Ticket sales for Disney/Pixar's Cars dropped significantly below what the company had expected on Sunday -- usually a good day for family films. As a result, the final weekend tally came to $60.1 million, rather than $62.8 million, as the studio had estimated. The drop in ticket sales seemed to suggest that word-of-mouth was not so strong as it had been for Pixar's previous animated films. (There were reports over the weekend that some parents were leaving theaters with restless kids before the movie ended.) If so, mid-week ticket sales for the movie -- usually a strong time for family fare during the first week of school vacation -- could be seriously affected. In any event, investors, sensing that Pixar may not prove to be the infallible entity that it was cracked up to be, began unloading Disney shares Monday. (At one point in early trading, they were down nearly 4 percent but then seemed to rebound, closing the day off 1.5 percent at $28.90.) In a note to clients, Citigroup analyst Jason Bazinet downgraded the stock to "hold" from "buy." Banc of America analyst Doug Shapiro wrote that the lower-than-expected box-office results for Cars raised "questions about the rationale for the Pixar deal." (Disney had acquired Pixar earlier in the year for $7.4 billion.) However, Doug Mitchelson of Deutsche Bank Securities pointed out, "The movie has little competition most of the rest of the summer and could continue to see revenue through the end of August." And several analysts stuck to forecasts that the film would earn between $600 million and $650 million worldwide.
The top ten films over the weekend, according to final figures compiled by
Exhibitor Relations (figures in parentheses represent total gross to date):
1. Cars, Disney, $60,119,509, (New); 2. The Break-up, Universal, $20,325,790, 2 Wks. ($73,926,040); 3. X-Men: The Last Stand, 20th Century Fox, $16,078,578, 3 Wks. ($202,244,652); 4. The Omen, 20th Century Fox, $16,026,496, 1 Wk. ($36,301,837); 5. The Da Vinci Code, Sony, $10,443,347, 4 Wks. ($189,171,331); 6. Over the Hedge, DreamWorks, $10,221,499, 4 Wks. ($130,213,521); 7. A Prairie Home Companion, Picturehouse, $4,566,293, (New); 8. Mission: Impossible 3, Paramount, $3,020,816, 6 Wks. ($127,491,115); 9. RV, Sony, $1,910,564, 7 Wks. ($64,921,678); 10. Poseidon, Warner Bros., $1,833,493, 5 Wks. ($54,928,443).
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