‘Cars 3’ likely to win race with ‘Won­der Woman’

Los Angeles Times - - COMPANY TOWN - By Ryan Faugh­n­der ryan.faugh­n­der @la­times.com

Won­der Woman is ex­pected to sur­ren­der her box­of­fice tiara to Light­ning McQueen and the an­thro­po­mor­phic mo­tor ve­hi­cles of “Cars 3” this week­end, end­ing the two-week reign of the Warner Bros.-DC En­ter­tain­ment su­per­hero movie.

The new “Cars” film from Walt Dis­ney Co.’s Pixar An­i­ma­tion Stu­dios is ex­pected to gross about $60 mil­lion in the United States and Canada Fri­day through Sun­day, ac­cord­ing to peo­ple who have read pre-re­lease au­di­ence sur­veys.

That would be roughly sim­i­lar to the pre­vi­ous “Cars” installments and should be enough to un­seat “Won­der Woman,” which has grossed $206 mil­lion do­mes­ti­cally so far. Its sec­ond week­end fell just 43% from its de­but, one of the best holds ever for a su­per­hero movie.

The box of­fice is revving up for a crowded week­end, com­ing shortly af­ter the Uni­ver­sal Pic­tures’ Tom Cruise re­boot of “The Mummy” failed to mount a se­ri­ous chal­lenge to “Won­der Woman.” Sev­eral other movies will com­pete for movie­go­ers’ at­ten­tion, in­clud­ing Lion­s­gate’s Tu­pac Shakur bio “All Eyez on Me,” Sony’s raunchy lady com­edy “Rough Night” and the Mandy Moore shark thriller “47 Me­ters Down.”

Since its de­but a decade ago, “Cars” has made its mark as an en­dur­ing se­ries for Pixar and its par­ent com­pany Walt Dis­ney Co.

The pre­vi­ous “Cars” movies, star­ring Owen Wil­son, have grossed more than $1 bil­lion in com­bined global ticket sales, ac­cord­ing to data from ComS­core. The orig­i­nal “Cars” peeled out 11 years ago with a $60-mil­lion de­but, on its way to $462 mil­lion in world­wide sales. In 2011, the fol­low-up launched with $66 mil­lion do­mes­ti­cally and ended up with a global to­tal of $561 mil­lion.

The en­dur­ing “Cars” se­ries has be­come ev­ery­thing a con­tem­po­rary en­ter­tain­ment con­glom­er­ate could want from a car­toon fran­chise — wide de­mo­graphic ap­peal and a cute con­cept that eas­ily feeds toy lines, ap­parel li­cens­ing and video games. It also seeded a pair of spinoffs about sen­tient air­planes. The Cars Land at­trac­tion at Dis­ney Cal­i­for­nia Ad­ven­ture has proved to be a pow­er­ful draw since it opened in 2012. As a bonus, the new­est “Cars” has been rel­a­tively well-re­viewed by crit­ics.

For years, Pixar avoided mak­ing se­quels, with the ex­cep­tion of movies like “Toy Story 2.” But the com­pany has em­braced se­quels in re­cent years, to prof­itable re­sults. “Find­ing Dory,” the se­quel to “Find­ing Nemo,” be­came the sec­ond-high­est­gross­ing movie of 2016 in the U.S. and Canada, be­hind “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.” The stu­dio also has a sec­ond “In­cred­i­bles” and a fourth “Toy Story” on the way.

The rest of the week­end’s film lineup will try to ap­peal to de­mo­graph­ics not served by the dom­i­nant films.

With “All Eyez on Me,” for ex­am­ple, Lion­s­gate will at­tempt draw fans of Tu­pac Shakur, the Har­lem-born hip-hop hit maker who was killed in Las Ve­gas in a 1996 drive-by shoot­ing. Star­ring Demetrius Shipp Jr. as the “Cal­i­for­nia Love” rap­per, “All Eyez on Me” is poised to open with $17 mil­lion to $20 mil­lion. But an­a­lysts think that it could defy ex­pec­ta­tions af­ter 2015’s “Straight Outta Comp­ton” about the hip-hop group N.W.A did bet­ter than ex­pected.

Sony Pic­tures will make a play for the ladies’ night out crowd with “Rough Night,” an R-rated en­sem­ble com­edy about a group of friends from col­lege who re­unite in Mi­ami for a bach­e­lorette party, which goes into coverup mode af­ter they ac­ci­den­tally kill a male strip­per. The $20-mil­lion romp, star­ring Scar­lett Jo­hans­son and Kate McKin­non, is aim­ing for a launch of $10 mil­lion to $14 mil­lion.

Mean­while, shark sur­vival thriller “47 Me­ters Down” is ex­pected to sink at the box of­fice with about $5 mil­lion in ticket sales. The movie, star­ring Mandy Moore and Claire Holt as va­ca­tion­ers in Mex­ico whose shark cage drops to the ocean floor, is get­ting its re­lease from By­ron Allen’s En­ter­tain­ment Stu­dios. The film is hit­ting the­aters a year af­ter the sur­prise shark hit from Sony, “The Shal­lows,” star­ring Blake Lively.

Dis­ney-Pixar

OWEN WIL­SON voices Light­ning McQueen, fore­ground, in “Cars 3,” the lat­est in an en­dur­ing Pixar se­ries.

Clay Enos Warner Bros. En­ter­tain­ment

GAL GADOT stars as the ti­tle char­ac­ter and Ewen Brem­ner as Char­lie in the film “Won­der Woman.”

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