This weekend’ summer box office race has an unprecedented three films securing over $50 million in a single weekend. Pixar’s “Monster University” is expected to come in first, with $73 million. “Man of Steel,” already a hit after its monstrous opening last week, will come in third with $47 million.
The biggest surprise (and relief), though, is Brad Pitt’s “World War Z,” which is performing way beyond expectations, and will come in second.
Paramount’s 3D World War Z (3,607 theaters), co-financed with Skydance Productions in association with Hemisphere Media Capital and GK Films, about an epic epidemic based on Max Brooks’ plague novel. It received a ‘B+’ CinemaScore from audiences which should help word of mouth. It’s overperforming with $25.5M Friday and at least $63M for the weekend after grossing a solid $3.6M in 2,600 screens for Thursday 8 PM previews and midnight late shows.
That has the studio moguls giddy with relief after all that pre-release bad buzz for producer and star Brad Pitt’s Plan B-bannered zombie pic – especially since statistics show only one original movie a year opens at $50+M. (“Franchises open bigger but originals play to better multiples as people start discovering them,” one exec tells me.)