.O. for horror comedy Jennifer’s Body ($16.2 million). Actually, Jennifer’s Body drew more in its first three days at the box office ($6.9 million) than Jonah Hex. More top-notch analysis at Vulture. Typically, female stars are given less leeway to fail than men. No Country for Old Men and W star Josh Brolin emerges unscathed, with the Coen Brothers‘ True Grit and Barry Levinson‘s Men in Black III still to come.
There was more than enough room for other family titles at theaters as the spillover from Toy Story 3 fell into the auditoriums for Sony’s The Karate Kid, which enjoyed a modest 48% decline, raising its 10-day stateside cume to $106.3 million.
Fox sneaked the Tom Cruise-Cameron Diaz vehicle Knight and Day at 500 locales on Saturday night reporting an 85% capacity sell-out across the board. Studio was pleased reporting positive word-of-mouth and sellouts at both small and large cinemas. Let the buzz begin.
Top Ten Box Office Chart:
1. Toy Story 3: $109 million in its first weekend at 4,028 theaters. $27,061 theater average. Domestic total: $109 million.
2. The Karate Kid (Sony): $29 million in its second weekend down 48% at 3,663 theaters. $7,917 theater average. Domestic total: $106.3 million.
3. The A-Team (Fox): $13.8 million in its second weekend down 46% at 3,544 theaters. $3,887 theater average. Domestic total: $49.8 million.
4. Get Him to the Greek (Universal): $6.1 million in its third weekend down 38% at 2,592 theaters. $2,360 theater average. Domestic total: $47.9 million.
5. Shrek Forever After (Paramount/DreamWorks Animation): $5.52 million in its fifth weekend down 65% at 3,207 theaters. $1,721 theater average. Domestic total: $223 million.
6. Prince of Persia (Disney): $5.3 million in its fourth weekend down 19% at 2,605 theaters. $2,024 theater average. Domestic total: $80.5 million.
7. Killers (Lionsgate): $5.1 million in its third weekend down 36% at 2,619 theaters. $1,946 theater average. Domestic total: $39.4 million.
8. Jonah Hex (Warner Bros.): $5.085 million in its first weekend at 2,825 theaters. $1,800 theater average. Domestic total: $5.085 million.
9. Iron Man 2 (Paramount): $2.675 million down 41% in its seventh weekend at 1,612 theaters. $1,659 theater average. Domestic total: $304 million.
10. Marmaduke (Fox): $2.65 million down 56% in its third weekend at 2,495 theaters. $1,062 theater average. Domestic total: $27.9 million.