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Pixar Wins, but Victory not as Sweet as in Years Past

June 12th, 2006

The weekend went more or less according to plan. Cars won the box office crown with ease, but it just didn't quite earn as much as most had expected. This didn't hurt the overall box office too much as it reached $154 million, up 13.3% from last weekend and more importantly up 6.8% from the same weekend last year. This puts the summer box office even with last year while year-to-date 2006 is up by 3%.

Some might argue that Cars marks the end of Pixar's winning streak, and there is some merit to that statement. After all, Cars did open with $60.1 million, which is $10 million less than its previous two movies and its weakest opening since Toy Story 2. It was also significantly lower than Ice Age: The Meltdown's opening earlier this year. Not only that, but the reviews were the weakest of any Pixar film ever. However, these complaints are more of an indication of the huge expectations surrounding the studio. $60.1 million is still huge and 77% positive is still the best Tomatometer rating in the top five. With strong legs, the film should have no trouble topping $200 million domestically and reach profitability either late in its domestic run or early in its international one.

The Break-Up matched expectations nearly perfectly with $20.3 million, earning an easy second place over the weekend. Overall the film has nearly $74 million and with plenty of life left in it, it should have no problem with hitting $100 million. While it won't become the highest grossing Romantic Comedy, it will climb very high up the charts.

X-Men: The Last Stand recovered nicely this weekend and its $16.1 million was just a rounding error below Friday's prediction. With that, it became the highest grossing movie of 2006 and the first to reach $200 million. That result should also help the film hold onto the vast majority of its theatres for one more weekend and might even be enough to help it over $250 million. Regardless, the film has earned enough to almost cover its production budget domestically and full profitability if you add in the international numbers.

After a massive start on Tuesday, The Omen slumped midweek, losing the top spot on Thursday, and never really recovered. In the end its $16.0 million over the weekend was only good enough for fourth place. Since Tuesday, its total box office is more than twice that number at $36.3 million, meaning this film was incredibly front-loaded, which is a bad sign for its future performance. This result can easily be explained by the hype surrounding the date 6/6/06, on which nothing happened, and the poor reviews.

Rounding out the top five was The Da Vinci Code and not Over the Hedge as expected. However, both films finished within a rounding error of each other with $10.4 million and $10.2 million respectively.

Coming in seventh place was the final new widish release, A Prairie Home Companion. The film earned the best reviews in the top ten but its appeal wasn't mainstream enough as it earned $4.6 million. But that's close enough to Friday's prediction to call it a victory. The film's word-of-mouth should be strong, but not strong enough to help it grow. On the other hand, its legs should be long enough to make the studio happy.

Filed under: Cars, X-Men: The Last Stand, The Da Vinci Code, Over the Hedge, The Break-Up, The Omen, A Prairie Home Companion