The Cars are all right. The Pixar sequel Cars 2 lit up the scoreboard with $25.7 million on Friday, according to early estimates, putting the G-rated movie on track for a big $70 million weekend. Critics gave the film the worst reviews in Pixar’s history, and industry insiders were predicting an opening closer to $50 million, so this result is a welcome surprise for Pixar and its owner Disney. Assuming Cars 2 reaches $70 million this weekend, that’ll be the best debut for an animated film since last June’s Toy Story 3, which unspooled to $110.3 million. It’ll also place Cars 2 right alongside Pixar’s The Incredibles and Finding Nemo, which opened to $70.5 million and $70.3 million, respectively. In 2006, the original Cars took in $60.1 million its first weekend, or about $72 million when adjusted for ticket-price inflation.
In second, the R-rated comedy Bad Teacher grossed $12.1 million and is headed for an opening of about $32 million. By comparison, Bridesmaids debuted to $26.2 million, although it’s highly unlikely that Bad Teacher will duplicate that film’s box-office stamina. Nevertheless, this is a huge win for star Cameron Diaz. The last movie to rest entirely on her shoulders was 2009′s The Box, which mustered only $15.1 million during its entire run. Also, Bad Teacher cost just $20 million to produce, and its solid opening is further confirmation (along with Bridesmaids) that audiences are willing to support female-driven raunchy comedies.
Losing quite a bit of green was Green Lantern, which plummeted 72 percent from last Friday for $6 million. The $200 million superhero film will have to settle for a $19 million weekend, pushing its two-week tally to a disappointing $90 million. In fourth place, the sci-fi adventure Super 8 continued to hold up well, dropping only 37 percent for $3.8 million. And Mr. Popper’s Penguins slipped 43 percent for $3.7 million on Friday. Check back here on Sunday for the complete box office report.
1. Cars 2 — $25.7 mil
2. Bad Teacher — $12.1 mil
3. Green Lantern — $6.0 mil
4. Super 8 — $3.8 mil
5. Mr. Popper’s Penguins — $3.7 mil
Box office preview: Cars 2 to lap its competition