Box Office Guru Wrapup: WALL-E and Jolie: Box Office Power Couple

The lonely robot rocks the boxoffice.

Metal ruled the North American box office as the robot adventure WALL-E and the assassin thriller Wanted featuring a gun-toting Angelina Jolie rocked the multiplexes hauling in an eye-popping $114M in combined ticket sales. It was the first time in history that two films opened with more than $50M each on the same weekend. Powered by the explosive openings of the pair of new releases, the weekend box office climbed to its highest point yet in 2008.

Robot love was in the air as moviegoers powered WALL-E into the number one spot with an estimated $62.5M in ticket sales. Playing in 3,992 sites, the G-rated space adventure averaged a sizzling $15,656 per theater and gave Pixar its ninth consecutive top spot debut. It was the eighth largest opening ever for an animated film and the fourth highest for Pixar after The Incredibles ($70.5M in 2004), Finding Nemo ($70.3M in 2003), and Monsters, Inc. ($62.6M in 2001). It was the third best bow for a G-rated film after (Nemo and Monsters) and WALL-E also gave Disney its biggest opening in over a year. Film critics were in awe with the computer-animated pic giving it some of the best reviews of any film this year.

Pixar's last film Ratatouille opened to $47M this weekend a year ago and was equally loved by critics, but featured a premise involving a rat cooking in a kitchen which turned off some audiences. The company's previous effort Cars bowed to $60.1M in early June 2006 and featured a better premise, but got mixed reactions from critics. This time around, WALL-E successfully delivered a story that could be universally loved and was applauded by reviewers. It even overcame the liability of having very little human dialogue. With a CinemaScore grade of A plus a major holiday weekend coming up for Independence Day, long-term prospects look solid as positive word-of-mouth is sure to spread.

The lonely robot kicked off its weekend with a potent $23.1M on Friday, Saturday sales dipped by 5% to $22M, while Sunday was estimated to drop by 21% to $17.4M. The Saturday decline was a bit unusual, but could be attributed to the upfront demand on Friday when most children were out of school. Studio research showed that 51% of the audience was female while 59% was under 25. Disney did report a high number of couples without children indicating that WALL-E is not only playing as a family film but as a date movie too.

Angelina Jolie's latest high-octane action vehicle Wanted may have settled for second place, but the Universal release scored a sensational debut that soared above all expectations. The R-rated pic launched with an estimated $51.1M over the weekend from 3,175 locations for a scorching average of $16,100 per theater. It was the seventh largest opening in box office history for any R-rated film and marks a new career high for the actress for a live-action opener. Her previous bests were also June action titles - 2005's Mr. and Mrs. Smith ($50.3M) and 2001's Lara Croft: Tomb Raider ($47.7M). Legally speaking, Jolie did not get top billing in Wanted but instead was third-billed in the credits after James McAvoy and Morgan Freeman and received the 'and' credit in the titles. Reviews were mostly positive.

The tale of an ordinary office worker recruited by a secret group of elite assassins was sold as a stylish action picture and was backed by a slick marketing campaign that accented the visual effects in the film. Russian director Timur Bekmambetov (Night Watch, Day Watch) put his unique stamp on the $75M production and word of Jolie's nude scene certainly did not repel any ticket buyers. According to studio research, males made up 52% of the crowd while 51% was under 30. Friday started with a bang with a $19.2M opening day, Saturday slipped 8% to $17.6M, and Sunday is projected to fall 19% to $14.3M. Wanted also generated the third best opening for an R-rated summer film behind only The Matrix Reloaded ($91.8M in 2003) and Sex and the City ($56.8M last month).

Universal also rolled out the assassin pic in 22 international territories and grossed an estimated $33M giving Wanted an explosive global debut of $84.1M. Russia led the way with $11M, the U.K shot up $8M, and South Korea kicked in $6.7M. The hit film is part of the studio's summer slate of action entries along with The Incredible Hulk from earlier this month, July's Hellboy II, and August's The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor.

WALL?E and Wanted capped off a sensational June box office that was on fire from start to finish. The marketplace could not be in better shape as it heads into the second half of 2008 which begins with the Fourth of July holiday session which gets an early start at 7pm on Tuesday night with the first showings of Will Smith's superhero actioner Hancock.

