Box office: Brad Pitt has best opening ever — and it’s still second place

Slightly more people saw "Monsters University" this weekend than they saw "World War Z." Credit: Pixar/Disney
Slightly more people saw “Monsters University” this weekend than they saw “World War Z.”
Credit: Pixar/Disney

“Monsters University,” the prequel to Pixar’s 2001 animated blockbuster “Monsters, Inc.,” scared up $82 million in weekend ticket sales to easily outdistance the week’s other new movie, the big-budget apocalyptic thriller “World War Z,” which came in with an impressive haul of $66 million.

“World War Z,”, the story of a zombie pandemic starring Brad Pitt, was Pitt’s biggest opening weekend ever, easily outpacing the $50.3 million for “Mr. And Mrs. Smith.”

Last week’s top movie, the Superman reboot “Man of Steel”, was third with ticket sales of $41.2 million.

“Monsters University,” featuring the voices of Billy Crystal and John Goodman as monsters who flunk out of the college’s scare program, continued the tradition of hugely successful films produced by Pixar, a unit of the Walt Disney Co.

It was Pixar’s 14th consecutive film to head the box office for the weekend it premiered in theaters, according to Paul Dergarabedian, president of Hollywood.com’s box office division, easily outpacing industry projections of a $70 million weekend.

“It definitely exceeded our expectations,” said Dave Hollis, executive vice president of distribution for Walt Disney Studios. “The first film was so beloved and set such a high bar so we’re ecstatic.”

Hollis said “Monsters University” was boosted by word of mouth.

“It’s turned into a bit of a date night option,” he said. “And there haven’t been a lot of family options in the marketplace.”

Distributed by Paramount Pictures, “World War Z” was delayed from its initially planned December release after the studio decided to reshoot the final third, pushing its budget from $170 million to more than $200 million, according to published reports.

Paramount said the film, which Pitt produced, cost $190 million to produce. Pitt stars as a former U.N. crisis specialist called upon to help defeat zombies who threaten to take over the planet.

The film had been forecast to rack up ticket sales of about $50 million, according to Hollywood.com’s box office division, while the studio said it was looking to the high 40s, given the competition from “Monsters” and “Man of Steel.”

“I don’t think there’s a person on the planet who thought this would open at $66 million,” said Don Harris, Paramount’s president of distribution. “These are pretty heady numbers.”

“We’re in really good shape” heading into the lucrative peak summer season weeks including the July 4 holiday, Harris said.

“And we certainly broadened the audience,” he added, noting the film’s 51 percent female-49 percent male audience breakdown, unusual for a big budget summer action film.

“Man of Steel,” which stars British actor Henry Cavill as the muscled superhero, has generated domestic ticket sales of $210 million, already more than 2006′s “Superman Returns,” which starred Brandon Routh and took in just over $200 million.

Directed by Zack Snyder, the current version was distributed by Warner Bros.

“This Is the End,” the apocalyptic comedy written by star Seth Rogen and his childhood friend Evan Goldberg, collected $13 million to take fourth place in the United States and Canada.

“Now You See Me,” starring Woody Harrelson and Jesse Eisenberg as magicians who evade the police after high-profile robberies, was fifth with ticket sales of $7.9 million, pushing its total domestic take to just under $95 million.

“Despicable Me 2,” which opens July 3 in North America, had a strong debut in Australia where Universal opted to open the film early to coincide with winter school holidays. The film took in $4.3 million, added to $2.1 million from paid previews last week.

“Monsters University” was distributed by the Walt Disney Co. Warner Brothers, a unit of Time Warner, distributed “Man of Steel.” Viacom’s Paramount Pictures unit distributed “World War Z.” Sony’s film studio distributed “This is the End.” “Now You See Me” was distributed by Lions Gate Entertainment.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Miley Cyrus hospitalized, cancels Kansas concert, condition unknown,…

Singer Miley Cyrus was hospitalized on Tuesday night after suffering what is believed to be 'a severe allergic reaction' to antibiotics medication. The 21-year-old Bangerz…

News

Explosions in new Boston Marathon bomb panic, 'twisted'…

A fresh Boston Marathon terror alert, which caused Bomb Squad officers to order an evacuation while two controlled explosions were carried out, was today being…

National

Reddit boosts news capabilities in social media turf…

By Jennifer SabaNEW YORK (Reuters) - Reddit, a website with a retro-'90s look and space-alien mascot that tracks everything from online news to celebrity Q&As,…

Local

New York joins accord to strengthen popular vote…

New York State joined a nationwide effort that would gives the state's 29 electoral votes for president to the candidate who wins the national popular vote.

Entertainment

Miley Cyrus hospitalized, cancels Kansas concert, condition unknown,…

Singer Miley Cyrus was hospitalized on Tuesday night after suffering what is believed to be 'a severe allergic reaction' to antibiotics medication. The 21-year-old Bangerz…

Television

'Orphan Black's' Jordan Gavaris talks Felix's Season 2…

Jordan Gavaris plays heroically helpful foster sibling Felix to main clone Sarah on "Orphan Black." We talked to him about what’s ahead for him in…

Going Out

Accomplice Tour: New York (Spoiler Alert)

When I signed up for the Accomplice show tour, I had no idea what I was in for. But every grimy job comes with a great reward.

Television

TV watch list, Tuesday, April 15: 'New Girl,'…

'New Girl' Nick and Jess are hiding their breakup from the other loft residents. And Winston passes the police academy exam! That guy needed some…

NBA

Nets miss chance to clinch No. 5 seed…

Nets head coach Jason Kidd expressed little concern after a 109-98 loss to the Knicks, but others seemed to disagree.

NFL

Jets confident despite Chris Johnson leaving with no…

Jets fans clamored for a playmaker on offense all offseason. It looked like they were going to land that player on Tuesday when Chris Johnson…

NBA

Knicks, Nets rivalry never materialized despite national attention

When the NBA schedule was released, the league anticipated an intense rivalry between the Nets and Knicks with all four games slated for national TV.

NBA

NBA Power Rankings: Are the Spurs frauds? Could…

NBA Power Rankings: Are the Spurs frauds? Could the Mavericks surprise?

Home

Steal home decorating tips from Nattystyle blogger Natalie…

Despite the towering ceilings and enviable exposed brick, it’s easy to see how Natalie Decleve’s apartment could be considered a challenge. Perched above the streets…

Home

How to plant a garden in the city

Small on space but big on gardening? You can still have that welcoming oasis of fresh air with an urban garden. Peter Smith, owner of…

Style

Personalize your massage at a private practice

CityTouch customizes spa treatments to meet client's needs.

Style

Victoria's Secret Fashion Show moving to England

It will still broadcast on CBS this fall.