Box Office: 'Monsters' Scares Up $137

'Man of Steel' drops 65% in its second Stateside frame and wins o'seas with $89 mil

It was likely all smiles for Disney and Paramount execs Sunday morning, as both studios’ wide openers — “Monsters University” and “World War Z” — fueled a monster-sized moviegoing weekend.

Monsters University” preserved Disney’s perfect record of opening every single Pixar film (now at 14) in the No. 1 spot: The toon grossed an outstanding $136.5 million worldwide, including an estimated $82 million domestically, which marks the second largest opening for a Pixar film (behind “Toy Story 3″) and the fifth biggest June bow of all time.

Overseas, “Monsters U” debuted with $54.5 million from 35 territories (or 48% of the international market).

As for Paramount, “World War Z,” the studio’s $190 million-budgeted gamble starring Brad Pitt, scored a boffo $110 million-plus worldwide opening, of which an estimated $66 million came from domestic theaters. That gives “Z” the highest Stateside debut for an original live-action film since “Avatar” opened with $77 million in December 2009.

Box office observers estimate that “World War Z,” which Skydance Productions co-produced, will end up with around $200 million domestically, based on exit polls and the film’s ‘B+’ CinemaScore rating. Internationally, “Z” should double that tally, at least.

The frame’s top ten alone contributed nearly $227 million domestically — a total not reached at any time (holiday or otherwise) during 2010.

“So much of this business is predicated on momentum,” said Disney distribution topper Dave Hollis. “Summer is here, and man is it good to see big ‘ole weekends like this.”

While “Monsters University” and “World War Z” successfully managed to co-exist this weekend, Warner Bros.’ “Man of Steel” fell slightly more than expected in its second frame, down 65%, for an estimated $41.2 million. Internationally, however, “Man of Steel” saw another massive chart-topping weekend, with $89 million. The film, which nears $400 million worldwide, was projected to fall domestically somewhere around 55%.

Still, the pic’s eventual drop is a respectable one coming off such a huge number last weekend, added to the competition this weekend from “Monsters University” and “World War Z.”

Several other holdovers fared well despite the over-stuffed frame, including Sony’s “This Is the End,” down 37%, and Lionsgate-Summit’s “Now You See Me,” which has been holding remarkably well in repeat frames. The magic-themed caper fell just 29% in its fourth frame, grossing $7.9 million for a domestic cume of $94.5 million.

Meanwhile, “This Is the End” collected an estimated $13 million in its sophomore outing, lifting its Stateside tally to nearly $60 million and counting.

Even the specialty box office gained momentum this weekend as A24 expanded Sofia Coppola’s “The Bling Ring” to an aggressive 650 locations, estimating $2 million in its second frame. Pic’s cumed $2.3 million domestically.

‘U’ to ‘Z’ spells boffo B.O. …

The combined success of “Monsters University” and “World War Z” illustrates the summer box office’s true potential to expand, though something had to give: Hello, “Man of Steel.” Never before during a non-holiday frame have three films grossed more than $50 million Stateside. That said, there’s hardly anything troublesome about the weekend’s results.

This time last year saw a sizable opening for a Pixar film (“Brave,” with $66.3 million), while a similarly adult-targeted original concept film — Fox’s “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” — struggled alongside earning just $16 million.

While “Monsters University” drew some non-families, at 27%, the Pixar film ultimately saw a larger-than-usual share come from parents and kids. By comparison, “Brave” earned 34% of its opening from non-family auds.

The younger turnout for “Monsters University” — which ultimately helped “World War Z” since it skewed 67% over 25 — could be attributed to Disney’s marketing of the toon as a sillier romp than past Pixar installments. Reviews for “Monsters University” also have been mixed, though the film received an ‘A’ CinemaScore.

… but not in 3D

With 31% of the gross, 3D contributed only a tad less for “Monsters U” than it did for “World War Z,” which earned 34% in 3D — with the benefit of premium large-format screens.

Similarly, “Man of Steel,” which earned 41% from 3D (including 12% Imax) last weekend, dropped to 35% in its second frame.

Par vice chairman Rob Moore said moviegoers now are more inclined to see a 3D movie (if they do at all) in premium large-formats like Imax. “It seems audiences are either picking the super premium 3D experience, or seeing a film in 2D,” Moore said.

The format has yet to beat this summer’s pathetic 3D pinnacle of 45% set by  “Iron Man 3.” Even films like Warner’s “The Great Gatsby,” which was marketed as a 3D event and has grossed more than $300 million worldwide, stalled in 3D domestically.

Overseas is where 3D continues to see the biggest returns.

In China, “Man of Steel” opened to $25.5 million, while in France it earned an estimated $8.2 million. “Man of Steel” also managed to beat fellow opener “Monsters U” in countries including Spain and Germany.

Meanwhile, “World War Z” bowed only in three major markets: South Korea led with $10.3 million, followed by the U.K., which contributed $7.1 million, and Australia, with $5.5 million. Par expands “Z” next week into several key territories, including Germany, Italy, Russia, Brazil and Mexico.

Domestic

Film (Weeks in release): 3-day gross*; Locations; Per-theater average; Cume*; Percentage change

  1. Monsters University (1): $82.0; 4,004; $20,480; $82.0; –
  2. World War Z (1): $66.0; 3,607; $18,298; $66.0; –
  3. Man of Steel (2): $41.2; 4,207; $9,797; $210.0; -65%
  4. This Is the End (2): $13.0; 3,055; $4,255; $57.8; -37%
  5. Now You See Me (4): $7.9; 2,823; $2,788; $94.5; -29%
  6. Fast and Furious 6 (5): $4.7; 2,417; $1,955; $228.4; -51%
  7. The Internship (3): $3.4; 1,916; $1,788; $38.4; -52%
  8. The Purge (3): $3.4; 2,201; $1,550; $59.4; -59%
  9. Star Trek Into Darkness (6): $3.0; 1,565; $1,917; $216.6; -52%
  10. Iron Man 3 (8): $2.2; 924; $2,354; $403.1; -27%

Overseas

Film (Weeks in release): 3-day gross*; Territories; Screens; Int’l cume*; Global cume*; Percentage change

  1. Man of Steel (2): $89.0; 52; 18,800; $188.3; $398.3; +21%
  2. Monsters University (1): $54.5; 35; n/a; $54.5; $136.5; –
  3. World War Z (1): $45.8; 25; 3,470; $45.8; $111.8; –
  4. After Earth (3): $13.4; 73; 6,370; $114.2; $171.5; -44%
  5. Fast and Furious 6 (6): $11.2; 62; 6,800; $437.5; $665.9; -44%

*in millions of $

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