News

'Toy Story 3' expected to repeat as No. 1 at weekend box office

Ben Fritz
Los Angeles Times (MCT)

LOS ANGELES — "Toy Story 3" will rule the box office playground again this weekend as the ensemble comedy "Grown Ups" is set for a healthy start and the Tom Cruise action comedy "Knight and Day" is already sputtering.

"Knight," which stars Cruise as a spy and Cameron Diaz as a woman caught up on one of his missions, opened Wednesday to a weak $3.8 million. Distributor 20th Century Fox moved up the film's debut two days ahead of its planned Friday release and also had put on sneak previews Saturday in hopes of building word of mouth for the movie. The studio's marketing campaign has failed to catch on with the public in the last few weeks, resulting in low interest in pre-release surveys. Cruise and Diaz appear to be generating little excitement among the young moviegoers who primarily drive big summer opening weekends.

The picture, which is one of the few big-budget releases this summer that isn't a sequel or based on an existing property, opened a distant second to "Toy Story 3" on Wednesday and may struggle to reach the $25 million total by Sunday that Hollywood executives who reviewed the pre-release surveys had previously estimated. That would be a very weak debut given that Fox and its financing partners New Regency Pictures and Dune Entertainment spent $117 million to produce the spy caper before tax credits and tens of millions more on marketing. It would need to perform significantly better overseas, where Fox executives believe it will have strong appeal, to avoid being a major money loser.

Following its strong, $109 million opening last weekend, Pixar Animation Studios' third "Toy Story" movie has rung up phenomenal weekday ticket sales, bringing its total domestic gross to $154.5 million by Wednesday. Given its box-office momentum — stronger than for any previous Pixar feature — "Toy Story 3" is likely to collect more than $60 million in the U.S. and Canada this weekend, bringing its total take to more than $200 million in just 10 days.

The well-reviewed sequel is benefiting from excellent word of mouth that is drawing audiences of all ages, as well as some repeat viewers. If it continues to play as well as it has been, it could easily gross more than $400 million domestically for Pixar owner Walt Disney Co. and be the biggest hit of the summer.

Though it has virtually no shot at first place, Sony Pictures' comedy "Grown Ups," which stars a raft of well-known comedians including Adam Sandler, Kevin James and Chris Rock, is poised for a good opening. People who have seen pre-release audience surveys say it is generating strongest interest among men and should collect about $40 million this weekend.

That would be a solid launch for the movie about five old friends reuniting in middle age, particularly if it benefits from good buzz and keeps playing well for several weeks, as often happens with comedies. Sony and financing partner Relativity Media spent $70 million to $80 million on production, a relatively high amount for a comedy, though not given its numerous stars.

Despite the likely weak returns for "Knight and Day," it's looking like another strong weekend for the industry overall, helping Hollywood make gains in what has thus far been an overall disappointing summer compared with 2009. That trend should continue next week when the highly anticipated sequel "The Twilight Saga: Eclipse" opens, followed by "The Last Airbender," Paramount Pictures' live-action adaptation of the Nickelodeon animated TV series.


Music

Books

Film

Recent
Film

The Dance of Male Forms in Denis' 'Beau travail'

Claire Denis' masterwork of cinematic poetry, Beau travail, is a cinematic ballet that tracks through tone and style the sublimation of violent masculine complexes into the silent convulsions of male angst.

Music

The Cradle's 'Laughing in My Sleep' Is an Off-kilter Reflection of Musical Curiosity

The Cradle's Paco Cathcart has curated a thoughtfully multifarious album. Laughing in My Sleep is an impressive collection of 21 tracks, each unapologetic in their rejection of expectations.

Music

Tobin Sprout Goes Americana on 'Empty Horses'

During the heyday of Guided By Voices, Tobin Sprout wasn't afraid to be absurd amongst all that fuzz. Sprout's new album, Empty Horses, is not the Tobin Sprout we know.

