Movie Projector: ‘Toy Story’ to rule over solid ‘Grown Ups,’ struggling ‘Knight and Day’

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‘Toy Story 3' will rule the box office playground again this weekend as the ensemble comedy ‘Grown Ups’ is set for a healthy start and the Tom Cruise action comedy ‘Knight and Day’ is looking like a dud.

Following its strong $109-million opening last weekend, Pixar Animation Studios’ third ‘Toy Story’ installment rang up phenomenal weekday ticket sales, bringing its total domestic gross to $154.5 million on Wednesday. Given its box office momentum -- stronger than for any previous Pixar feature -- ‘Toy Story 3' is likely to collect more than $60 million in the U.S. and Canada this weekend, bringing its total take to more than $200 million in just 10 days.

The well-reviewed sequel appears to be benefiting from excellent word of mouth that is drawing audiences of all ages, as well as some repeat viewers. If it continues to play as well as it has been, it could easily gross more than $400 million domestically for Pixar owner Walt Disney Co. and be the biggest hit of the summer.

Though it has virtually no shot at No. 1, Sony Pictures’ comedy ‘Grown Ups,’ which stars a raft of well-known comedians including Adam Sandler, Kevin James and Chris Rock, is poised for a good opening. People who have seen pre-release audience surveys say it is generating strongest interest among men and should collect about $40 million this weekend.


The movie could benefit from good buzz and keep playing well for several weeks. Sony and its financing partner Relativity Media spent $70 million to $80 million on production, a relatively high amount for a comedy, though not given its numerous stars.

‘Knight and Day,’ meanwhile, will probably gross less than $20 million this weekend, people who closely follow box office said, after debuting to a soft $3.8 million on Wednesday.

Distributor 20th Century Fox has failed to get audiences excited over the last few weeks about the action comedy starring Cruise and Cameron Diaz, in part because of ineffectual marketing and also a lack of interest in the two stars among younger moviegoers.

It remains to be seen whether those who saw the movie Wednesday or in sneak previews last Saturday will recommend the picture, which received mixed reviews, to family and friends. Based on its current trajectory, however, ‘Knight and Day’ may not even gross a total of $25 million by Saturday, a very weak start given that it cost Fox and co-financiers New Regency Productions and Dune Entertainment $107 million to produce after tax credits.

-- Ben Fritz