Dropping from first to third was the action-comedy remake Get Smart with an estimated $20M in its second weekend. Off 48%, the Steve Carell vehicle lost an understandable amount of business given the competition from new releases. The $80M-budgeted film has now grossed $77.3M in its first ten days and seems set to finish with $125-135M for Warner Bros.

The arrival of WALL?E prompted a larger decline than normal for rival animation entry Kung Fu Panda which dipped 47% to an estimated $11.7M in its fourth frame. With $179.3M tallied for Paramount and DreamWorks, the Po pic is running 6% behind the pace of 2006's June toon Cars which raced to $190.5M at this same point in its release.

Universal's The Incredible Hulk continues to show rapid audience erosion falling 58% in its third session to an estimated $9.2M. The Edward Norton starrer has smashed up $115.5M in 17 days putting it a scant 1% behind the pace of 2003's Hulk which stood at $117M at the same point in its run.

Mike Myers saw his latest comedy The Love Guru tumble 61% to an estimated $5.4M lifting the ten-day total to just $25.3M. The $60M production looks to end up with only $35-40M for Paramount.

Studio stablemate Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull came within a hair of joining the triple century club this weekend thanks to another solid hold. The Harrison Ford adventure dropped 41% and collected an estimated $5M in its sixth weekend boosting the cume to a stunning $299.9M. Add in Iron Man, Transformers and Shrek the Third and by Monday Paramount will have distributed four of the last five megahits to break the $300M barrier. Crystal Skull now sits at number 28 on the list of all-time domestic blockbusters after Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl which grossed $305.4M in 2003.

M. Night Shyamalan's eco-thriller The Happening collapsed another 63% to an estimated $3.9M for a $59.1M total for Fox. Sex and the City followed with an estimated $3.8M, off 42%, giving New Line and Warner Bros. an impressive $140.1M to date. Adam Sandler rounded out the top ten with Sony's You Don't Mess With the Zohan which dropped 57% to an estimated $3.2M giving the comedy $91.2M. Though a solid number, it is the worst total for one of the actor's broad comedies after the fourth weekend since 2000's Little Nicky.

A pair of May success stories dropped out of the top ten this weekend. The year's biggest blockbuster Iron Man finally fell out of the elite list in its ninth frame but still grossed an estimated $2.3M. Off 44%, the Marvel-Paramount smash saw its cume soar to $309.2M putting it at number 24 on the all-time hit list behind Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End which banked $309.4M last summer. With a hefty production cost of $185M, Iron Man should conclude its North American run with roughly $315M while its colossal worldwide total looks to reach beyond $600M.

Universal's hit horror film The Strangers tumbled 71% in its fifth scare to an estimated $611,000 boosting the total to a solid $51.5M. The R-rated fright flick cost just $9M and looks to end its run with $53M.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $175.9M which was up a sturdy 24% from last year when Ratatouille opened in the top spot with $47M; and up 26% from 2006 when Superman Returns debuted at number one with $52.5M.

Author: Gitesh Pandya,



Jamie Lynn

Put on your Sunday clothes when you feel down and out... strut down the street and have your picture took.

Jun 29 - 06:12 PM


Steven Allen

Wall-E FTW

Jun 29 - 06:27 PM

the moviegoer's critic

Mark Matthews Jr.

What word of Angelina's nude scene? What are they talking about?

Jun 29 - 06:46 PM


Gary Stanley

Unfortunately it was only a rear view, but an excellent rear view.

Jun 29 - 10:41 PM


John Potter

Wall-E was awesome. Glad Pixar's risks continue to pay off...

Jun 29 - 07:16 PM

Mr. & Mrs. B

Kevan and April Brenay

I am so glad that Wall-E did well that is awesome. I'm kind of disappointed in the Incredible Hulk, I hoped it would do better. It was a good movie, but perhaps that is why it isn't doing well, it is only good not great like Iron Man. Here is hoping that July keeps up the pace of June. I'm sure it will with movies like Hancock (sure hit for at least 150 million), Hellboy 2 (thinking somewhere in the 100 million mark) and The Dark Knight (at least 200 million).

