First look: 'Toy Story 3' tops box office; 'Jonah Hex' plays to tumbleweeds [Updated]
Boosted by universally positive reviews and higher 3-D ticket prices, "Toy Story 3" posted the biggest opening ever for a Pixar movie and the second best of summer 2010, while Western comic-book adaptation "Jonah Hex" was a major box-office misfire.
[Update, 3:05 p.m.: An earlier version of this post incorrectly said "Toy Story 3" had the best opening of Summer 2010. In fact, "Iron Man 2" was higher.]
"Toy Story 3" sold $109 million in tickets in the U.S. and Canada this weekend, according to an estimate from distributor Walt Disney Pictures. That's the biggest opening ever for a Pixar movie, even accounting for ticket-price inflation, signifying huge interest in seeing the film.
Indeed, though its opening is behind that of 2007's "Shrek the Third," which started with $122.5 million and virtually tied with 2004's "Shrek 2," "Toy Story 3" had the biggest opening-day gross of any animated movie, collecting $41 million on Friday.
"Toy Story 3" is only the second Pixar film to play in digital 3-D, providing a big boost to its box office thanks to ticket-price surcharges. Last year's "Up" was in 3-D as well (though in 929 fewer theaters) but opened to a significantly smaller $68.1 million.
The only chink in the "Toy Story 3" opening-weekend armor: Its ticket sales declined 10% from Friday to Saturday. That's rare for animated movies, which usually get a boost from Friday to Saturday as more families come to matinees on the weekend. It's unlikely the movie suffered from negative word of mouth; the average audience grade was A, according to market research firm CinemaScore. It could mean, however, that despite the bigger opening, "Toy Story 3" won't end up with a higher final gross than past Pixar movies. The most successful, "Finding Nemo," had a total domestic gross of $339.7 million.
[Updated, 9:45 a.m.: "Toy Story 3" grossed $4 million from midnight shows early Friday morning, which accounts for the Friday-Saturday decline. It's very unusual for an animated movie to play midnight shows on its opening day.]
Overseas, "Toy Story 3" opened in several major markets that Disney said represented about 25% of its international potential and grossed a solid $44.8 million, with particularly strong showings in Latin America and China.
"Jonah Hex," meanwhile, opened to a dismal $5.1 million, the second-worst debut of any movie this year, ahead of only the "Saturday Night Live" comedy "MacGruber." But "Jonah," which stars Josh Brolin and Megan Fox, wasn't an inexpensive comedy, as Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures spent a sizable, if not huge, $47 million on production, including the cost of extensive re-shoots that apparently did little to increase the film's appeal.
In limited release, "Cyrus" opened to a fantastic $180,289 at four theaters in Los Angeles and New York. The comedy, starring John C. Reilly, Marisa Tomei and Jonah Hill and directed by the Duplass brothers, took in an average $45,072 per location, the second-best start for a movie in limited release this year behind Roman Polanski's "The Ghost Writer." Distributor Fox Searchlight Pictures will continue to expand the number of theaters in which "Cyrus" is playing over the next several weeks.
Last weekend's new movies both held on reasonably well against "Toy Story 3," as "The A-Team" dropped 46% to $13.8 million and "The Karate Kid" declined 48% to $29 million.
-- Ben Fritz
Photos, from top: A scene from "Toy Story 3." Credit: Disney / Pixar. John C. Reilly and Jonah Hill in "Cyrus." Credit: Chuck Zlotnick / Fox Searchlight