‘Cars 3’ speeds to No. 1, beating ‘Wonder Woman’ at the box office – USA TODAY
As the racing world goes high tech, Lightning McQueen is out to prove he is still the best race car in the world.
LOS ANGELES — Wonder Woman fell to second place in its third weekend in theaters, but it’s still doing the heavy lifting for the otherwise lackluster summer box office.
While many worn-out franchises and franchise hopefuls continue to struggle to find a significant audience, smaller films such as the Tupac Shakur biopic All Eyez on Me and shark thriller 47 Meters Down were able to break through the clutter.
The third installment in Disney and Pixar’s $1 billion Cars franchise easily took the top spot, but its estimated $53.5 million in earnings told a more complicated tale.
Cars 3 had the worst opening in the animated series’ history: Cars opened with $60.1 million and Cars 2 to $66.1 million.
It was also a disappointment compared with the top films this weekend in 2015 and 2016, comScore senior media analyst Paul Dergarabedian points out. A year ago, Finding Dory debuted with $135.1 million. In 2015, Jurassic World raked in $106.6 million in its second weekend.
“That kind of tells you the state of the industry,” Dergarabedian says.
The G-rated Cars 3 got an A grade from audiences on CinemaScore and generally positive reviews, but it will have to contend with Despicable Me 3, which opens in two weeks.
Gal Gadot’s heroic Wonder Woman was knocked down to second place with $40.8 million, bringing its domestic total to $274.6 million, while action/horror holdover The Mummy, starring Tom Cruise and Sofia Boutella, slid to fourth place in its second weekend with $13.9 million.
“It’s been a challenging summer. I always say it comes down to product. Are the movies grabbing people?” Dergarabedian says. “Before Wonder Woman, we were about 9% behind last summer. We’re now at about even, but the industry would like to see better than even.”
Amid the doldrums, lower-profile films were able to make a mark. 2Pac biopic All Eyez on Me, starring newcomer Demetrius Shipp Jr. as the slain rap star, earned $27.1 million to take third place.
Despite largely negative reviews, audiences gave the film an A-minus on CinemaScore. It opened on what would have been Shakur’s 46th birthday.
The Mandy Moore movie 47 Meters Down also exceeded low expectations, earning $11.5 million for fifth. A C on CinemaScore, however, could mean it’s dead in the water going forward.
The raunchy R-rated comedy Rough Night is also facing some rough waters ahead with its C-plus CinemaScore. The film, about a bachelorette party weekend gone wrong, starring Scarlett Johansson and Kate McKinnon, took in a paltry $8.1 million against a $20 million production budget.
Rough Night opened seventh, behind Johnny Depp’s Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, which brought in $8.5 million. The fifth Pirates film has earned $150.1 million domestically and $500 million internationally.
Next week, another fifth installment — Transformers: The Last Knight — opens. Dergarabedian expects the Michael Bay spectacle to follow suit and earn the bulk of its money abroad.
“Sometimes the bigger and better box office stories are not at No. 1,” Dergarabedian says. “All Eyez on Me and 47 Meters Down are the kind of movies people are looking for. It bodes well for Baby Driver and Atomic Blonde.“
Final figures are expected Monday.
Contributing: Kim Willis
The stars of ‘Rough Night’ decide who among them would be best at hiding a dead body.
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