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Weekend Box Office: Pixar pulls into first, but will probably lose the race

June belongs to Pixar, usually. Just about every year, right around the official first day of summer (as opposed to the start of the summer movie season, which most recognize as the first weekend of May, even though “summer movies” now open year-round), the house that Woody and Buzz built releases another zippy and technologically breathtaking animated adventure. And they almost always open atop the box office. Cars 3 is no exception: The third installment in an ongoing franchise about vehicles that think they’re people sped into first place this weekend, easily besting the three other new wide releases that opened against it. But at $53.5 million, its first-weekend gross was one of Pixar’s softest ever, ahead of only the studio’s first two features (Toy Story and A Bug’s Life), the relatively (and bafflingly) underperforming Ratatouille, and troubled production The Good Dinosaur.

It’s fitting that one of Pixar’s weakest movies scored one of its weakest opening weekends. But Cars 3 didn’t need to post Finding Dory numbers for it to be worth Pixar’s while (and enormous reserves of creativity, money, and time). These films, after all, are merchandizing gold mines, and the money made on toys, T-shirts, and other items bearing Lighting McQueen’s ungodly smiling hood-face could easily assure another trip to Radiator Springs a few summers from now. Still, any possibility that Pixar will own this June the way it has several previous ones is disappearing faster than the old-time America the Cars films sentimentally lament. No, this June almost surely belongs to Wonder Woman, which fell only 30 percent in its third weekend, adding another $40 million to a grand total that now stands—mightily, like a Greek goddess atop Mount Olympus—at $274 million.

The massively popular DC blockbuster landed in second place for the weekend, ahead of several new releases. But there was enough patronage to go around for movies that didn’t cost arms and legs. All Eyez On Me, a musical biopic about Tupac Shakur, exceeded expectations by opening with a cool $27 million—considerably less than what Straight Outta Compton first made a couple summers ago, but enough to make you wonder why box-office analysts keep underestimating the chances of movies by, for, and about African-Americans. 47 Meters Down also did better than expected; its $11.5 million opening should be ample evidence, after last year’s equivalently performing The Shallows, that people also want to spend their June evenings watching bikini-clad women stranded in small spaces by sharks. Only Rough Night had a particularly, uh, rough weekend: Its $8 million opening landed the film in seventh place, right ahead of Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie.

Will the new Transformers film, which opens in just two days, slow Wonder Woman’s ongoing blockbuster roll? Or will it make like the Tom Cruise domestic dud The Mummy and fail to draw many away from the year’s most talked-about superhero picture? Either way, Cars 3 should have no trouble holding onto the patronage of filmgoing families—though only for another weekend, as a different part three in an animated series featuring bizarre, annoying humanoid creatures is arriving right before the holiday. If June doesn’t belong to Diana Prince, it will surely go to those damn jabbering minions.

For more detailed numbers, visit Box Office Mojo.

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