''Cars'' parks it at No. 1, again
Dade Hayes' online report: The animated Pixar movie beats out new releases
Hollywood’s most elusive prey, the young male moviegoer, was torn between between Nacho Libre and The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, allowing the gear-grinding Cars to repeat as weekend box-office champ. In a busy frame that featured four new releases, the also-rans included The Lake House, a Keanu Reeves-Sandra Bullock romance, which pulled in $13.7 million in counter-programming cash, and Garfield: A Tale of Two Kitties in a distant sixth place, with $7.2 million.
Dipping 48 percent to $31.2 million, Cars has posted a total domestic tally of $114.5 million in its first 10 days, the lowest total by that point of any of the past four Pixar releases. The second-week drop was the steepest of any non-holiday Pixar movie. Finding Nemo in 2003, for example, slipped 34 percent in its second outing.
The Nickelodeon-produced Nacho Libre, which was plugged relentlessly through Viacom’s many cable outlets, opened to $27.5 million. That’s the best bow for any movie with Jack Black in the lead. With a CinemaScore of B-plus and the support of many, though certainly not all, mainstream critics, the movie has a strong shot at holding up better than most summer releases, especially given that exit polls found that it was fairly evenly split between male and female, young and old. And the PG rating certainly leeched some family audiences away from Cars.
The third Fast and the Furious installment lacked both Vin Diesel, who departed after the original, and Paul Walker, who hung around for the second outing. Deprived of star wattage beyond Tyrese and Lucas Black, it still mustered $24.1 million, but don’t get too excited about that number. It’s almost exactly what Chronicles of Riddick did for Universal Pictures in the same weekend in 2004, though admittedly more budgetary bloat was a factor on that one. And the studio’s exit polling on Tokyo Drift suggested that more than 94 percent of audiences for it had seen either the first or second Fast and the Furious, so it isn’t as if the word didn’t get out to the core faithful.
Momentum appears to be slowing for Al Gore’s lecture-doc on global warning, An Inconvenient Truth, which took in $1.7 million from 404 screens but fell out of the top 10. The weekend number was just slightly higher than the previous frame, when it was showing on a third as many screens. Its total gross stands at $6.4 million. In other specialty debuts, crossword doc Wordplay averaged $17,479 on each of its two screens. The Kevin Bacon-directed Loverboy didn’t prove as potent, collecting $14,700 from four screens.
Overall receipts rose 7 percent from the same weekend a year ago, though summer business is roughly flat with 2005 levels — and we know what a gem of a summer that was. Fragmented audiences, sluggish results, a vulnerable Pixar release… this looks like a job for Superman Returns. But first (on Friday the 23rd) comes Adam Sandler vehicle Click, just five days before the highest-stakes blockbuster bet comes due.