June 20 (Reuters) – Welcome back, Woody and Buzz.
Stocks | Global Markets | Media | Cyclical Consumer Goods
The animated heroes of “Toy Story 3″ sold $109 million worth of tickets during their opening weekend at the North American box office, reviving slow summer sales, according to estimates issued on Sunday by distributor Walt Disney Co (DIS.N).
The film scored the best debut for a film produced by Disney’s Pixar Animation unit. The old mark of $70.5 million was set by “The Incredibles” in May 2004.
Pixar’s perfect record of 11 No. 1 movies also remains intact, as expected. Woody the cowboy, Buzz Lightyear the spaceman and their pals in the toy chest starred in Pixar’s debut release, “Toy Story,” in 1995, a film that inaugurated the era of computer-generated animation. They returned in November 1999 with a sequel that opened to $57.3 million.
Ticket prices have risen since then, and “Toy Story 3″ received an extra boost from premium pricing for 3D screenings. Pundits had forecast a $100 million-plus opening for the film, which was universally acclaimed by critics.
Overall sales have been slow so far this summer, with films such as “Sex and the City 2″ and “Shrek Forever After” underperforming their predecessors.
Also new at the box office was the comic-book adaptation “Jonah Hex,” which is an early contender for biggest flop of the year. The movie, starring Josh Brolin as a Western bounty hunter, earned just $5.1 million during its first three days, according to Warner Bros. Pictures, a unit of Time Warner Inc (TWX.N). Pundits had generously forecast an $8 million-$10 million start for the movie, which reportedly cost $35 million to make. (Reporting by Dean Goodman; Editing by Sandra Maler) (please visit our entertainment blog via www.reuters.com or on blogs.reuters.com/fanfare/)