To no one’s surprise, Disney/Pixar’s ‘Cars 3’ won the race to take #1 at the box office this weekend, with $53.5 million.  The reviews for this latest installment– 65% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes– aren’t as good as those of the first movie (74%) but much better than those of ‘Cars 2’ (39%).  But kids don’t read Rotten Tomatoes.  ‘Cars 3’ earned an A CinemaScore, equal to ‘Cars”s A and higher than ‘Cars 2”s A-.

The $53.5M is somewhat low, but the ‘Cars’ brand skews toward younger kids– pretty much only.  It lacks the emotional heft of other Pixar films like the ‘Toy Story’ franchise and ‘Inside Out’ that appeal to broader audiences.

Along those lines,  ticket sales aren’t the real motive behind the ‘Cars’ franchise.  Sales of ‘Cars’ licensed merchandise stands at roughly $10 billion.  So suck that, critics.

Meanwhile, ‘Wonder Woman’ is still swinging with $40.77M in its third week.  This film didn’t open as big as ‘Batman V Superman’ or ‘Suicide Squad’ but it’s holding up better than either.  In their third weekends, ‘Batman v. Superman’ made $23.3M and ‘Suicide Squad’ took in $20.9M.  ‘Wonder Woman’ is benefiting from repeat viewings, by hitting an emotional chord with many, and they are going back over and over.  And most of them are women.  More on that in a bit.  To date, ‘Wonder Woman’ has racked up $274.6M domestic.

‘All Eyez On Me’, the biopic based on the life of Tupac Shakur, released on what would have been the rapper’s 46th birthday was projected to open at around $19-22M but zipped past those expectations and will come in around $27M.  This follows the success of 2015’s ‘Straight Outta Compton’ about N.W.A., but ‘All Eyez On Me’ isn’t wowing critics.  It only has a Rotten Tomatoes score of 24%, versus ‘Compton”s 87%.  But Tupac/2Pac remains one of the most respected artists in rap history, even 11 years after his death.  Despite the negative reviews, audiences were intrigued to check out the film for themselves and they disagreed with the verdict, giving it an A- CinemaScore.

Universal’s ‘The Mummy’ was a dud from the start with both critics and audiences and continues its spiral, although it appears that some people are still checking it out to decide for themselves.  It comes in at #4 with $13.9M.

Low-budget shark thriller ’47 Meters Down’ pulled an upset, taking in $11.5M.  But audiences failed to engage, giving this film a C CinemaScore. This film, released from the… *vaguely* named Entertainment Studios, features TV stars Mandy Moore (‘This Is Us’) and Claire Holt (‘The Originals’) as sisters trapped in a cage at the bottom of the ocean with only an hour of air and surrounded by sharks.  ’47 Meters Down’ surprisingly bested the movie that was predicted to enter the Top Five.

But first the numbers:

  1. Cars 3 (Disney/Pixar) – $53.5M
  2. Wonder Woman (Warner Bros.) – $40.77M
  3. All Eyez On Me (Lionsgate) – $27.1
  4. The Mummy (Universal) – $13.9M
  5. 47 Meters Down (Entertainment Studios) – $11.5M

It appears that ‘Wonder Woman’ is stealing the female audience from other female-skewing releases.  This weekend’s big dud is Sony’s Scarlett Johansson-starring raunchy comedy ‘Rough Night’.  Not only did the low-budget (and female-led) shark flick ’47 Meters Down’ pull an upset, but even ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales’ topped its weak $8.05M.

Even though ‘Cars 3’ did well, it won’t stand a chance against a bigger badder set of vehicles, the Transformers.  Or will it?  ‘Transformers: The Last Knight’ is the latest installment in the billion-dollar franchise, but as we’ve seen with ‘Pirates’, fans are snubbing some long-running franchises.  At any rate, it should still come in at #1.  In counter-programming, there’s Sofia Coppola’s ‘The Beguiled’, which recently won the Palme D’or at the Cannes Film Festival.  This western drama stars Nicole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst, Elle Fanning and Colin Farrell.  It won’t beat a bunch of giant robots, but it may surprise.

Check back to see how things shape up.

Source: Deadline