Brave movie: Pixar's 3D animated feature opens strongly. Featuring the voices of Kelly Macdonald, Emma Thompson, and Billy Connolly, among others, Pixar's Brave movie easily topped the North American box office this weekend (June 22-24). In fact, Brave's estimated $66.73 million – at 4,164 theaters, including 2,790 3D-equipped locations – was more than the total gross of the next five runners-up combined (Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, Prometheus, Rock of Ages, Snow White and the Huntsman).
Brave thus marked the 13th consecutive first-place opening weekend for a Pixar release at the U.S. and Canada box office. Additionally, Brave far surpassed expectations, which had the animated feature scoring around $55 million on its debut weekend. (Though the 3D movie ended up earning about $3 million less than early Friday box office estimates seemed to indicate.)
Pixar box office: Brave vs. Cars 2, Toy Story 3, Up, Finding Nemo
For comparison's sake: last year, Pixar's Cars 2 opened with $66.13 million at 4,115 sites; Toy Story 3 debuted with $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). Of the aforementioned four titles, Toy Story 3 and Finding Nemo were by far the most successful, selling about as many tickets. (Note: bear in mind that 60 percent of Toy Story 3's first-weekend gross came from 3D houses.)
The tale of the rebellious princess Merida, who's both an expert archer and a dead ringer to Rachelle Lefevre's bloodthirsty vampire in Chris Weitz's The Twilight Saga: New Moon, Pixar's Brave has a passable 68 percent approval rating and 6.7/10 average among Rotten Tomatoes' top critics.
Brave, which cost a reported $185 million, 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. The voice cast also includes Julie Walters and Robbie Coltrane.
Box office source: Box Office Mojo.
Brave picture: Pixar / Disney Enterprises.