Box office hits and misses: ‘Cars 3’ narrowly passes ‘Wonder Woman’ with weak debut

Wonder Woman
Just about the only thing that wasn’t a surprise at the box office over the weekend was the first-place finish for Cars 3, as the latest installment of the blockbuster Pixar franchise bumped Wonder Woman off the top of the box office charts as expected with a good (but not great) $53.5 million opening weekend.

Despite its opening weekend win, Cars 3 under-performed most pundits’ expectations for the 18th film to come out of the massively successful animation studio. If the opening weekends for all 18 films are adjusted for inflation, the premiere for Cars 3 is the second-worst of all time for the studio — beating only 2015’s The Good Dinosaur. Still the Cars franchise appears to have righted itself with audiences in at least one way: Cars 3 received an “A” grade on audience survey site CinemaScore, improving on the “A-” that its 2011 predecessor received. (It’s worth noting that Cars 2 is also the only Pixar film to ever receive lower than an “A” grade.)

Although Wonder Woman is no longer at the top of the box office, there were more than enough reasons for fans of director Patty Jenkins’ record-breaking film to celebrate.

# Title Weekend U.S. Total Worldwide Total
1. Cars 3 $53.5M $53.5M $74.8M
2. Wonder Woman $40.7M $274.6M $571.8M
3. All Eyez On Me $27M $27M $27M
4. The Mummy $13.9M $56.5M $295.6M
5. 47 Meters Down $11.5M $11.5M $11.5M
6. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales $8.4M $150M $650M
7. Rough Night $8M $8M $12.2M
8. Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie $7.3M $57.9M  $62.6M
9. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 $4.9M $374.8M $844.3M
10. It Comes At Night  $2.6M  $11.1M $11.1M

Wonder Woman had an impressively small drop from its second week to third week of only 30 percent, and the $40.7 million it earned brought it up to $274.6 million in U.S. theaters so far. That gives the film the second-highest ticket sales for any Warner Bros. Pictures movie in its third week, just behind the $42.6 million that The Dark Knight earned in its third week. Wonder Woman is now on pace to beat both Man of Steel and Suicide Squad at the box office, and a few more weekends like this one will put it into the upper tier of both the studio’s superhero movies and all superheroes collectively.

Two new releases that definitely didn’t underperform were third-place finisher All Eyez On Me — a biopic of deceased hip-hop artist Tupac Shakur — and the shark-fueled horror film 47 Meters Down. Both films were expected to earn far less than what they ended up raking in, but received distinctly different critical evaluations. Although audiences gave All Eyez On Me a positive grade (A-), professional critics slammed the movie to the tune of a 24-percent approval rating on review aggregator RottenTomatoes.com. Meanwhile, 47 Meters Down received decent reviews from critics (54-percent approval), but was slapped with a “C” grade by audiences.

The outlook was decidedly less optimistic for the dark comedy Rough Night, which was expected to earn around $20 million over its opening weekend, but managed a measly $8 million to go along with poor reviews from professional critics and general audiences alike.

A few more big surprises came in the form of overwhelming international support for films that aren’t having the best runs in U.S. theaters, as The Mummy and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales continued to rake in money internationally despite weak domestic performance so far. Tom Cruise’s horror thriller The Mummy has earned a mere $56.5 million so far in U.S. theaters, for example, but has now taken in almost $300 million worldwide. It’s a similar situation for Dead Men Tell No Tales, which has earned just $150 million in four weeks (which would be fine if it didn’t cost more than $230 million to make), but has earned $650 million worldwide.

Both films are a fascinating study in the diminishing importance of U.S. theater audiences to a film’s overall success, as we’re beginning to this sort of scenario play out more often in recent years with the emergence of major international markets — particularly China.

This upcoming week will certainly be won by Transformers: The Last Knight, which arrives in theaters a few days earlier than usual on Wednesday, June 21. The fifth film in Michael Bay’s blockbuster franchise faces no significant competition at the box office, and now it’s only a question of how much of a bite this week’s strong performers will take out of The Last Knight.

