It's been almost 12 years since "Monster's Inc" debuted in theaters. In fact, the Pixar title was one of the first big releases to convince moviegoers to return to their local theater after the events on Sept. 11. Many in the industry were skeptical a prequel that told how buddies Mike and Scully first met would play up to Pixar's usual box office standards after so long a break, but it appears they didn't take into account a whole generation of kids who have seen the original on DVD or cable. Families flocked to "MU" on Friday as it opened to a superb $30.5 million.
Even more remarkable about "MU" taking the top spot was its competition was the Brad Pitt action flick "World War Z" and the second Friday of last weekend's champ, "Man of Steel." Saturday will bring even more family friendly audiences and "MU" is expected to gross at least $72 million by Sunday. That would make it the second biggest Pixar opening ever after "Toy Story 3's" $110.3 million just three years ago.
Recovering from initial bad buzz in second place was the aforementioned "World War Z." The Marc Forster directed zombie flick grossed $25 million. The Paramount release is expected to gross at least $55 million over the three-day. That would be a good start for a film that needs to find at least $600 million globally to cover its almost $200 million pricetag.
"Man of Steel" dropped to third with another $12.7 million and $181.4 million in just 8 days. At this point, "Steel" looks on track to hit $275-300 million when all is said and done.
"This Is The End" continued to find laughs in fourth with another $4.1 million and $48.8 million in its first 10 days. "End," which only cost $32 million, should earn a nice profit for Sony Pictures.
Dropping to fifth was Summit Entertainment's "Now You See Me." After finding $2.4 million on Friday, the sleeper hit has grossed a magical $89 million so far.
Look for updated weekend estimates Sunday on HitFix.