Monday Morning Quarterback
By BOP Staff
June 25, 2013
Kim Hollis: Monsters University, Pixar's prequel to the beloved Monsters, Inc., debuted this weekend with $82.4 million. What do you think of this result?
Jay Barney: I’m shocked at the size of the box office this weekend. We all knew that Monster’s University was going to be big, the question was how large. For the last couple of years Toy Story 3 has been the standard that all big animated films are compared to. There really was never any speculation if Monsters University would achieve those numbers, but Pixar’s level of success is very high. They can open new films like Brave and do well enough with them, or they can produce sequels like Cars 2 and still manage to make money. The opening of Monsters University goes far and away above these other entries.
$82 million is huge, especially compared with the other earners this year. It is larger than Oz the Great and Powerful’s $79 million. It is about equal to what Star Trek accomplished in its first few days. The only larger openings this year have been Iron Man 3, Fast & Furious 6, and Man of Steel. Pixar can take confidence that their product is up there with some of the most embraced movies of the year.
I think another reason this did so well was the relative black hole of kids movies so far on the schedule. Admittedly that is going to change very quickly with the slew of animated movies coming out soon, but so far there have not been many. It is nearly double The Croods $43 million. Epic had the benefit of Memorial Day weekend, and Monsters University blew that opening away. Escape from Planet Earth had a tiny opening. I have always thought there is a much larger market for kids films, and part of Monsters University's huge success may be attributed to this..
Matthew Huntley: I agree this is a very good figure, but with all due respect, Monsters University did have all the box-office stars aligned for it, namely the lack of family fare in the past month, so the bigger shock would have been if it didn't make this much money. Granted, Epic was out, but I think that movie was more or less "filler," if you will, and audiences were waiting for a familiar brand name and a reputable studio to give them something they know to be reliable and safe. Monsters University did just that and paid off handsomely.
Still, my concern is that Pixar is slowly becoming the studio that is losing its way. Their past few films haven't been as inventive or cutting edge as they used to be, and with sequels like Toy Story 3, Cars 2, and prequels like Monsters U, I'm afraid they're running out of ideas. "Reliable" and "safe" aren't words I would have used to describe Pixar a few years ago with Ratatouille and Up. Don't get me wrong - the studio is far from going off the deep end, but it's sort of in its sights.