Business

‘The Grinch’ steals the box-office crown from ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’

Dr. Seuss' The Grinch is the new box-office champion, knocking off Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody and posting a better opening weekend than Jim Carrey's 2000 live-action film based on the character.
Movies & TV

One popular character won't be returning for 'John Wick 3: Parabellum'

The third installment of the wildly successful action series that stars Keanu Reeves as a deadly assassin forced out of retirement, John Wick 3: Parabellum, hits theaters in May 2019. Here's everything we know about the movie so far.
Movies & TV

Winter coming in spring? HBO reveals 'Game of Thrones' season 8 premiere date

With the eighth and final season looming, Game of Thrones fever has officially become a pandemic. Our list of all the relevant news and rumors will help make the wait more bearable, if you don't mind spoilers.
Movies & TV

The best new movie trailers: ‘Buster Scruggs,’ ‘Missing Link,’ ‘Mowgli’ and more

Everyone loves a good trailer, but keeping up with what's new isn't easy. That's why we round up the best ones for you. This week, it's new trailers for The Ballad of Buster Scruggs and Mortal Engines, and the first trailer for Missing…
Movies & TV

The ‘Toy Story 4’ teaser trailer is here to fork with your emotions

Disney released the first teaser trailer for its latest addition to the Toy Story franchise. The quick glimpse of what's to come shows all our favorite toys back in action, as well as a strange -- and seemingly unhinged -- new character.
Gaming

Everyone’s favorite Pokémon turns gumshoe in ‘Detective Pikachu’ trailer

The first Detective Pikachu trailer has arrived, and it looks like a video game movie could actually be good? Voiced by Ryan Reynolds, Pikachu is undeniably cute in what is shaping up to be a family-friendly buddy comedy.
Movies & TV

He created comics, movies, and superheroes. But Stan Lee lived for joy

Stan Lee was a creator, a celebrity, an icon, and beneath it all, a real-life good guy with all the same human qualities that made his superheroes so relatable. And his greatest joy was sharing his creations with the world.
Movies & TV

Stan Lee has died: Marvel Comics icon and legendary creator dead at 95

Stan Lee, one of the world's most important and iconic comic-book authors, has died at the age of 95. Creator of some of the most famous and beloved superheroes and villains of all time, Lee leaves behind an indelible legacy.
Home Theater

What is MHL, exactly, and how does it work with your TV?

There are more ways to mirror your smartphone or tablet to your TV than you might think. Check out our rundown of MHL for everything you need to know about the wired protocol and its myriad uses.
Movies & TV

Star Wars series 'The Mandalorian' adds 'Deadpool' actress Gina Carano

The Mandalorian, Jon Favreau's live-action Star Wars series planned for Disney's streaming video service, will be one of the most expensive television shows ever made. Here's everything we know about it so far.
Music

The best movie soundtracks of all time, from 'Star Wars' to 'E.T.'

Whether you're a lover of beautifully composed original scores or a fan of perfectly compiled popular music, these are the best movie soundtracks of all time — from Star Wars to Garden State.
Home Theater

From the Roku Ultra to the Fire TV Cube, these are the best streaming devices

There are more options for media streamers than ever, so it’s more difficult to pick the best option. But that’s why we're here. Our curated list of the best streaming devices will get you online in no time.
Home Theater

Put your home theater to the test with these spectacular Blu-ray releases

What's the point of having all of that awesome home theater gear if you can't breed a little jealousy in your friends and family? We've put together this list of fantastic Blu-rays that have the goods to drop a few jaws.
Movies & TV

Is the end near for Pied Piper? ‘Silicon Valley’ season 6 delayed, might be the last

Season 6 of Silicon Valley might not premiere until 2020, as HBO has delayed production on the season until summer 2019 due to showrunner Alec Berg's work on another HBO series, Barry. Season 6 could be the final one for the show.