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Brave: Pixar Movie Beating Box Office Expectations

Brave Pixar movieBrave: Pixar movie box office hit. Brave will easily top the North American box office this weekend. How easily? Well, don't be too surprised if Brave ends up grossing more than the next half-dozen runners-up combined.

Voiced by Kelly Macdonald, Emma Thompson, Julie Walters, Craig Ferguson, Robbie Coltrane, Kevin McKidd, and Billy Connolly, among others, Brave is expected to collect $70m by Sunday evening, after estimated Friday earnings of $25 million at 4,164 theaters (including 2,790 3D-equipped locations). Brave will thus mark Pixar's 13th first-place opening weekend at the U.S. and Canada box office. It'll also far surpass expectations, which had the girl-on-top movie scoring around $55 million over the weekend.

Pixar box office: Brave vs. Toy Story 3, Up, Finding Nemo

For comparison's sake: Pixar's Toy Story 3 opened $110.3 million at 4,028 locations in 2010; Up with $68.1 million at 3,766 locations in 2009 (about $72 million today); and Finding Nemo (not in 3D) with $70.25 million at 3,374 theaters in 2003 (about $92 million today).

The source for this weekend's estimates is Deadline.com, which adds that Brave has received an "A" CinemaScore from audiences. The tale of the rebellious princess Merida, who's both an expert archer and a dead ringer to Rachelle Lefevre's bloodthirsty vampire in The Twilight Saga: New Moon, Brave was received less enthusiastically by North American film reviewers. The animated feature has a passable 68 percent approval rating and 6.7/10 average among Rotten Tomatoes' top critics.

Brave likely critic-proof

Critics didn't matter when it came to either The Lorax (48 percent approval rating, top critics) or Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted (58 percent approval rating, top critics). And what they think of Brave won't matter to parents / guardians and the like. What matters is the Pixar / Disney brand.

That's good for the studio. Considering the animated feature's exorbitant cost – a reported $185 million – Brave will need all the word of mouth it can get. It'll also need to perform extremely well overseas, something that shouldn't be a problem. And then, of course, there are all those ancillary revenues (DVD/Blu-ray, VOD, toys, and who knows what else Disney's marketing staff will come up with).

Brave was directed by Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman, and "co-directed" by Steve Purcell. The screenplay is credited to Andrews, Purcell, Chapman, and Irene Mecchi.

Brave picture: Pixar / Disney Enterprises.

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