Wonder Woman easily overcame Cruise, defeating The Mummy last weekend at the box office to retain the #1 spot for its second week in a row, but week 3 will see the Amazing Amazon fall to cruise control.
Disney and Pixar's Cars 3, the third installment in the most maligned franchise the animation powerhouse has ever produced, is expected to earn somewhere in the neighborhood of $60 million this weekend, slightly more than Wonder Woman made in its second week.
A relatively normal drop in Wonder Woman's week two to three performance, though, should allow the film to hang on to the #2 spot at the box office, provided none of the smaller films opening this week overperform. The Tupac biopic All Eyez On Me, the raunchy sex comedy Rough Night and Mandy Moore's 47 Meters Down are all expected to open in the top five, but below Cars and Wonder Woman. The most likely of the three to outperform estimates and possibly change the look of the top five is probably Rough Night, which has a number of recognizable stars and a Hangover-like premise.
Focus Features is also releasing The Book of Henry in limited release -- a title that seems like an odd fit for comic book fans, but might be of interest to many of our readers.
"Eighteen years ago, I started writing a screenplay about a boy prodigy, his younger brother, and the single mother raising them," mystery novelist and comic book writer Gregg Hurwitz wrote to his mailing list yesterday in a message titled The Book of Henry. "It wasn't commissioned by a studio, didn't have anyone attached, and I had no idea where it was going to land. But these characters demanded to be written. After countless revisions and a whole lotta hoop jumping, their story is finally making it to the big screen this Friday."
An opening of $55 to $60 million would be considered a decent performance for Cars, but without strong buzz might still make it the lowest-grossing installment of the franchise. Cars opened at $60.1 million before going on to gross $244 million domestically; Cars 2, which received the worst reviews of any Pixar film, opened at $66 million but went on to earn only $191 million at the North American box office.
The degree to which the box office for Cars 3 matters is anybody's guess; the Cars franchise is bolstered by billions of dollars in toy sales, prompting jokes that while critics and even audiences might reject the movies (Cars 2 got a 39% Rotten Tomatoes score from critics and fared only marginally better -- 50% -- with audiences), it's the Cars merchandise that helps pay for critically-acclaimed movies like Wall-E and Up.
In the third film, Lightning McQueen is no longer the young hotshot, but an aging veteran who finds that the younger athletes are all starting to surpass him, in no small part because of their aggressive use of training techniques that were unavailable during his prime. After a harrowing accident threatens to make him give up racing forever, McQueen has to train himself back into racing shape in order to "ka-chow" one last time.
Cars 3 will be out in theaters tomorrow. Wonder Woman already is.