Sandler Strong, Cruise Not Against Toy Story 3
By John Hamann
June 27, 2010
It looked like it was going to be a huge weekend at the box office – there was an action flick with Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz versus a lowbrow comedy starring Adam Sandler and Kevin James. Knight and Day, the Cruise/Diaz flick, should have been good for $60 million or so over three days, and Grown Ups, the comedy with a bevy of Saturday Night Live alums plus Paul Blart himself, could have broken out for $45 to $50 million. Along with those two new films, we also had the second weekend for Toy Story 3, where it followed the frame in which it broke the record for June openings with a $110 million debut. If you've caught on to my could haves and would haves, you know something missed this weekend, and I'll tell you now that this failure didn't involve Toys or Grown Ups.
Our number one film of the weekend is again the glorious Toy Story 3, as again Pixar thankfully brings quality back to the summer box office. After a stunning $110 million opening frame where the toys beat expectations by as much $10 million, I was expecting some heavy pushback on the numbers over the sophomore session. Why? Toy Story 2 fell 52% over its second frame a dozen years ago, moving from a $57.4 million opening to a $27.8 million follow-up. Now, that was way back in 1999, a time when no film had opened to $90 million, let alone $110 million. Shrek 3 fell 56% in 2007 over its second frame, moving from a Toy Story 3-ish number ($121.6 million) to $53 million in its second weekend. While these are good examples, this is no longer the world we live in, with the advent of 3D technology, and the price increase that follows it. Alice in Wonderland, despite debuting with a huge $116 million, kept its second weekend drop low, at 46%. Shrek Forever After, which admittedly opened to a much lower $70 million, and fell only 39% in its second frame, thanks to 3D, and of course the Memorial Day Weekend. Though we are still infants in the new box office world of 3D, the early trend is indicating decent legs into the second frame for family 3D movies, regardless of the girth of the opening frame.
So, after its terrific $110 million opening weekend, Toy Story 3 earned another $59 million this frame, and shows Disney and Pixar the long term bounty this film will achieve. The weekend-to-weekend drop comes in at a decent 47%, and has to be thought of as a big win for all involved. Disney and Pixar will be giving up some of those valued 3D screens over the next few weekends, as the next frame brings the live action The Last Airbender (when Toy Story 3 will likely have a $45 million weekend), which will then be followed by Universal's Despicable Me on July 9th (when Toy Story 3 will likely have a $30 million frame). I don't think The Last Airbender is any concern for Toy Story 3, as when Clash of the Titans opened to $61 million, the two-weekend-old How to Train Your Dragon fell only 34%. Despicable Me will likely be a different opponent, as the audience, regardless of 3D, will be the same as Toy Story 3, and therefore have an impact.