'Cars' races up box office in $62.8M debut

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    (source: news.yahoo.com)
    'Cars' races up box office in $62.8M debut
    By DAVID GERMAIN, AP Movie Writer

    The animated comedy "Cars" raced to first place at the weekend box office with a $62.8 million debut, maintaining the Disney-Pixar cartoon brand's undefeated record with a seventh straight hit.

    If the numbers hold when final figures come out Monday, "Cars" would have the third-best opening in the Disney-Pixar cartoon series, just ahead of "Monsters, Inc." but behind "The Incredibles" and "Finding Nemo," which both debuted at about $70 million.

    Still, it was the first time since the partnership began with 1995's "Toy Story" that a Disney-Pixar film did not gross more than its predecessor over opening weekend.

    "I look at $62 million as being an accomplishment of great proportion," said Chuck Viane, Disney's head of distribution. "I think to use the baseball analogy, a home run is a home run in anybody's ballpark, whether it's 398 feet or 460 feet. This is a home run."

    The movie features the voices of Owen Wilson and Paul Newman in a story of a hotshot race car that gets a lesson on the value of slowing down when he's sidetracked in a sleepy burgh.

    The weekend's other new wide release, 20th Century Fox's horror remake "The Omen," was No. 4 with $15.45 million. Starring Julia Stiles and Liev Schreiber in the tale of a demon child, "The Omen" has grossed $35.7 million since opening on Tuesday to take advantage of the date — 6-6-06 — a play on the number signifying the anti-Christ.

    In narrower release, Robert Altman's "A Prairie Home Companion" premiered solidly at No. 7 with $4.7 million. Playing in 760 cinemas, the film averaged $6,147 a theater, compared to $15,759 in 3,985 theaters for "Cars" and $5,674 in 2,723 cinemas for "The Omen."

    Released by Picturehouse, "A Prairie Home Companion" features Garrison Keillor in a fictionalized behind-the-scenes portrait of his venerable radio program. The ensemble cast includes Meryl Streep, Kevin Kline, Lindsay Lohan, Tommy Lee Jones, Lily Tomlin, Woody Harrelson, John C. Reilly and Virginia Madsen.

    The top-12 movies took in $148.8 million, up 8 percent from the same weekend last year, when "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" debuted with $50.2 million.

    "Cars" was the first movie directed by Pixar creative mastermind John Lasseter since 1999's "Toy Story 2." Lasseter also directed the original "Toy Story" and "A Bug's Life."

    The six prior Disney-Pixar films all opened at No. 1 and have grossed a total of $3.2 billion worldwide.

    "They are the closest thing to a sure thing in Hollywood," said Paul Dergarabedian, president of box-office tracker Exhibitor Relations. "They are money in the bank."

    The previous weekend's top movie, Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn's romantic comedy "The Break-Up," slipped to second place with $20.5 million. The Universal Pictures' film raised its 10-day total to $74.1 million.

    "X-Men: The Last Stand," from 20th Century Fox, became the year's first movie to top $200 million domestically. The superhero saga was No. 3 with $15.55 million, lifting its three-week total to $201.7 million.

    Close behind "X-Men" is Sony's "The Da Vinci Code," which came in sixth with $10.3 million, bringing its domestic haul to $189 million. Worldwide, "The Da Vinci Code" has taken in $642 million.

    Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Exhibitor Relations Co. Inc. Final figures will be released Monday.

    1. "Cars," $62.8 million.
    2. "The Break-Up," $20.5 million.
    3. "X-Men: The Last Stand," $15.55 million.
    4. "The Omen," $15.45 million.
    5. "Over the Hedge," $10.301 million
    6. "The Da Vinci Code," $10.3 million.
    7. "A Prairie Home Companion," $4.7 million.
    8. "Mission: Impossible III," $3 million.
    9. "RV," $2 million.
    10. "Poseidon," $1.8 million.
  2. Wow, seriously? Is it good?r too kid-dy?
  3. I saw it Friday. It's very cute. The racing animation is impressive. The tow truck Mater is my favorite. I think if you're a race car driving fan, you'll love the inside humor in the movie even more than I did.
  4. I just took my son to see this today. It was a really cute movie & it had a nice message in it. Ill be buying it when it comes out on DVD. Plus Larry the Cable guy is the voice of Mater, which makes it even funnier.
  5. I took the kids Friday afternoon, and it was cute! I read a review that said the movie was not as good as the Toy Story series, but was better than Finding Nemo. I thought that was pretty accurate.
  6. Took my son, he enjoyed it alot, didn't even fall asleep. Great Movie for Kids and Adults. I think its for all ages, especially Pixar Animation Ones.
  7. My husband and I just took our kids to see it tonight too. We thought it was really cute for both kids and parents. I don't think you can go wrong with a Pixar movie. They always come out with great stuff. Stay and watch the end credits because there are some extras.
  8. too cute loved everything about it :love: I think I`m just a kid at heart :yes: and a sucker for beautifully-done animation.
  9. we saw it yesterday with our nieces and nephews... i thought it was really cute...although it was a little boring at the beginning.
  10. My son loved it...this is actually the first movie he has gone to where I didn't hear him say a word...For kids it's a great movie to take them to!
  11. My sons loved the movie! Husband said the animation was great!
  12. My kids went too. My money is part of that total!
  13. I went with my sis and her 5 y.o. son. He wasn't as interested but my sister and I loved it! Lots of underlying jokes for adults - it was cute!
  14. am i the only one who goes to kids movies without kids? hehe.

    hubby and i saw it last week. super cute movie. i didn't think it was too kiddish...i was actually suprised at how adult and smart a couple of the jokes were. but that always happens with pixar movies. love them. :smile:
  15. I took my son and his friends to "Cars" Friday night. It was great- always a good message behind the films and adult humor thrown in to keep us interested. I know the director, John L., and he's a great guy-they really have changed the world of animation with their genius use of computer work.