I can't wait till next week's box-office report so I can see how Pixar's Wall-e holds up with audiences. Early reports struck dire ticket-selling notes for this futuristic tale of a garbage-compacting robot, WALL-E (for Waste Allocation Load Lifter: Earth class), who was left on Earth to clean up the mess we made of it. Words like gloomy, sorrowful, dystopian and dull filled the air. And yet this groundbreaker in the art of animation swept in with $62.5 million to hit the No. 1 spot. That's puts it behind only The Incredibles ($70.5 million), Finding Nemo ($70.3 million) and Monsters, Inc. ($62.6 million) in the Pixar pantheon of nine consecutive opening-weekend winners. Second place went to the R-rated Wanted, taking in $51.1 million to show that some trash (the sexy, jolting, fun kind like Wanted) also has a place at the multiplex and should be spared being tossed in the dumpster by the G-rated WALL-e. It's quite a weekend when two non-sequels representing the scariest word in Hollywood — originality — can rack up such huge numbers. But here are the questions of the day for those of you've seen WALL-e:
Is it as good as critics, including me, say it is?
Is it really as glum as the reputation that preceded it?
Will word-of-mouth help or hinder it at the box-office in coming weeks?
Where would you rank it in the Pixar pantheon of nine?
— Toy Story
— Toy Story 2
— A Bug's Life
— Monsters, Inc.
— Finding Nemo
— The Incredibles
I'll be debating that question till I see WALL-e a second time. Right now, I'm tempted to put it just behind The Incredibles, though the two Toy Story films have a special place in my heart. OK, now it's your chance to weigh in.