"Toy Story 3" could give the summer box office a second big booster shot in as many weeks if industry expectations become marketplace reality.
Disney's 3D threequel should earn as much as $100 million during its first weekend, a record for a Pixar-produced movie. "The Incredibles" holds the title of the best Pixar opener, debuting with $70.5 million in May 2004 en route to a $261.4 million total in North America.
Coming a week after current champ "The Karate Kid" outpaced projections by more than $20 million, a lively "Toy 3" debut would help the season's early lackluster grosses fade from memory. But not all the theatrical news will be positive: The comic-book adaptation "Jonah Hex" is likely to open in the $8 million-$10 million range, for what would be Warner Bros.' second summer disappointment after "Sex and the City 2."
"Karate Kid" should ring up $25 million or more in its second weekend, despite family-audience overlap with "Toy Story 3", and even Fox's underperforming "The A-Team" is expected to fetch more in its second round than "Hex."
Starring Josh Brolin in the title role of a Western bounty hunter, the $35 million "Hex" is struggling under a fanboy hex after taking creative liberties in making the leap to the big screen. Fansite posts have derided aspects of the picture's story line and character development.
"While I wish the tracking was stronger, sometimes it's hard to read," said Dan Fellman, president of distribution at Warner Bros. "We'll just have to wait and see how it shapes up."
Industrywide, this Father's Day weekend will be compared with last year's $151 million session topped by the $33.6 million bow of Disney's romantic comedy "The Proposal." Year-to-date box office is up 3%, at $4.68 billion, thanks mostly to higher ticket prices.