Film

'All In: The Fight for Democracy' Spotlights America's Current Voting Restrictions as Jim Crow 2.0

Featuring an ebullient and combative Stacey Abrams, All In: The Fight for Democracy shows just how determined anti-democratic forces are to ensure that certain groups don't get access to the voting booth.

Music

'Transgender Street Legend Vol. 2' Finds Left at London "At My Peak and Still Rising"

"[Pandemic lockdown] has been a detriment to many people's mental health," notes Nat Puff (aka Left at London) around her incendiary, politically-charged new album, "but goddamn it if I haven't been making some bops here and there!"

Music

Daniel Romano's 'How Ill Thy World Is Ordered' Is His Ninth LP of 2020 and It's Glorious

No, this is isn't a typo. Daniel Romano's How Ill Thy World Is Ordered is his ninth full-length release of 2020, and it's a genre-busting thrill ride.

Music

The Masonic Travelers Offer Stirring Rendition of "Rock My Soul" (premiere)

The Last Shall Be First: the JCR Records Story, Volume 1 captures the sacred soul of Memphis in the 1970s and features a wide range of largely forgotten artists waiting to be rediscovered. Hear the Masonic Travelers "Rock My Soul".

Music

GLVES Creates Mesmerizing Dark Folktronica on "Heal Me"

Australian First Nations singer-songwriter GLVES creates dense, deep, and darkish electropop that mesmerizes with its blend of electronics and native sounds on "Heal Me".

Music

Otis Junior and Dr. Dundiff Tells Us "When It's Sweet" It's So Sweet

Neo-soul singer Otis Junior teams with fellow Kentuckian Dr. Dundiff and his hip-hop beats for the silky, groovy "When It's Sweet".

Music

Lars and the Magic Mountain's "Invincible" Is a Shoegazey, Dreamy Delight (premiere)

Dutch space pop/psychedelic band Lars and the Magic Mountain share the dreamy and gorgeous "Invincible".

Film

What 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?' Gets Right (and Wrong) About America

Telling the tale of the cyclops through the lens of high and low culture, in O'Brother, Where Art Thou? the Coens hammer home a fatalistic criticism about the ways that commerce, violence, and cosmetic Christianity prevail in American society .

Music

Alexander Wren's "The Earth Is Flat" Wryly Looks at Lost Love (premiere + interview)

Singer-songwriter Alexander Wren's "The Earth Is Flat" is a less a flat-earther's anthem and more a wry examination of heartache.

Music

Big Little Lions' "Distant Air" Is a Powerful Folk-Anthem (premiere)

Folk-pop's Big Little Lions create a powerful anthem with "Distant Air", a song full of sophisticated pop hooks, smart dynamics, and killer choruses.

Music

The Flat Five Invite You to "Look at the Birdy" (premiere)

Chicago's the Flat Five deliver an exciting new single that exemplifies what some have called "twisted sunshine vocal pop".

Music

Brian Bromberg Pays Tribute to Hendrix With "Jimi" (premiere + interview)

Bass giant Brian Bromberg revisits his 2012 tribute to Jimi Hendrix 50 years after his passing, and reflects on the impact Hendrix's music has had on generations.

Jedd Beaudoin
Music

Shirley Collins' ​'Heart's Ease'​ Affirms Her Musical Prowess

Shirley Collins' Heart's Ease makes it apparent these songs do not belong to her as they are ownerless. Collins is the conveyor of their power while ensuring the music maintains cultural importance.

Books

Ignorance, Fear, and Democracy in America

Anti-intellectualism in America is, sadly, older than the nation itself. A new collection of Richard Hofstadter's work from Library of America traces the history of ideas and cultural currents in American society and politics.

By the Book

Democratizing Our Data: A Manifesto (excerpt)

Just as big tech leads world in data for profit, the US government can produce data for the public good, sans the bureaucracy. This excerpt of Julia Lane's Democratizing Our Data: A Manifesto will whet your appetite for disruptive change in data management, which is critical for democracy's survival.

Julia Lane

Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews



Features
Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.