"MONSTERS UNIVERSITY"  (L-R) MIKE and SULLEY amongst other monsters.  ©2012 Disney/Pixar. All Rights Reserved


Monsters University may have topped the box office, but the winner this weekend is everyone, as the top four films did over $200 Million. World War Z smashed past expectations, while Man of Steel sank quickly, even as it passed $200 Million domestically. It was a big weekend for a non-holiday.

Film Weekend Per Screen Total
1 Monsters University $82,000,000 $20,480 $82,000,000
2 World War Z $66,000,000 $18,298 $66,000,000
3 Man of Steel $41,215,000 (-64.7) $9,797 $210,006,000
4 This is the End $13,000,000 (-37.3) $4,255 $57,792,000
5 Now You See Me $7,870,000 (-28.6)
$2,788 $94,451,000
6 Fast and Furious 6 $4,725,000 (-50.7) $1,955 $228,413,000
7 The Internship $3,425,000 (-52.1) $1,788 $38,365,000
8 The Purge $3,412,000 (-59.0) $1,550 $59,428,000
9 Star Trek Into Darkness $3,000,000 (-52.0) $1,917 $216,611,000
10 Iron Man 3 $2,175,000 (-26.4) $2,354 $403,120,000

With $82 Million, MU becomes Pixar’s second highest opening ever, and is only behind Toy Story 3. That means it should get close to $300 Million, and possibly top it. Though as a sequel it could be front loaded, and it will have to face that DreamWorks snail movie Turbo in a couple of weeks. We shall see.

World War Z is a triumph in that it did as well as it did. It’s not in 3D, and the marketing sold it more as a disease movie than a zombie movie. Considering this was one of the films this summer that looked like it could flop hard, it’s in a good place to make it to $200 Million domestic, which would be a huge win. Everything now is about next weekend. Big summer movies often fall 60% or more now, but often because they’re sequels/franchise films. This isn’t a franchise, so word of mouth might help (if people like it). But this is also something of a horror movie, and those often have huge drops.

Man of Steel, ouch. The question is if it can hang out long enough to get over $300 Million. I would probably argue that in terms of summer blockbusters, the reason why WWZ did so strong this weekend, and why Steel collapsed is because Z is more four-quadrant in its way. Superman is a big selling point, but as a franchise picture, it’s going to appeal more to the faithful, which can be a double edged sword. The film is doing strong internationally, it’s over $400 worldwide — which means it’s already grossed more that Superman Returns.  But it needs to hit around $300 Million domestic, and over $600 worldwide to feel like a win. We’ll get a sequel, but they also need to figure out what they did wrong.

This is the End might get kneecapped by The Heat (which opens next weekend and hasn’t sold itself well), but the film will easily double its production budget, and could play for a while. $80 Million is possible, $100 Million is unlikely. Now You See Me is still going strong, and will get to the nine digit mark, while everything else is just sort of hanging out. Fast and Furious 6 opened strong, but it hasn’t had great legs…. at least domestically.

Reality Check: I didn’t think World War Z was going to be this big, and that may have helped hurt Man of Steel.

What did you watch this weekend?