Jun 29 - 07:34 PM


Uver Pena

I would say Wanted is the real winner, here's why It grossed well over half its budget and had a higher per theater average so therefore it's the real winner this weekend.

Jun 29 - 07:56 PM


Kelsey Hart

I agree. I'm happy it did in a way. If a sequel does get made, at least the budget will be cranked up several more notches. It'll be interesting to see what Timur can do with even more at his disposal. All in all, about what I expected.

Jun 29 - 08:19 PM

crazy jew

willie waisbren

dark knight, hancock, and hellboy II are going to be great.

but the best movie of the summer will be Pineapple Express.

Jun 29 - 08:13 PM


Kelsey Hart

I agree. I'm happy it did in a way. If a sequel does get made, at least the budget will be cranked up several more notches. It'll be interesting to see what Timur can do with even more at his disposal. All in all, about what I expected.

Jun 29 - 08:19 PM


Chris Moore

It was closer than I thought it was going to be. Nevertheless, I figured it would be Wall-E, Wanted, and Get Smart this weekend.

Now bring on Hancock and that 007 trailer!

Jun 29 - 08:27 PM


First Last

I agree with you Crazy Jew...hell, I am really looking forward to Dark Knight, it's driving me nuts.

Jun 29 - 08:30 PM


matthew ericson

WALL-E deserves every penny it gets. Haven't seen Wanted yet, but it seems like quite the crowd pleaser itself, so I think both of these movies are deserving of their success.

Jun 29 - 08:55 PM


Jonathan Ramsey

I said it a few days ago...Wall-E is going to gross $200-$225mil tops...I'm sure this opening was below expectations, as most people penned it in at about $75-$80mil. Dark Knight is going to destroy this...honestly? $150mil opening weekend, onwards to a $375-$400mil closing...don't even get me going on international box...

Jun 29 - 09:11 PM


ryan persaud way. Batman isn't big enough for $400 million, remember BB only grosses $205 million. If BB took $305 million, than that would be the case, but it's not.

Jun 30 - 09:13 AM

Bloody Mathias

Mathias N/A

Looks like everybody underestimated Angelina Jolie's boxoffice draw.
$50 million for Wanted?!? Oh yeah, it's the big winner this weekend.

$62 million is nothing to scoff at for Wall-E but from all the reviews citing it as the second coming of Jesus, I'm betting the folks at Pixar and Disney are a little bit disappointed. Looks like Toy Story 3 in 2010 is their best bet of beating Finding Nemo's $70 m OW.

First time in box office history that 2 films opened on the same weekend to over $50 mil? Really? That's never happened before? Jolie deserves more credit than i thought.

This summer's on fire and it looks like July's gonna continue that with Hancock (bound to get at least $200 m), Hellboy 2 (at least $125 m) and The Dark Knight (at least $300 m).

Bring on July!

Jun 29 - 10:39 PM

CoUcH ToMaToE DoUgIe

Shawn Amoroso

Yeah, Bloody Mathias, the Pixar folks must be crying today

considering they ONLY made the best reviewed movie of the year and will be

getting their second straight oscar for best animated motion picture. Yep,

Andrew Stanton must be crying... tears of joy that is :)

Jun 29 - 10:51 PM


Gary Stanley

Unfortunately it was only a rear view, but an excellent rear view.

Jun 29 - 10:41 PM


David Baril

Is it just me or is Angelina Jolie totally overrated? I saw her in wanted and felt she could have easily been replaced by any other pretty face. She too damn thin, too. Hell, she only had like 10 lines in the entire movie. She just stood around the entire time looking like a *****, and while i guess thats what the part called for, I almost think Halle Berry (the actress originally envisioned to play fox in the comic) would have done a better job. Overall the movie was kickass, and James Mcavoy really made the picture. i thought at first he was too much of a ***** to play a killer, but he really turned into a badass. Awesome Movie- I actually felt my pulse quicken when Mcavoy was attacking the fraternity and killing everyone in the loom factory.

Wall-e was good too.

BTW- Dark Knight needs to come out faster, if I read anymore reviews and spoilers I am going to destroy the whole Batman experience for myself.

