Sunday, June 29, 2008

Wall-E continue's Pixar's winning streak

By Scott Bowles, USA TODAY

Wall-E tied for the third-highest debut for a Pixar film, taking in $62.5 million this weekend, according to studio estimates from Nielsen EDI.

The debut was big even by Pixar's gold standards (the studio has never had a movie that did not open at No. 1), eclipsing projections by more than $10 million and earning the seventh-largest debut for any animated movie.

In the Pixar canon, it falls behind only The Incredibles, which debuted at $70.4 million, and Finding Nemo, which bowed to $70.2 million. If estimates hold, it will have tied the debut of Monsters, Inc.

That's no small feat, considering the film is virtually silent in the first half and is a love story between two robots who rarely speak and inhabit a garbage-strewn, abandoned Earth.

But Pixar has become what its parent company, Disney, once was: a studio that draws audiences on its name and reputation. And Wall-E garnered recommendations from 96% of the nation's critics, according to the survey site

Wanted, the violent action film starring Angelina Jolie, had nearly as impressive an opening. It bested predictions by $11 million, taking in $51.1 million and enjoying a higher per-theater average than Wall-E, doing $16,100 a screen, compared to Wall-E's $15,700 a screen.

The debut was the highest on record for an R-rated movie opening in June, and the sixth biggest R-rated debut ever. The Matrix Reloaded holds the title with $92 million.

Get Smart was third with $20 million, bringing the Steve Carell comedy to $77.3 million.

The animated comedy Kung Fu Panda brought in $11.7 million, good for fourth place and a total of $179.3 million. The Incredible Hulk did $9.2 million and took fifth. Its overall haul is $115.5 million.

Ticket sales were up 24% over the same weekend last year.

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