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Box Office: ‘Cars 3’ Races Past ‘Wonder Woman’ to No. 1

Variety logo Variety 6/18/2017 Seth Kelley
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This weekend featured a heated race between four new films that opened in wide release. As of Sunday morning, it appears some have fared better than others.

The big winner is Disney and Pixar’s “Cars 3,” which is speeding to $53.5 million from 4,256 locations, putting it in first place. That’s a lower opening than “Cars” ($60.1 million) and “Cars 2” ($66.1 million), but still enough to win the weekend. The first two “Cars” movies combined have made more than $435 million in the U.S. and $1 billion globally. The “Cars” films are far from Disney and Pixar’s highest earners, but “Cars 3” is another example that even a decent opening for the duo is a victory in the big picture.

The movie comes from director Brian Fee, who was a storyboard artist on the first two “Cars” films, as well as “Ratatouille” and “Wall-E.” The ensemble voice cast of “Cars 3” includes Owen Wilson, Cristela Alonzo, Armie Hammer, Larry the Cable Guy, Bonnie Hunt, Nathan Fillion, Kerry Washington, and Lea DeLaria.

“This, at the end of the day, is a very important franchise for the company,” said Disney distribution chief Dave Hollis, who pointed to the centering of Cristela Alonzo’s Cruz Ramirez in the third installment. “We’re seeing, once again, the power of putting a female protagonist front and center … There is now a new generation of ‘Cars’ fans.”

“Cars 3” bumps “Wonder Woman” out of first place, but the super hero movie continues to show strong. With an estimated $40.7 million from 4,018 locations, the Warner Bros. and DC Comics film is seeing another extremely low drop of 32% from last weekend.

“In a world where the typical superhero blockbuster starts out strong and the quickly fades, ‘Wonder Woman’ sees her star shining even more brightly as time goes on … and that is a rare thing indeed,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at ComScore.

Otherwise, Tupac biopic “All Eyez on Me” from Lionsgate and Summit is beating out expectations with an estimated $27.1 million from 2,471 locations. Demetrius Shipp Jr. plays the mythologized rapper. Benny Bloom — who has two feature films and a long list of music videos on his resume — directed the film that explores Shakur’s origins, rise, and imprisonment. The release date aligns with what would have been Shakur’s 46th birthday.

47 Meters Down” is opening to $11.5 million from 2,270 locations. It’s the first major release from Entertainment Studios, which acquired the project from its original distributor, Dimension Films. Mandy Moore and Claire Holt star as sisters who decide to go cage diving, and end up at risk of being attacked by sharks.

Finally, “Rough Night,” a raunchy, fem-centric R-rated comedy from Sony, is on track to earn only $8.1 million from 3,162 locations. The project combines the talents of director and co-writer Lucia Aniello, co-writer and actor Paul W. Downs, and star Ilana Glazer — the three are frequent collaborators on Comedy Central’s “Broad City” and “Time Traveling Bong.” Scarlett Johansson, Kate McKinnon, Jillian Bell, Zoe Kravitz, and Glazer make up a rowdy girl gang who reunite for a bachelorette weekend that goes horribly wrong.

“It is genuinely a funny movie that was made at the right price, and there is a place for Rough Night as summer counter-programming in the coming weeks,” said Sony’s distribution chief Adrian Smith.

“Rough Night” will land in seventh for the weekend behind its fellow newcomers, “Wonder Woman,” the second weekend of “The Mummy” ($13.9 million) and “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” ($8.5 million).

In limited release, Focus Features’ “The Book of Henry” is on track to make $1.4 million from 579 locations. “While we’d certainly hoped to be a little quicker out of the gate, we are encouraged that the film is being embraced by audiences who scored it in the high eighties in exit polls,” said Lisa Bunnell, distribution president at Focus Features.

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