Weekend Box Office (June 18 - 20, 2010)

by Gitesh Pandya

THIS WEEKEND Pixar once again showed off its box office muscle with the record opening for Toy Story 3 which delivered the best debut in company history. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the comic book-inspired Jonah Hex was shot dead on arrival suffering one of the worst openings ever for a summer action film. The overall marketplace bounced back after a few sluggish weeks with the top ten reaching a stellar $187M - the second best performance of 2010 including holiday frames.

Disney and Pixar scored their eleventh consecutive hit with Toy Story 3 which bowed at number one with a staggering $110.3M, according to final studio figures. The G-rated reteaming of Woody the Cowboy, Buzz Lightyear, and other memorable characters generated a red hot $27,385 from 4,028 theaters helped by higher 3D ticket prices. It was the second biggest opening ever for a 3D film after Alice in Wonderland's $116.1M from March and the second highest for an animated film trailing Shrek the Third's $121.6M from 2007. Woody and Buzz also edged out the $109M opening of last summer's Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen for number ten on the list of all-time biggest debuts and number one on the list of best June premieres.

Critics were all raves for Toy Story 3 which was not surprising since Pixar films hardly ever attract bad reviews. The animation studio's previous best debut was $70.5M for 2004's The Incredibles which translates to about $85M at today's 2D prices. Last summer's Up was Pixar's first 3D entry and bowed to $68.1M but Story's built-in audience helped to bring out a larger audience on opening weekend.

Toy Story 3 launched on Friday with a stunning $41.1M ranking as the largest opening day ever for an animated film. The CinemaScore grade was an encouraging A. Surprisingly, Saturday sales actually dropped 10% to $37.1M. Family films tend to jump up on Saturdays but Friday was bigger for Toy due to so many schools being out for the summer and the nature of sequels attracting more demand upfront. Plus, the Friday gross included healthy midnight sales from Thursday night. Shrek Forever After, another recent 3D toon that was a sequel, enjoyed a solid 39% bump on its first Saturday, however schools were all in session in mid-May.

The road ahead is still expected to be a bright one for Toy Story 3 thanks to amazing reviews, strong word-of-mouth, and more schools closing for the summer everyday this week. The Independence Day holiday session is not too far away either and will lead to continued strength into July.

After a surprisingly strong opening weekend, Sony's hit remake The Karate Kid fell 46% to $29.9M and broke the $100M mark after just ten days of release. The decline was not bad considering the competition for families that Toy Story gave. Total stands at $107.1M to date with the Jaden Smith vehicle possibly heading for the neighborhood of $175M. That would be some Father's Day gift to producer-dad Will Smith beating many of his own blockbusters like I, Robot, Shark Tale, and the Bad Boys films.

The A-Team dropped a moderate 44% to $14.4M in its second weekend boosting its ten-day total to $50.4M. Fox's 80s nostalgia trip looks to end its run with $80-90M. Universal's rock star comedy Get Him to the Greek held up well in its third frame with $6.1M, off 39%, for a $47.8M cume.

With Buzz Lightyear taking away the 3D toon audience, Shrek Forever After tumbled 64% to $5.6M bumping its total to $223.1M. A final gross of $230-235M seems likely. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time enjoyed a remarkably impressive hold dipping only 14% to $5.6M giving Disney $80.8M to date.

Seventh place saw the debut of the year's biggest disaster, Jonah Hex. The PG-13 comic adaptation grossed a microscopic $5.4M from 2,825 theaters for a puny $1,904 average. The Warner Bros. release generated no interest with moviegoers and won over no fans with critics either. Even the reliable comic book crowd stayed away from this one. Starring Josh Brolin, Megan Fox, and John Malkovich, Hex never caught on as a must-see film with audiences and was not based on material with much of a built-in fan base. Rolling the dice with films based on Iron Man, Green Lantern, and Thor make some kind of sense, but nobody asked for a Jonah Hex movie. The turnout was even worse than for Fox's last film Jennifer's Body which bowed to $6.9M in the weak month of September. The only good news for Hex is that the film didn't cost too much. Its reported production budget was about $40M.

