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'Brave' shoots to the top of box office

By Todd Cunningham

"Brave" and its red-tressed heroine Princess Merida had the box office all bowed-up this weekend, posting a $66.7 million debut.

Find: Most popular animated films of all time

"This is Pixar doing what Pixar does," Disney's executive vice-president of exhibition Dave Hollis told TheWrap  Sunday. "They have created very high expectations and they've delivered." Audiences agreed, giving the movie an "A" CinemaScore.

It's the 13th consecutive No. 1 opening for Pixar, and marks the summer's second major box-office score for Disney with a film from an in-house studio partner. Marvel's superhero mashup "The Avengers" posted the biggest box-office bow in U.S. history in May and has gone on to make more than $1.4 billion worldwide.

Also on TheWrap: 7 Anti-Blockbusters You Must See This Summer

"The similarity between the two is that they were both great movies," Hollis said.

"Brave" posted the second-best June opening for an animated film ever, behind only 2010's "Toy Story  3," which bowed to $103 million for Pixar in 2010.

Audiences skewed female at 57 percent and 55 percent were under 25 years of age. Families made up 66 percent of the crowds, couples 22 percent and teens 12 percent. Concerns that the female heroine would keep young males away vanished.

"Being brave and chasing your fate are themes that transcend gender and age," Hollis said. "The only way you get the kind of numbers we did is to resonate with families and adults, and Pixar can do that."

"Brave" blew away the competition. "Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted," for two weeks running the No. 1 movie worldwide, finished a distant second with $20.2 million. The two other movies opening wide this week, Fox's "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter," and Focus Features' "Seeking a Friend for the End of the World," disappointed with $16.5 million and $3.8 million respectively.

"Brave" benefited from a massive rollout. It's 4,164 locations were the most ever for a Pixar film and 2,790 of those screens were 3D and delivered 34 percent of the receipts. The movie's per-screen average was $16,028.

The opening for "Brave" matches that of Pixar's last release, last summer's "Cars 2," which opened to $66 million and went on to make $191 million and $560 million worldwide. Disney would like to see numbers closer to those posted by "Toy Story 3," which grossed more than a billion dollars globally in 2010.
"Brave" opened in 10 overseas territories this weekend -- about 17 percent of the foreign market -- and took in another $13.5 million. The studio plans a staggered overseas rollout, in part to stay away from European soccer and other studios' animated offering.

"Brave" carried a roughly $185 million production budget, tells the tale of Princess Merida who, determined to make her own way in the world, defies a custom that brings chaos to her kingdom and family. Granted one wish, Merida must rely on her bravery and her archery skills to undo a beastly curse.

The voice cast features Kelly Macdonald as Merida, Billy Connolly, Emma Thompson, Julie Walters, Robbie Coltrane and Craig Ferguson. Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman direct, with Katherine Sarafian producing and Pete Doctor, John Lasseter and Andrew Stanton executive producing.

While Fox had to be disappointed with the $70-million genre-monster mashup "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter," it could take some solace in the No. 4 showing of "Prometheus." Ridley Scott's sci-fi epic did $10 million over the weekend and has now made more than $108 million in the U.S. in three weeks.

Universal's "Snow White and the Huntsman" took in $8 million playing at 2,919 theaters, upping its U.S. overall gross to $137.1 million.

In its second week, Warner Bros.' "Rock Of Ages" also brought in $8 million, from 3,470 screens, to raise its overall U.S. gross to $28.7. 

Sony's "That's My Boy" took in $7.9 million from 3,030 locations this weekend, a 41 percent drop from its opening last week, raising its overall U.S. gross to $28.1 million.

The studio's "Men in Black 3" kept chugging, adding $5.6 million to up its overall U.S. gross to $163.3 million.

Four films open wide next week: Warner Bros.' stripper film "Magic Mike," the drama "People Like Us" from Buena Vista, Universal's teddy bear comedy "Ted" and "Tyler Perry's Madea's Witness Protection" from Lionsgate.

Here's how the top 10 movies fared this weekend:
"Brave," $66.7 million
"Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted," $20.2 million
"Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" $16.5 million ;
"Prometheus," $10 million
"Snow White and the Huntsman," $8 million
"Rock of Ages," $8 million
"That's My Boy," $7.9 million
"The Avengers," $7 million
"Men in Black 3," $5.6 million
"Seeking a Friend for the End of the World," $3.8 million

More from TheWrap:
'Brave' Review: More Than Just Another Arrow-Slinging Heroine
'FDR: American Badass!' Trailer Will Give Historians Nightmares (Video)

Jun 24, 2012 12:33PM

I took my son on Saturday to see the movie "Brave", and quite honestly, I didn't  have high expectations, especially after seeing Madagascar 3. We were bored and I thought we check it out, just to past the time.  Boy, was I wrong!!! I loved....loved.....loved.....loved this movie!!! I laughed, I even cried. Beautiful movie!!! A MUST SEE!!!! My son, who isn't a moviegoer like myself truly loved this movie!!!! It starts off a little slow, but believe me..... you won't be disappointed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Jun 24, 2012 8:23PM

 I love, love, love Pixar!!!! They are all good, but my favorite all time has to be the one that started it all, Toy Story!  My least favorite is Cars, which makes no sense.  Now, as for Brave, I am looking forward to see it.  I can't wait!   And yes, I am an adult too.


Jun 24, 2012 6:36PM
What's your all-time favorite Pixar movie?
I loved the first half of WALL-E.  Then it was a toast up between UP and Toy Story 3, but Toy Story 3 just barely nudges out UP, which is just slightly above WALL-E -- and, yes, I am an adult.  
Jun 25, 2012 7:10AM
The reason Pixar opens weekends at #1 is because they are family movies. When you have kids and can go see a movie that they will enjoy, then thats at least 3 tickets (parents and child, unless its a single parent home). Where as the adult movies, its usually only one or two. So Pixar will continue to dominate with the kids movies. Not to mention that they make movies that are enjoyable, for the most part.
Jun 24, 2012 5:00PM
I went to see Brave with my two children and my husband. We all loved the movie. My five-year old was laughing and she was so into it. I really liked that they made it so the kids could understand the significance of following your dreams and trusting those who truly love you and the importance of family. I laughed and cried, it was really entertaining and it kept my kids busy for the 1 hour and 30 minutes (or so) that the movie played. The movie is for the whole family and it has a great message. I really recommend it. My oldest is already telling me she wants to be like Princess Merida, strong and smart!
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