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Weekend Wrap-Up

Cars 3, Tupac and a $120 Million Top 3 Drive Box Office

By John Hamann

June 18, 2017

Is he speed or is he sideways?

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Tupac rises and saves the box office – not a headline one might to expect to read in column about box office.

Two weekends ago and looking forward to this weekend, my money would have been on Rough Night for a second place finish behind Cars 3, and not All Eyez on Me, the Tupac Shakur biopic that takes the name of his last album. The R-rated, 2 hour 20 minute feature felt long, but audiences responded leaving a surprised Wonder Woman tumbling to third on Friday night (but this is Wonder Woman, and you can't keep a good woman down for long).

Openers this weekend included Cars 3, which was looking to land near the debut of the first two Cars films. The original opened to $60 million, and the sequel debuted with $66 million, so the trend appeared to be going up. The other opener, 47 Meters Down, a shark movie, did much better than its title, distributor and minor screen count (2,270) would have predicted. What was likely a goal to just make the top ten quickly became a shot at staying in the top five and ahead of the Tom Cruise domestic disappointment The Mummy.




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Our number one movie of the weekend is Cars 3, which joins only Toy Story as a Pixar trilogy (hopefully it will stop here. I have never seen one of these, but I have seen literally everything else in the Pixar canon). These Cars flicks seem to draw the same audience every time. The original Cars earned $19.7 million on opening day, and the first sequel improved on that by taking in $25.7 million. The third Cars release waned a bit on Friday, pulling in $19.5 million. This shouldn't be too much of a surprise, considering the second film opened to more than the original, but its domestic gross was $50 million less than the original. Kids and families had figured out that the Cars franchise didn't deliver Pixar's best product – critics again weren't overjoyed with a Cars release. The first Cars movie was the critical favorite at 72% fresh, the sequel then bottomed out at 39%, and the third rose to average at 65%. Every other Pixar theatrical release has earned a fresh rating of 75% or higher, but the Cars series goes 0 for 3.

The weekend box office result reflected those dismal scores, as the third entry was not able to compete with the first two Cars releases. After $2.8 million in previews and a combined Thursday/Friday of $19.5 million, the weekend was estimated at $53.5 million, the lowest Pixar opening weekend since Ratatouille debuted to $47 million in 2007. Pixar has now had two films open on the bottom shelf of their portfolio in the last two years, as The Good Dinosaur opened to $39.2 million in November 2015. Following the opening, sales should be brisk, as like the original, Cars 3 earned an A Cinemascore, beating the A- that Cars 2 earned.


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