`Toy Story 3' Has $41 Million Ticket Sales, May Be Record Debut for Pixar

“Toy Story 3” had $41 million in sales yesterday, putting the film from Walt Disney Co.’s Pixar on track this weekend to have a $100 million-plus debut, the best-ever for the studio.

It would be the third film this year to open at $100 million or more, joining Paramount’s “Iron Man 2” ($128.1 million) and Disney’s “Alice in Wonderland” ($116.1 million), box-office tracker Hollywood.com Box-Office said today in a statement. In addition, it would be Pixar’s 11th debut at No. 1.

Yesterday’s sales make a $100 million opening “a foregone conclusion,” said Paul Dergarabedian, president of Hollywood.com’s box-office tracking unit, in a statement.

“The Incredibles” is Pixar’s current top-grossing debut film with $70.5 million in 2004, Hollywood.com said.

“Toy Story 3” is the first installment of the franchise in 3-D. The film, featuring the voices of Tom Hanks as Woody and Tim Allen as Buzz Lightyear, follows the toys’ attempt to reunite with their owner, Andy, who is leaving for college.

Movie studios are turning to 3-D films to bolster attendance and ticket sales following the record box-office success of “Avatar,” James Cameron’s 3-D epic which has had sales of more than $706 million in the U.S. and Canada. Cinemas on average charge about $3 more per ticket for a 3-D film.

Imax Corp. 3-D showings had receipts of about $3 million yesterday, the best animated opening day for the giant-screen company, Hollywood.com said.

To contact the reporters on this story: Joe Sabo at jsabo@bloomberg.net; Alex Sherman in New York at asherman6@bloomberg.net.

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