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Box Office: ‘Monsters’ & ‘World War Z’ Zombies Beat Back ‘Man Of Steel’; ‘Monsters U’ Registers 2nd Highest Pixar Opening

Box Office: 'Monsters' & 'World War Z' Zombies Beat Back 'Man Of Steel'; 'Monsters U' Registers 2nd Highest Pixar Opening

Monsters University aced its opening weekend with an estimated $82 million domestically ($136.5 million worldwide), making the film Pixar‘s second largest debut (after “Toy Story 3,” which made $110.3 million its opening weekend). This will also be Pixar’s 14th film to open in first place and marks one heck of a winning streak. If you’re struggling to remember all of the other 13, check out our “From Worst To Best: Ranking The Pixar Movies.” If you remember them a little too vividly, check out our “The 5 Worst Things About Pixar.” Back to the movie, “Monsters University” is a prequel to “Monsters, Inc.” (which made $62.4 million its opening weekend) about the college years of Mike (voiced by Billy Crystal) and Sully (voiced by John Goodman). Check out our review here. With kid-friendly college-themed humor and the magic of Disney, this is an entertaining film for the whole family and sure does it show at the box office. It also helped that Disney went full court press with massive advertising and social media campaigns, including the rather cute Tumblr page of a “MU Sophomore.” With no competition for the “G-rated, fun for all ages” niche until “Despicable Me 2″ opens on July 3rd, “Monsters University” looks like it’s set to stay on for a few more semesters, ahem, weeks, and rake in at the box office.

In a not-so-shabby second, “World War Z far exceeded expectations and made an estimated $66 million. Based off of the Max Brooks bestseller, “World War Z” is about a worldwide zombie apocalypse and stars Brad Pitt as a former UN investigator who is recruited to help eradicate the zombie plague. Check our review out here. “World War Z” also marks the biggest opening of Brad Pitt’s career, not adjusting for inflation as Nikki Finke pointed out. With the combination of a “troubled production,” the not-so-great press surrounding that, and managing to pop up at six theaters around the country within 36 hours, actor/co-producer Brad Pitt must be exhausted, and with this strong of an opening, he can rest somewhat at ease. “World War Z” looks to be raking in a lot from overseas markets as well, with 30% of the international market, or $45.8 million, in 25 territories.

Falling more than 65% from its opening weekend but still up in the air at third, “Man of Steel had a strong second weekend with $41 million and is the fifth film of the year to cross the $200 million mark domestically, with $210.6 million so far. Also in its second week and in fourth, “This Is The End” made an okay $13 million with a running total of $57.8 million. In its fourth week and the fifth spot, “Now You See Me” is still being seen, making $7.9 million this weekend and possibly a weekend away from hitting the $100 million mark. In its fifth weekend, “Fast & Furious 6″ is in the rather apropos sixth spot, making $4.7 million. After two weeks, “The Internship” keeps fumbling with the coffee in seventh place, making $3.4 million. Right behind with $13k less, “The Purge” is in eighth with $3.4 million. Rounding out the top ten are two steady placeholders: “Star Trek Into Darkness” made $3 million in its sixth weekend and “Iron Man 3″ made $2.2 million in its eighth weekend, crossing the $400 million mark domestically.

As for specialty box office, The Weinstein Company-produced “Unfinished Song” hit a high note. The Paul Andrew Williams-directed choral dramedy starring Terence Stamp and Vanessa Redgrave, “Unfinished Song” opened in two theaters and made $27,692, averaging $13,846 per theater. In its second week and again in the second spot, Morgan Neville’s “20 Feet From Stardom” made $74,682 at six theaters (expanding from three), averaging $10,780 per theater. Another debut, Ziad Doueiri’s Israel-set drama “The Attack,” made $26,352 at three theaters, averaging $8,784 per theater. Also with a violent-sounding title and opening this weekend, Tobias Lindholm’s “A Hijacking” about Somali pirates made $42,500 at seven theaters, averaging $6,071. In big specialty box office news, Noah Baumbach’s “Frances Ha” has made over $3 million in its sixth weekend and Jeff Nichols’Mud” has made over $20 million after nine weeks, making it not only the highest grossing film from Roadside Attractions but also the second indie film of the year to cross the $20 million mark (first being “The Place Beyond The Pines”).

1. Monsters University (Buena Vista) – $82,000,000
2. World War Z (Paramount) – $66,000,000

3. Man Of Steel (Warner Bros.) – $41,215,000 ($210,006,000)
4. This Is The End (Sony) – $13,000,000 ($57,792,000)
5. Now You See Me (Lionsgate) – $7,870,000 ($94,451,000)
6. Fast & Furious 6 (Universal) – $4,725,000 ($228,413,000)
7. The Internship (Fox) – $3,425,000 ($38,365,000)
8. The Purge (Universal) – $3,412,000 ($59,428,000)
9. Star Trek Into Darkness (Paramount) – $3,000,000 ($216,611,000)
10. Iron Man 3 (Buena Vista) – $2,175,000 ($403,120,000)

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