'Monsters' tops box office again
By Andrew Bridges
LOS ANGELES "Monsters, Inc." crushed the competition for a second straight week and set an animated film record for breaking $100 million in ticket sales.
Sulley (left) and Mike (right) in Disney/Pixar's new animated feature, "Monsters, Inc.," featuring the voices of John Goodman and Billy Crystal.
"Monsters" crossed the $100 million threshold Saturday after just nine days in theaters reaching a total of $123 million to eclipse previous animated film record holder "Toy Story 2," which took 11 days to reach that level in 1999. Both are products of the Disney/Pixar partnership.
"It's just one of those really great rides," said Chuck Viane, Disney's head of distribution. "The public obviously is buying this picture in a way that is record-breaking for animation and that bodes extremely well for our business."
The success of "Monsters" heralds what should be a record-breaking year for Hollywood. Box office receipts are on track to surpass last year's $7.7 billion total and to break $8 billion for the first time. Fourteen films have passed $100 million this year.
"It's pretty much a foregone conclusion we'll break last year's record," said Paul Dergarabedian, president of Exhibitor Relations, which tracks the box office.
"Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone," the feverishly anticipated movie based on the best-selling series of books about a British orphan with magical powers, should further swell the total. It opens next weekend.
"It could be one of the biggest weekends of the year, maybe one of the biggest weekends of all time," Dergarabedian said.
Advance tickets are selling briskly and no other major releases scheduled that weekend.
Opening in second place during the weekend was "Shallow Hal," with $23.3 million in ticket sales.
"Hal" stars Jack Black as a superficial skirt-chaser hypnotically duped into falling for a fat woman played by Gwyneth Paltrow. The movie comes from brothers Peter and Bobby Farrelly, the team behind gross-out pics such as "Dumb and Dumber" and "There's Something about Mary."
'"Monsters, Inc.' is monstrous. I have no problem being No. 2 to that," said Bruce Snyder, president of domestic distribution for 20th Century Fox.
Also opening was "Heist," starring Gene Hackman as the ringleader of a band of gold thieves. The film opened in 5th place, behind "The One," starring Jet Li, and "Domestic Disturbance," starring John Travolta. It took in $8 million.
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at North American theaters, according to Exhibitor Relations Co. Inc. Final figures are to be released Monday.
- "Monsters, Inc.," $46.2 million.
- "Shallow Hal," $23.3 million.
- "The One," $9.1 million.
- "Domestic Disturbance," $8.5 million.
- "Heist," $8 million.
- "K-Pax," $6.2 million.
- "Thirteen Ghosts," $4.2 million.
- "Life as a House," $3.7 million.
- "Riding in Cars with Boys," $2.1 million.
- "Training Day," $1.9 million.