With two new monster hits combining to take in nearly $150M alone, the North American box office exploded this weekend with the top 10 grossing $226M becoming the second highest grossing weekend of the year and one of the top grossing weekends of all time.
Leading the way in the now traditional mid-June slot was the Disney/Pixar prequel Monsters University which grossed an estimated $82M this weekend, becoming the second highest opening for all Pixar films behind only 2010’s Toy Story 3 which opened to $110M. Pixar films for the most part have opened in the $60-70M range as 8 of their now 14 releases have hit that mark. All 14 films by the way have opened #1 during their first weekend of wide release. Monsters University tapped into the love for the Monsters characters which were launched way back in 2001 with Monsters Inc. which opened to $62.5M on its way to a lifetime total of $255.8M. Monsters Inc. was only the 4th Pixar release so not only did Monsters University use the nostalgia pop for their own characters, they were able to use over a decade of goodwill for the Pixar brand itself. Monsters U. also opened in 35 territories internationally and took in an additional $54.5M for a worldwide total of $136.5M so far. And with an ‘A’ CinemaScore from viewers, look for the family film to eat up box office receipts the rest of the summer.
Second place belonged to a different kind of monster as Paramount unleased the zombie flick World War Z to impressive results. The Brad Pitt starrer took in an estimated $66M this weekend, crushing industry expectations. Bad buzz had circled the film for months after word got out the entire third act was being re-filmed, but audiences didn’t care as they gave the film a solid ‘B+’ CinemaScore grade and obviously came out in droves to get a taste of Pitt and the zombies. Z now becomes Pitt’s highest opening weekend soundly defeating 2005’s Mr. & Mrs. Smith (co-starring Angelina Jolie) which opened to $50.3M on its way to $186.3M, currently Pitt’s highest grossing film overall. Internationally World War Z has amassed $46M for a worldwide total to date of $112M with many territories still to open.
Third place belonged to Man of Steel which fell an understandable 65% from its record-breaking opening last weekend to an estimated $41.2M bringing its cume to $210M, or, $10M more than Superman Returns made in its entire run. While Man of Steel fell a little bit harder than anticipated considering the largely positive reviews and obvious audience response, it still has a good chance of hitting the $300M mark. In fourth place was the R-rated comedy This is the End which fell a slim 37% to an estimated $13M bringing its cume to $57.8M, with the $100M milestone still within range.
In fifth place was arguably the surprise hit of the summer, Now You See Me, which took in $7.9M this weekend, according to estimates, for a total gross of $94.4M, within ear shot of the $100M club. Remarkable for a film that had almost zero buzz coming into the summer season. Sixth place belonged to a film everyone had heard of, Fast & Furious 6 which took an another $4.7M this weekend, according to estimates, bringing its cume to $228M.
Comedy flop The Internship landed in seventh this weekend with an estimated $3.4M, bringing its total to a disappointing $38M. It’ll be lucky to even hit its production budget of $58M by the end of its run. On the opposite end of the spectrum was another surprise hit, the horror-thriller The Purge which took in an estimated $3.4M this weekend bringing its total to an impressive $59M, off of a budget of only $3M. While star power certainly helps some films, this summer people are also lining up for concepts they like.
Rounding out the top 10 were two expected smashes in Star Trek Into Darkness (estimated $3M this weekend for a total of $216.6M) and Iron Man 3 which added an additional $2.2M to its already overflowing coffers, bringing its total up to a remarkable $403.1M. It now stands at #15 on the all-time list, just a hair behind fellow Marvel superhero Spider-Man.
Outside of the top 10 The Bling Ring expanded to 650 theaters and grossed an estimated $2M for a somewhat disappointing $3,077 per screen average. The expansion was actually poorer than the last major release from studio A24, Spring Breakers, which went wide in March and had a per screen average of $4,401. That film ended up with a $14M total gross.
The top ten films grossed $226.8M which was up a stellar 49% from last year when Brave opened at number one with $66.3M; and up 38% from 2011 when Cars 2 debuted in the top spot with $66.1M.