With absolutely nothing else to challenge Brave, it should become the 13th consecutive #1 debut for Pixar, the animation studio that can do no wrong at the box office. But one question remains, can Brave live up to the lofty expectations that come with the Pixar pedigree?
Unfortunately critics don’t think the film lives up to past efforts from the studio. While Brave isn’t panned like last year’s Cars 2 (the only film with a rotten rating for the studio), its current 70% average is a far cry from the Pixar norm: Toy Story 3 (2010) with 99%, Up (2009) 98%, Wall-E (2008) 96%, Ratatouille (2007) 96% and only the original Cars (2006) stepping away from those numbers at 74%. That being said Pixar is still Pixar and Brave looks great, therefor it will make lots of money. I mean just think of this, over the last 17 years they had 9 films (out of 13) that went on to gross over $200 million in North America, each and every one coming in at #1 with numbers ranging from $29.1 million (for Toy Story in 1995) all the way to $110.3 million (Toy Story 3 in 2010). The average between those numbers is $69.7 million but I don’t think Brave can pull that off. For this film $55 million is probably more realistic.
Madagascar 3 will be looking at a 50% drop this weekend, mainly because Brave should steal some of its thunder. Even so, $17 million is a great number and enough for 2nd place, bringing the film to over $154 million after 17 days. That will continue to keep the flick way ahead of its predecessors at the same point in their runs.
The other new opener of the weekend is Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Silly name aside, this film is brought to us by Russian-Kazakh director Timur Bekmambetov, responsible for the bullet-bending action flick Wanted (2008). That one opened with $50.9 million thanks in no small part to Angelina Jolie and some insanely over the top previews. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, while still just as over the top, doesn’t have nearly the same pull as a modern action film starring the daughter of John Voight. But it should open with $15 million which probably sounds bad but it could be worse (Jonah Hex made $10.5 million during its entire run).
Prometheus will be at #4 with $10 million for an estimated total of $108 million after 17 days while the 3rd and final wide release of the weekend, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, starring Steve Carell and Keira Knightley, should come in 5th. This R-rated dramedy opens in only 1618 theaters so $7-8 million sounds about right here.
Next week is jam-packed with new films: Magic Mike, People Like Us, Madea’s Witness Protection and Seth MacFarlane’s Ted.