Disney’s ‘Monsters University’ Back as No. 1 Weekend Film

Walt Disney Co.’s “Monsters University” retained the top spot in U.S. and Canadian theaters for a second weekend, taking in $45.6 million in sales for the company’s Pixar studio.

“The Heat,” an R-rated action/comedy pairing Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy as Boston cops, opened in second with $39.1 million for Twentieth Century Fox, Hollywood.com Box-Office said today in a statement. The other new release, Sony Corp.’s “White House Down,” was fourth with $24.9 million, less than the $35 million to $41.6 million forecast.

“Monsters University,” a prequel to the 2001 hit “Monsters Inc.,” adds to the hit movies from Pixar. Disney bought the studio for $7.01 billion in 2006 as part of a plan to reinvigorate its animation business and focus on higher-profile movies with brigher profit prospects. It’s since bought Marvel Entertainment, producer of “The Avengers” and “Iron Man,” and Lucasfilm Ltd., owner of “Star Wars.”

“With Pixar, you do enough of them, but don’t flood the market with them and you promote the brands and the merchandising, it speaks to the success,” said Martin Pyykkonen, an analyst with Wedge Partners in Greenwood Village, Colorado.

‘Lone Ranger’

In the latest film, the young monsters Mike and Sulley arrive at college to train for coveted jobs scaring human children, whose screams generate the electricity that powers their alternate society. Since opening, “Monsters University” has taken in $170.4 million, according to Hollywood.com.

Disney will veer from its franchise formula on July 3 when it opens “The Lone Ranger,” based on the 1950s television series about a masked gunman who roamed the 19th century American West righting wrongs. In the new version, Armie Hammer plays the title character and Johnny Depp plays Tonto, his Native American partner.

Also opening next week is “Despicable Me 2,” a sequel to the 2010 animated hit from Comcast Corp.’s Universal Pictures.

In “The Heat,” Bullock plays an arrogant though by-the-book FBI agent. Problems arise when she is paired with a foul-mouthed Boston detective, played by McCarthy, to investigate a drug lord. The movie, made for an estimated $43 million, was forecast to take in $42.2 million by Box Office Mojo and $34 million by Boxoffice.com. The film had a 64 percent favorable rating on Rottentomatoes.com.

Odd Couple

“Bullock specializes in awkward and uptight, McCarthy in aggressive and unfiltered. ‘The Heat’ makes the most of those differences,” Los Angeles Times critic Betsy Sharkey wrote of the movie.

“White House Down,” stars Channing Tatum as a police officer who is rejected for a job protecting the U.S. president, played by Jamie Foxx. He ends up as the president’s unofficial bodyguard when, while taking his daughter on a White House tour, terrorists attack.

In “World War Z,” Pitt stars as a retired United Nations investigator who is called on to discover the origins of a virus that can turn humans into zombies in a matter of seconds. The film, based on Max Brooks’s novel, has taken $123.7 million since it opened.

Weekend revenue for the top 12 films fell 7.1 percent to $183 million from the year-earlier period, Hollywood.com Box-Office said. Attendance is down 1.5 percent this year, while revenue is 1.7 percent lower at $5.29 billion.

The following table has U.S. movie box-office figures provided by studios to Hollywood.com Box-Office. The amounts are based on gross ticket sales from June 28 to June. 30.

                        Rev.            Avg./   Pct.   Total
Movie                  (mln)  Theaters  Theater Chg.   (mln) Wks
 1 MONSTERS UNIVERSITY $45.6   4,004   $11,391  -45   $170.4   2
 2 THE HEAT             39.1   3,181    12,296   --     39.1   1
 3 WORLD WAR Z          29.8   3,607     8,255  -55    123.7   2
 4 WHITE HOUSE DOWN     24.9   3,222     7,713   --     24.9   1
 5 MAN OF STEEL         20.7   4,131     5,020  -50    248.6   3
 6 THIS IS THE END       8.7   2,710     3,211  -35     74.7   3
 7 NOW YOU SEE ME        5.6   2,564     2,189  -29    104.8   5
 8 FAST & FURIOUS 6      2.4   1,550     1,580  -50    233.4   6
 9 STAR TREK             2.1   1,035     2,029  -34    220.6   7
10 THE INTERNSHIP        1.4   1,008     1,420  -58     41.7   4
11 IRON MAN 3            1.4     540     2,521  -38    405.4   9
12 THE PURGE             1.2   1,122     1,095  -66     62.8   4

Top 12 Films Grosses

This Week Year Ago Pct. (mln) (mln) Chg. =================================== $183.0 $196.9 -7.1

Year-to-date Revenue

2013 2012 YTD YTD Pct. (mln) (mln) Chg. =================================== $5,292 $5,385 -1.7 Year-to-date Attendance: -1.5% Source: Hollywood.com Box-Office
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