Audiences kept showing up for Monsters University which remained the number one film in North America for a second frame. But in the battle of the sexes with a pair of new star-driven action-comedies opening, the ladies easily beat out the boys as the cop flick The Heat with Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy debuted in second by overperforming while the Channing Tatum-Jamie Foxx attack pic White House Down fell below expectations landing in fourth. But with incredible breadth in the marketplace – driven by numerous summer staple action offerings – the weekend saw five different films earn over $20M each over the frame. It was the first time all year this had happened.
Pixar enjoyed its best second weekend hold in four years with its current blockbuster Monsters University which slipped only 44% after a massive opening to an estimated $46.2M. That was better than the 49% of last year’s Brave, the 60% of Cars 2 from 2011, and even the 46% of 2010’s megasmash Toy Story 3. All of these films opened in mid-June. The last time Pixar did better was with 2009’s Up – the animation leader’s first 3D pic – which launched in late May and then slipped only 35% in its sophomore session.
After ten days, Monsters has grossed a sizable $171M and is running 30% ahead of Brave and 46% ahead of Cars 2. Mike and Sulley have a shot at reaching $300M domestically thanks to great word-of-mouth, schools now being out, and the Independence Day holiday coming up this week. However, Disney will have intense competition from a super villain starting Tuesday night when Universal’s Despicable Me 2 launches with what should be a gigantic holiday bow, and maybe even good legs of its own. The Mouse House will also give itself competition with its big-budget Johnny Depp adventure The Lone Ranger. Both tentpoles start with 7:00pm showtimes this Tuesday.
Still, Monsters University is raking in the dough here and around the world as the global tally broke the $300M mark Sunday thanks to an international weekend of $44.2M pushing the overseas cume up to $129.3M from 37 markets. Taiwan and The Philippines both had openings this weekend that were bigger than Toy Story 3’s and Japan will launch next weekend.
Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy both enjoyed the biggest opening weekends of their careers with the new hit action-comedy The Heat which pulled in an estimated $40M capturing second place impressively. The R-rated cop buddy pic averaged a sensational $12,575 from 3,181 locations for Fox. It was the latest chapter in the meteoric rise of McCarthy who has quickly become one of the most bankable actresses in Hollywood. In February, her R-rated comedy Identity Thief bowed to $34.6M while 2011’s breakout ensemble hit Bridesmaids debuted to $26.2M ahead of a leggy run.
Since winning an Oscar in 2010, Bullock has been mostly absent from the big screen so audiences were very eager to see these two leading ladies. And the gender twist on the male-dominated cop buddy formula brought something new and intriguing to the table. Reviews were relatively good too. Studio research indicated a heavy skew towards adult women with females making up 65% of the crowd while 67% were over 25. The CinemaScore was a solid A- and with no compelling live-action comedies coming for a while, and the potential to broaden the audience to males with positive buzz, the road ahead for The Heat looks promising.
Brad Pitt’s zombie actioner World War Z fell 55% in its second weekend to an estimated $29.8M lifting the cume to a stellar $123.7M. Given how quickly films from this genre erode on the sophomore session, and the incoming competition from new star-driven action pictures, the decline was respectable. Paramount could find its way to the $190-200M range with this one which would make it Pitt’s top-grossing film ever beating the $186.3M of Mr. & Mrs. Smith in 2005 – another June action title.
Another hunk trying to headline a summer action movie was Channing Tatum who headlined White House Down (along with Jamie Foxx) which opened to somewhat soft results in fourth place with an estimated $25.7M. The PG-13 thriller from Roland Emmerich about terrorists who attack the President’s home averaged $7,976 from 3,222 and came in below the $30.4M debut of March’s Olympus Has Fallen which offered the same plot. But Down opened in the prime summer period, had more starpower, more marketing muscle, and carried a more commercially-friendly rating so the fact that it opened weaker was disappointing. Plus Tatum anchored three very different films debuting north of $35M just last year.
Reviews were lukewarm which didn’t help and the presentation of the film as sort of a buddy action-comedy with a U.S. President being funny instead of serious seemed odd. A marketplace crowded with plenty of other action choices made seeing a second White-House-under-siege flick this year unappealing for many consumers, especially since Olympus had legs and was well-liked. Studio research showed that the gender split was very even with males making up 51% thanks to the sex appeal of the leads. 61% were over 25. But the A- CinemaScore and holiday week ahead could prove helpful to White House Down over the coming weeks.
After a hefty sophomore slide, the super hero tentpole Man of Steel stabilized in its third round falling an acceptable 50% to an estimated $20.8M. A decent hold given the arrival of two new action titles, the Warner Bros. pic has now amassed an impressive $248.7M and still has a good shot at reaching $300M, especially with the lucrative holiday week coming. Worldwide it broke $500M on its way to possibly $750M or more. The weekend saw a healthy $52.2M offshore boosting the overseas take to $271.7M for General Zod and the global gross to $520.4M with Japan and Brazil still to come.
Holding up well again was the doomsday comedy This is the End with an estimated $8.7M, off 35%, for a $74.7M total for Sony. The sleeper hit Now You See Me cracked the $100M mark over the weekend in its fifth round thanks to good word-of-mouth. The Lionsgate release dipped 30% to an estimated $5.5M upping the sum to $104.7M for the magician heist pic.
Universal’s action sequel Fast & Furious 6 followed with an estimated $2.4M, down 51%, and a $233.3M domestic total and amazing $682M worldwide haul. Sci-fi hit Star Trek Into Darkness declined by a good 36% to an estimated $2M and has banked $220.5M for Paramount. Global sum is now $438.1M.
Rounding out the top ten was a tie with the comedy underachiever The Internship with an estimated $1.4M, down 58%, and a $41.7M cume for Fox. Estimating the same amount was Disney with its super hero smash Iron Man 3 which dipped 37% for $405.4M to date. It climbed up to number 14 on the list of all-time domestic blockbusters right behind The Hunger Games.
The top ten films grossed an estimated $182.6M which was down 4% from last year when Ted opened at number one with $54.4M; and off 2% from 2011 when Transformers: Dark of the Moon debuted in the top spot with $97.9M over three days as part of an extended $180.7M holiday week debut.