Jun 29 - 10:45 PM


joe shmo

thanks for the spoiler you douche bag. try to be more careful because not everyone saw the movie opening weekend and, having never read the graphic novel, i wouldn't have know what was going to happen.

in other news, i saw 'wall-e' and, while i think the animation is some of the most impressive i've ever seen IN SPOTS (earth specifically and its inanimate objects), it was comparatively underwhelming in others (pixar has always said they have trouble with people and it really stood out here).

while i applaud their risk-taking in terms of the lack of dialog and the general message about the perils of sloth and over-consumption (two seemingly inherent american traits), I wasn't as enthralled by the movie as i have been with other pixar offerings. especially given the extremely high advanced praise for the movie, i guess i expected something more, or at least something else.

also, since i'm not in love with anyone right now, maybe that had some effect because the movie was dripping with sappy love swoons and "a whole new world"-esque flying sequences that didn't do much for me at all. So maybe you have to be gaga over someone already to really enjoy the themes (unless you're a kid, of course).

and speaking of the tikes, i have to imagine them getting bored at certain points. i mean i started to drift off and my attention span can't be as bad as that A.D.D.-struck generation.

i appreciate "Wall-e" for it's bar-raising effects and the boldness to blatantly defy convention. For what is was, the movie was excellent. i guess what it was just didn't appeal to me as much as i thought it would.

in short, there's no reason for me to watch it again for a long time, if at all. and just so people have a sense of where i'm coming from, here's how the pixar movies line up for me:

1. finding nemo
2. the incredibles
3. toy story
4. ratatouille
5. wall-e
6. monsters, inc.
7. a bug's life
8. toy story 2
9. cars

i'm probably in the minority that thought 'toy story 2' wasn't that great, but i think we can all agree that 'cars' sucked. 'wall-e' lands right in the middle of the pack and i spose i though it would at least be better than last year's 'ratatouille' which i also had high expectations for. oh well, i still recommend seeing it, but don't believe all the hype.

Jun 30 - 12:54 PM

CoUcH ToMaToE DoUgIe

Shawn Amoroso

Yeah, Bloody Mathias, the Pixar folks must be crying today

considering they ONLY made the best reviewed movie of the year and will be

getting their second straight oscar for best animated motion picture. Yep,

Andrew Stanton must be crying... tears of joy that is :)

Jun 29 - 10:51 PM


Biji Badness

the amount of hype for the next batman movie is INSANE on this website. Did someone really say it will make 150 million dollars on its opening weekend?? its going to be a hit, sure, but come on!! that would mean it has more box office potential than any of the pirates of the caribbean movies, and thats just plain wrong.

Jun 29 - 11:48 PM


christopher cantos

007 trailer is in "hancock".. ****!!! i've been w8ing for that .

Jun 30 - 02:51 AM


Gimy Moo

ZZzzzzzz...thats my reaction to WallE. no way it deserves that high of a rating, no...way. while it was slightly better than i was still boring and preachy. it was half Happy Feet(god forbid they write any dialogue) and half 2001 Space Odessey(boring space movie). pixar is going downhill in terms of actually ENTERTAINING movies. but like Lindsey Lohan...they continue to draw attention and i have no idea why

Crazy jew...i'm with ya on the Pineapple Express. but right now though...its all TDK. especially since some are wanting Ledger nominated for an oscar. i still have NO idea why they didn't opt to make a video game for TDK, seriously...what 2ss didn't want to capitalize on THAT one?

Jun 30 - 05:40 AM


Alex N

You're a moron.

Jun 30 - 04:56 PM


Alex Smith

The Angelina nude scene is only her butt...
but damn its amazing. Wanted is a sure fire crowd pleasure, a big loud perfect summer action flick. Don't miss it in the theaters, because it really is an experience. The most fun I've had at an action film since probably The Matrix. Just prepare for some heard scratching, borderline laughable plot points/holes.

And don't knock Wall-E! Its an astounding movie. Truly breath taking, and my second favorite Pixar film [behind Nemo]. Sure, its not rated R nor does it star a sexy gun-totting female assassin, but Pixar knows how to really craft a original, innovative storyline. And make a film with almost no human dialogue work. Yes, that IS art.

Jun 30 - 07:02 AM

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