Here’s a lesson for the movie studios: You can make a sequel 11 years after its predecessor as long as the story is great and the characters are so beloved that earlier generations are still attached to them. That’s what Disney-based Pixar did with the third chapter in the Toy Story franchise. Toy Story 3 grossed an estimated $41 million Friday night, suggesting that many of those 20-somethings who watched Toy Story 2 when they were in elementary school came back to the franchise to see its latest chapter. Now Buzz Lightyear and Cowboy Woody are destined for Pixar’s record books, with the highest-opening ever for a Pixar movie. Based on the Friday numbers, Toy Story 3 could earn as much as $120 million for the three-day frame. (The studio’s previous opening-weekend record was $70 million for Finding Nemo in 2003.)
That’s the good news. The bad news is that Warner Bros.’ action Western Jonah Hex is a giant misfire. The Josh Brolin-starrer grossed approximately $2 million for a weekend that’s likely to wind up with only $6 million and a probable sixth place in the box office rankings. That is really bad. And it doesn’t bode well for the studio that released Splice earlier this month to paltry numbers too.
The rest of the top five will be dominated by holdovers, with The Karate Kid holding in fairly well considering its competition from Toy Story 3. The Jackie Chan-Jaden Smith starrer grossed an estimated $8 million on Friday for a weekend that should total $30 million, representing a 46 percent drop-off and a total cume that’s likely to reach over $100 million. The A-Team is in for a steeper fall, earning less than $4 million on Friday for a likely weekend total of $13 million. That represents close to a 60 percent drop for a movie that bowed last weekend to number’s beneath industry expectations. Shrek Forever After is likely to take fourth place with a bit over $2 million on Friday and a weekend total that should add up to over $8 million. Fifth spot goes to Get Him to the Greek which earned a bit under $2 million Friday night for a weekend that should reach $6 million for the frame.
Check back tomorrow for official results.