‘Cars 3’ speeds to No. 1; Shakur biopic de­buts strong

The Washington Times Daily - - LIFE - BY LIND­SEY BAHR

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 North Amer­i­can au­di­ence, smaller films such as the Tu­pac Shakur biopic “All Eyez on Me” and the shark thriller “47 Me­ters Down” were able to break through the clut­ter and make a splash this week­end.

As ex­pected, 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 se­ries’ his­tory — “Cars” opened to $60.1 mil­lion and “Cars 2” to $66.1 mil­lion — and it was one of the low­est de­but to­tals for the Pixar brand.

It was also a dis­ap­point­ment com­pared with the top films over this week­end in 2015 and 2016, noted comS­core se­nior me­dia an­a­lyst Paul Der­garabe­dian.

A year ago Pixar’s “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,” Mr. Der­garabe­dian said.

The G-rated “Cars 3” got an “A” Cine­maS­core and gen­er­ally pos­i­tive reviews, but it will have to con­tend with “De­spi­ca­ble Me 3,” which opens in two weeks.

“Won­der Woman” was knocked down to sec­ond place with $40.8 mil­lion, bring­ing its do­mes­tic to­tal to $274.6 mil­lion, while holdover “The Mummy” slid to fourth place in week­end two with $13.9 mil­lion.

“It’s been a chal­leng­ing sum­mer. I al­ways say it comes down to prod­uct. Are the movies grab­bing peo­ple?” Mr. Der­garabe­dian said. “Be­fore ‘Won­der Woman,’ we were about 9 per­cent 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. The long­time-com­ing “All Eyez on Me” earned $27.1 mil­lion to take third place on the charts.

De­spite largely neg­a­tive reviews, au­di­ences gave the film an “A-” Cine­maS­core. Lion­s­gate’s Codeblack di­vi­sion mar­keted the pic, which cost Mor­gan Creek Pro­duc­tions about $40 mil­lion to pro­duce. It opened to co­in­cide with what would have been the late rap­per’s 46th birth­day on June 16.

“It’s al­ways nice to ex­ceed ex­pec­ta­tions,” said David Spitz, pres­i­dent of the­atri­cal dis­tri­bu­tion for Lion­s­gate.

The Mandy Moore shark thriller “47 Me­ters Down” also ex­ceeded low ex­pec­ta­tions, earn­ing $11.5 mil­lion for a fifth-place start. A “C” Cine­maS­core, how­ever, could mean the pic is dead in the wa­ter go­ing for­ward.

The raunchy R-rated com­edy “Rough Night” also is fac­ing some rough wa­ters ahead with its ghastly “C+” Cine­maS­core. The film, about a bach­e­lorette party week­end gone wrong, star­ring Scar­lett Johansson, Kate McKin­non and Jil­lian Bell, took in a pal­try $8.1 mil­lion against a $20 mil­lion pro­duc­tion bud­get.

“Rough Night” opened in sev­enth place, be­hind “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. Mr. Der­garabe­dian ex­pects it to follow suit with most of the sum­mer’s fran­chises and earn the bulk of its money abroad.

“Some­times the big­ger and bet­ter box of­fice sto­ries are not at No. 1,” Mr. Der­garabe­dian said. “‘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.’”

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