Cars 3 Drives to No. 1

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There’s no question that Wonder Woman is a pretty tough lady. Until now, she withstood all challenges to her reign as the box office’s very own Amazonian princess. But this weekend, the fabled warrior met her match: a band of Pixar automobiles.

Cars 3 let the good times roll. The estimated $53.5 million it earned over the weekend was just what it needed to claim the top spot and create yet another bit of moneyed magic.

Now, you might think that the folks over at Disney/Pixar headquarters would’ve been thrilled with Cars 3’s results. But sometimes in the world of theatrical finances, things can get all mixed up. Though it did indeed claim the box office title this week, Cars 3’s North American gross was the fourth lowest debut in Pixar history—and the second lowest if you account for inflation. (Only The Good Dinosaur fared worse). Comparatively few moviegoers turned to each other this weekend and said, “Let’s go to Cars 3!” As such, it might be the last Cars movie we see for a while. Then again, the estimated $10 billion the franchise has generated in merchandising since 2006 might well be enough to keep the suits at Disney/Pixar execs from saying, “Later, Mater.”

Wonder Woman, meanwhile, might’ve slipped to second place this weekend. But even then she did so in predictably stellar fashion. The DC superhero racked up $40.8 million. That, according to Box Office Mojo (which must keep records for everything), was the second-best third weekend ever, trailing only her Justice League cohort The Dark Knight.

Wonder Woman’s already lassoed $274.6 million in North America—more than Suicide Squad collected in its entire theatrical run—which makes it the year’s third-biggest film. (It trails Beauty and the Beast and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, in case you’re wondering.)

All Eyez on Me, a widely panned biopic of the life and death of rap icon Tupac Shakur, rolled into third place with about $27.1 million. That tally was almost double that of The Mummy, which rotted away in fourth with $13.9 million in its second weekend in theaters.

Trapped in a shark cage at the bottom of the Top Five, 47 Meters Down could only fish out about $11.5 million. Not great, to be sure, but keep in mind, this low-budget horror flick was originally supposed to swim straight to video. So even if it didn’t take a huge bite out of the box office, it likely nibbled enough to make its makers fairly happy.

Don’t know if the same can be said for the weekend’s other two newcomers. Rough Night, a rare Scarlett Johansson comedy, sank to seventh with about $8 million. And sweet-but-strange family fable The Book of Henry banked just $1.4 million for 13th (albeit in a more limited release).

Will Cars 3 be able to say, “Hello again” to No. 1 next week? Or will another round of robots in disguise drive it from the box office podium? Stop back next Monday to find out.

Who wrote this?

Paul Asay has been writing for Plugged In since 2007 and loves superheroes and finding God in unexpected places. In addition, Paul has also written several books, with his newest—Burning Bush 2.0—recently published by Abingdon Press. When Paul’s not reviewing movies, he hikes with his wife, Wendy, runs marathons with his grown kids, Colin and Emily, and beats back unruly houseplants. Follow him on Twitter @AsayPaul.

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Anonymous 5 months ago
Posted by First Comment Guy

I went to see Cars 3 this past Friday and personally, I loved it!

In my opinion, I think the first Cars gets WAYYYY too much hate. It was a pretty great movie, and it's a shame that people remember the Cars franchise from how bad the second movie was. Fortunately, the third movie fixes that, and in addition to being an apology for the second movie, it's a heartfelt story by itself.

Of all the movies that I've seen so far this year, Cars 3 is my favorite so far (beating out Wonder Woman and Kong: Skull Island), and I can't wait to buy the film on Dvd!
Anonymous 5 months ago
Just one quick correction. Suicide Squad made $325 million domestically, so Wonder Woman will pass it soon, but she hasn't yet.