Killers followed with $5M, down 37%, for a $39.3M sum for Lionsgate. Rounding out the top ten were Paramount's comic book hero Iron Man 2 with $2.9M and Fox's comic strip pooch Marmaduke with $2.5M. The super hero blockbuster fell 37% raising its total to $304.2M putting it at number 33 on the list of all-time domestic hits. The dog pic tumbled 59% and has collected a mere $27.7M thus far.

The critically-acclaimed comedy Cyrus became the summer's first major indie hit with its platform bow in just four theaters in New York and Los Angeles resulting in $181,716 for a scorching $45,429 average. The Fox Searchlight release stars John C. Reilly, Jonah Hill, Marisa Tomei, and Catherine Keener and expands to more cities in the weeks ahead.

Fox reported strong results from its Saturday night sneak previews of the Tom Cruise-Cameron Diaz action-comedy Knight and Day which averaged 85% capacity from just under 500 locations nationwide including numerous sell-outs in markets of all sizes. The spy flick opens this Wednesday in over 3,000 theaters and will face off against Adam Sandler's comedy Grown Ups opening Friday.

The top ten films grossed $187.6M which was up 34% from last year when The Proposal opened in the top spot with $33.6M; and up 38% from 2008 when Get Smart debuted at number one with $38.7M.

Compared to projections, Toy Story 3 opened above my $95M forecast while Jonah Hex came in with less than half of my $12M prediction.

Get earlier box office updates and analysis by following BoxOfficeGuru.com on Twitter.

Check the UPDATED chart for the Top June Openings. For a NEW review of Toy Story 3, visit The Chief Report.

Be sure to check back on Thursday for a complete summary, including projections, for next weekend when Grown Ups and Knight and Day both open.

Marketplace - Shop for DVDs, electronics, books, and posters at discounted prices:

# Title Jun 18 - 20 Jun 11 - 13 % Chg. Theaters Weeks AVG Cumulative Distributor
1 Toy Story 3 $ 110,307,189 4,028 1 $ 27,385 $ 110,307,189 Buena Vista
2 The Karate Kid 29,876,295 55,665,805 -46.3 3,663 2 8,156 107,130,239 Sony
3 The A-Team 14,405,318 25,669,455 -43.9 3,544 2 4,065 50,427,588 Fox
4 Get Him to the Greek 6,104,810 9,942,405 -38.6 2,592 3 2,355 47,844,275 Universal
5 Shrek Forever After 5,620,398 15,770,491 -64.4 3,207 5 1,753 223,076,925 Paramount
6 Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time 5,566,464 6,486,150 -14.2 2,605 4 2,137 80,800,574 Buena Vista
7 Jonah Hex 5,379,365 2,825 1 1,904 5,379,365 Warner Bros.
8 Killers 5,035,755 8,008,007 -37.1 2,619 3 1,923 39,302,411 Lionsgate
9 Iron Man 2 2,872,252 4,521,206 -36.5 1,612 7 1,782 304,210,329 Paramount
10 Marmaduke 2,474,195 6,006,704 -58.8 2,495 3 992 27,711,000 Fox
11 Sex and the City 2 2,411,025 5,438,345 -55.7 1,680 4 1,435 90,170,101 Warner Bros.
12 Robin Hood 1,422,715 2,615,130 -45.6 1,046 6 1,360 102,079,505 Universal
13 Splice 932,470 2,942,492 -68.3 944 2 988 15,569,488 Warner Bros.
14 Letters to Juliet 790,430 1,693,941 -53.3 806 6 981 48,591,409 Summit
15 Raavan 480,703 119 1 4,040 480,703 Reliance Big Pictures
16 Please Give 475,334 285,241 66.6 272 8 1,748 2,657,874 Sony Classics
17 Solitary Man 426,927 369,703 15.5 107 5 3,990 1,424,993 Anchor Bay
18 Date Night 360,904 601,291 -40.0 345 11 1,046 96,883,257 Fox
19 Winter's Bone 351,316 84,797 314.3 39 2 9,008 474,328 Roadside Attractions
20 The Secret in Their Eyes 282,288 347,925 -18.9 166 10 1,701 4,942,582 Sony Classics
Top 5 $ 166,314,010 $ 115,056,163 44.6
Top 10 187,642,041 140,451,060 33.6
Top 20 195,576,153 147,734,764 32.4
Top 20 vs. 2009 195,576,153 148,064,270 32.1

Last Updated: June 21, 2010 at 5:15PM ET