“Monsters University” (Disney)

Despite stronger-than-expected 'World War Z,' record-setting weekend now very unlikely

Disney-Pixar’s “Monsters University” made the grade Friday with $30.5 million, putting its weekend prospects around $75 million for first.

Historically, the late June frame is a strong release window for Pixar pics. The Mouse has previously dated “Brave,” “Cars 2″ and “Toy Story 3″ to colorful numbers around this time, and “Monsters University” is proving no differently: this is looking to be Pixar’s second highest opening on record next to “Toy Story 3’s” $110 million in 2010.

World War Z” from Paramount and Skydance is beating its pre-weekend tracking with about $25 million from Friday, now in even better shape to secure that $60 million-plus bow some insiders predicted by midday Friday.

“Monsters University” combined with an overperforming “World War Z” puts the weekend in good shape, but not as good as some were expecting by Friday, as a record-setting frame no longer appears to be on the table.

Never before have the top three films on a non-holiday weekend earned more than $50 million, and this frame would be a prime candidate to break that record if not for one laggard: “Man of Steel.”

Initially expected to drop about 60% to the low $50 million range, the Warner Bros. holdover appears to have a sharper descent ahead of it than that. With just $12.7 million from Friday, the tentpole is looking at a weekend haul of around $40 million, suggesting that the PG-13 “World War Z” is taking a big enough bite out of the actioner’s market share to hold the “Man of Steel” down.

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