WINNERS OF THE WEEK: Theater owners. They took in some $236.1 million this weekend, thanks to three major summer blockbusters, coming in about 16 percent above last weekend’s Man of Steel-driven windfall and setting a record for a June weekend. (The previous record holder was the June 29th weekend of last year, which saw grosses of $210.0 million from such hits as Ted, Magic Mike, and Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Witness Protection.)
Leading the charge was Monsters University, whose estimated $82.0 million opening occasioned several milestones for Disney and Pixar. It’s the second highest June animation opening ever (behind Pixar’s Toy Story 3), the second highest June opening ever for Disney or Pixar, and the eighth biggest premiere in Disney history. Globally, the prequel’s debut came in at $136.5 million.
Debuting in second place, World War Z also did very well, exceeding expectations. It earned an estimated $66.0 million, far above the $50 million ceiling most pundits had predicted. After all, the movie rode in on a tidal wave of negative buzz, about its budget, its extensive reshoots and its divergences from the Max Brooks book that is its source. But none of that seemed to matter to moviegoers, who rewarded the Brad Pitt zombie epic with sold word-of-mouth (measured by its B+ grade at CinemaScore). Per screen, the movie earned $18,298, not far behind the $20,480 average of Monsters U. Had World War Z been able to scare up another 800 screens or so, it could have given Monsters a run for its money.
LOSER OF THE WEEK: Man of Steel. Though it’s hard to call a movie a loser when it earned an estimated $41.2 million this weekend. Still, that represents a slide of 65 percent from last weekend’s first-place debut. The movie has earned $210.0 million in North America and $283.3 million worldwide in two weeks, again, not really loser territory except by the movie’s own lofty standards. Given its estimated $225 million budget, the movie will have to gross about $500 million worldwide to recoup its costs. That’ll be an uphill climb, especially with The Lone Ranger opening in two weeks.
Rounding out the top five this week: In fourth place, This Is the End held up well with an estimated $13.0 million, down just 37 percent from its debut a week ago, for a total so far of $57.8 million. At Number Five, Now You See Me grabbed an estimated $7.9 million in its fourth week, for a total of $94.5 million to date.
GREETINGS FROM TORONTO: At the art house, the only films brave enough to take on the multiplex’s monsters and zombies were two movies that played last fall’s Toronto Film Festival. Finally opening this weekend were Unfinished Song, a British comedy featuring old-timers Terence Stamp and Vanessa Redgrave, and The Attack, a drama about a Palestinian surgeon who learns that his late wife may have been behind a suicide bombing. Both earned about $27,000 – Song on two screens, Attack on three. That means a per-screen average of $13,850 for Song and $8,800 for Attack.
Meanwhile, The Bling Ring, in its second week, expanded from five screens to 650, scoring an estimated $2.0 million, missing out on a Top 10 finish by about $175,000. Sofia Coppola’s movie about Hollywood burglars has earned $2.3 million to date and has a good shot at surpassing Before Midnight (currently at $4.6 million) as the indie hit of the early summer.