Based on weekend studio estimates, this weekend will be the largest overall June weekend of all time without adjusting for ticket price inflation. This weekend's top 20 films alone are estimated to take in a combined $235.5 million. The previous record of $210.0 million was set during the weekend of June 29 to July 1 of last year.
Disney's Monsters University led the way this weekend with an estimated debut of $82.0 million. The computer animated prequel from Pixar opened on the high end of pre-release expectations and registered the second largest debut ever for a Pixar film without adjusting for ticket price inflation (behind only 2010's Toy Story 3). The film's opening weekend performance represented the fifth largest unadjusted opening weekend on record for the month of June (behind only Man of Steel, Toy Story 3, 2009's Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and 2004's Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban). In comparison to previous sequels from Pixar, Monsters University opened 24 percent stronger than the $66.14 million start of 2011's Cars 2 and 26 percent below the $110.31 million debut of Toy Story 3.
Monsters University grossed $30.51 million on Friday (which included $2.6 million from late night shows beginning at 8 p.m. on Thursday), fell a slim 5.5 percent on Saturday to take in $28.83 million and is estimated to decline 21 percent on Sunday to gross $22.67 million. That places the film's opening weekend to Friday ratio at 2.69 to 1, which is similar to the ratios of past Pixar films released during June. Monsters University received a strong A rating on CinemaScore. That is a good sign for the film going forward, though it remains to be seen just how well the film will be able to hold up against Universal's Despicable Me 2 when that enters the marketplace on Wednesday, July 3.
The audience breakdown for Monsters University skewed heavily towards moviegoers under 25 (60 percent) and towards female moviegoers (56 percent).
When taking into account its much lower expectations, Paramount's World War Z was arguably just as impressive this weekend with an estimated second place start of $66.0 million. Weeks of mixed buzz ultimately had no effect on World War Z, as the expensive Brad Pitt vehicle performed like a summer event film instead of a high profile horror film this weekend. And given the film's event film level cost, it was obviously important for World War Z to get off to a strong start. World War Z registered the eighth largest unadjusted opening weekend ever for the month of June and the largest unadjusted debut ever for Brad Pitt (his previous best being the $50.34 million start of 2005's Mr. and Mrs. Smith). World War Z opened 30 percent stronger than the $51.05 million start of last year's Prometheus and just 14.5 percent behind the $77.21 million debut of 2007's I Am Legend.
World War Z opened with $25.2 million on Friday (which included $3.6 million from late night shows beginning at 8 p.m. on Thursday), fell 10 percent on Saturday to take in $22.6 million (which represented a strong Saturday hold for a high-profile genre release) and is estimated to fall 19.5 percent on Sunday to take in $18.2 million. The film generated an estimated opening weekend to Friday ratio of 2.62 to 1, which is a good sign going forward given the film's genre. World War Z received a B+ rating on CinemaScore, which is also a good sign, as films with horror elements typically receive lower CinemaScore ratings in general.
The audience breakdown for World War Z skewed heavily towards moviegoers 25 and over (67 percent) and was essentially evenly split between genders (51 percent female and 49 percent male).
After dominating the box office last week, Warner's Man of Steel fell two spots to third this weekend with an estimated $41.22 million. That represented a sharp 65 percent decline from last weekend's record breaking debut, as the one-two punch of Monsters University and World War Z clearly hurt Man of Steel in a big way this weekend. This weekend's hold is also a sign of just how inflated last weekend's debut was thanks to the initial rush out of fans and the added boost from the Father's Day holiday. In comparison, last year's The Dark Knight Rises fell 61 percent in its second weekend to gross $62.10 million. Man of Steel took in $12.68 million on Friday, increased 29 percent on Saturday to gross $16.3 million and is estimated to fall 25 percent on Sunday to take in $12.24 million.
On the positive side of things, Man of Steel did cross the $200 million domestic mark this weekend and has grossed a $210.01 million to date. The film has already surpassed the $200.08 million total domestic gross of 2006's Superman Returns, though it should be noted that Superman Returns didn't have the advantage of higher priced 3D admissions that Man of Steel has. Man of Steel is currently running 27 percent behind the $287.11 million ten-day start of The Dark Knight Rises. After this weekend's poorer than expected hold, reaching the $300 million domestic mark is by no means a lock for Man of Steel, but the film can still reach the milestone if it stabilizes going forward (which is still very possible, especially with the Independence Day holiday in the horizon).
Both Sony's This Is the End and Lionsgate's Now You See Me held up very nicely this weekend, especially when taking into account the combined debuts of Monsters University and World War Z. This Is The End fell 37 percent from last weekend to place in fourth with an estimated $13.0 million, while Now You See Me was down only 29 percent to land in fifth with an estimated $7.87 million.
With a twelve-day start of $57.79 million, This Is The End is running 8 percent behind the $62.74 million twelve-day take of 2008's Pineapple Express. This Is The End will continue to quickly close that percentage gap now that it is has overtaken Pineapple Express in day to day comparisons. Meanwhile, Now You See Me continues to outpace expectations in a big way with a 24-day take of $94.45 million and is now just $5.55 million away from reaching the $100 million domestic mark. Both Now You See Me and This Is The End have been helped out in a big way by strong word of mouth.
On the heels of last weekend's very solid start in platform release, A24's The Bling Ring was unable to maintain its early momentum upon expanding into limited release this weekend. The Sofia Coppola directed film grossed an estimated $2.0 million to place in eleventh among all films. The Bling Ring earned a modest per-location average of $3,077 from 650 locations. The film's start was noticeably softer than the $4.86 million grossed by A24's Spring Breakers (with a per-location average of $4,401 from 1,104 locations) during its first weekend of major expansion back in March. The Bling Ring took in $0.715 million on Friday, fell 5.6 percent on Saturday to gross $0.675 million and is estimated to fall 9 percent on Sunday to gross $0.615 million.