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Pixar’s ‘Cars 2’ Is Top Movie With $66.1 Million in Sales

“Cars 2,” the 3-D animated feature from Walt Disney Co. (DIS)’s Pixar studio, opened as the top film in U.S. and Canadian theaters this past weekend, collecting $66.1 million in ticket sales.

“Bad Teacher,” the R-rated Sony Corp. (6758) comedy featuring Cameron Diaz, opened in second place with sales of $31.6 million, researcher Hollywood.com Box-Office said today in an e- mailed statement.

“Cars 2,” a sequel to a 2006 film, is the first from Pixar to draw mostly unfavorable reviews, with only 33 percent of 148 critiques positive at Rottentomatoes.com. That compares with 74 percent for the original. The film was expected to collect as much as $70 million in its first weekend and $250 million in its domestic theatrical run, the estimate of Doug Creutz, a San Francisco-based analyst with Cowen & Co.

“Pixar is arguably the strongest brand in the business; the name brings people out regardless of anything at this point,” said Brandon Gray, president of researcher Box Office Mojo. Still, he said, the performance was “relatively tepid as far as Pixar movies go.”

Potential merchandise sales likely led to the decision to make the sequel, Creutz wrote in a June 23 note. The original film has driven almost $10 billion in global merchandise sales, most of it through licensing, of which Disney collects up to 15 percent, Creutz said. Disney expects sales of “Cars 2” toys and products to top the $2.8 billion from “Toy Story 3” last year, his note said.

$6.8 Billion

In “Cars 2,” race car Lightning McQueen and tow truck Mater head overseas so that McQueen can compete in the World Grand Prix auto race. Their adventure becomes complicated when Mater becomes involved in a top-secret spying mission. Owen Wilson and Larry the Cable Guy (Daniel Lawrence Whitney) provide the voices of McQueen and Mater.

Pixar’s 12 films all have opened at No. 1 and the filmmaker has generated $6.8 billion in revenue worldwide through yesterday, according to Hollywood.com. Disney acquired the studio in 2006.

“Bad Teacher” features Diaz as a burned-out, foul-mouthed teacher who hopes to escape her job by marrying an idealistic, and wealthy, colleague. Justin Timberlake, Jason Segel and Lucy Punch co-star.

Given Diaz’s “spotty track record when it comes to carrying a movie,” Gray said, “it really brings her back.”

‘Super 8’

Green Lantern,” from Time Warner Inc. (TWX)’s Warner Bros., dropped to third from first with $18 million. The 3-D film, based on the D.C. Comics character, has generated $89 million in worldwide sales since it opened on June 17. It cost about $200 million to make, according to Box Office Mojo.

The film stars Ryan Reynolds as a self-indulgent test pilot, Hal Jordan, who is recruited to join a force of intergalactic superheroes dedicated to battling evil forces. To harness the power that comes with his new calling, he must first learn to master himself.

“Super 8,” the science-fiction thriller from J.J. Abrams and Steven Spielberg, finished fourth with sales of $12 million in its third weekend. Made for an estimated $50 million, the film has taken in $95.1 million since its June 10 release.

“Super 8” tells the story of a group of teens who uncover a dangerous government secret while filming an amateur movie. The picture stars Elle Fanning, sister of Dakota Fanning, and Joel Courtney.

Woody Allen

The Jim Carrey comedy “Mr. Popper’s Penguins,” fell to fifth from third in its second weekend, taking in $10.1 million for News Corp. (NWSA)’s Twentieth Century Fox.

Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris,” finished in 11th place with sales of $4.2 million. Receipts total $28.3 million since the film’s May release, making it Allen’s best commercial success since the 1986 film “Hannah and Her Sisters” collected $40.1 million, according to Box Office Mojo.

Revenue for the top 12 films this past weekend rose 8.3 percent to $170.1 million from a year earlier, Hollywood.com said. Domestic box-office sales this year have declined 7.6 percent to $4.9 billion. Attendance is down 9 percent.

The amounts below are based on actual ticket sales for June 24-26.

                      Rev.             Avg./   Pct.  Total Movie
               (mln)  Theaters  Theater  Chg.  (mln)  Wks
================================================================
 1 CARS 2            $66.1    4,115  $16,072    --    $66.1    1
 2 BAD TEACHER        31.6    3,049   10,365    --     31.6    1
 3 GREEN LANTERN      18.0    3,816    4,724   -66     89.0    2
 4 SUPER 8            12.0    3,424    3,513   -44     95.1    3
 5 MR. POPPER’S       10.1    3,342    3,036   -45     39.3    2
 6 X-MEN: FIRST CLASS  6.7    2,633    2,537   -44    132.9    4
 7 HANGOVER PART II    5.6    2,755    2,023   -45    243.7    5
 8 BRIDESMAIDS         5.3    2,031    2,590   -26    146.5    7
 9 PIRATES CARIBBEAN   4.9    2,244    2,196   -26    229.3    6
10 KUNG FU PANDA 2     4.2    2,527    1,651   -54    153.1    5
11 MIDNIGHT IN PARIS   4.2      951    4,386   -15     28.3    6
12 THE TREE OF LIFE    1.3      215    6,177    14      5.8    5


Top 12 Films Grosses

   This Week     Year Ago      Pct.
     (mln)         (mln)       Chg.
===================================
    $170.1        $157.0      +8.3


Year-to-date Revenue

     2011          2010
      YTD           YTD        Pct.
     (mln)         (mln)       Chg.
===================================
    $4,896        $5,301      -7.6

Year-to-date Attendance:     -9.0%

To contact the reporters on this story: Michael White in Los Angeles at mwhite8@bloomberg.net; Robert Langreth in New York at rlangreth@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Palazzo at apalazzo@bloomberg.net

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