Cars 2 springs a leak at the Box Office

According to Box Office Mojo Cars 2 continued being a decent draw during the week with totals in the respectable range:

Monday: $6,958,490
Tuesday: $7,089,413
Wednesday: $5,540,193
Thursday: $5,207,012

The real question is what would happen when faced by the latest Transformers juggernaut. Well the answer is a 69% drop from last Friday to this Friday for $7.8 million. Saturday was a small improvement at $9 million. That means an estimated $27 million take for the Fri-Sun weekend or a 60% drop-off. That 60% still earned them a #2 slot for the weekend. So not too shabby.

60% is about the bare minimum acceptable drop-off for holiday movies these days. It’s on course to beat its original, but not by much. And that’s not good considering theater admission costs more these days and Cars 2 was showing in 3D in many locations.

Disney business watcher James Stewart (author of the fun to read Disney War), writes a curious warning to John Lasseter not to let himself be steered off course by the suits in Burbank. Steward says Pixar is allowed this one mistake, but that the Story must remain King in Emeryville.

I don’t want to bash on Pixar for Cars 2. I actually found it to an enjoyable film. Pixar’s worst for sure, but even the worst Pixar film is better than much of the dreck that’s out there. Unfortunately, Pixar might be learning the same lesson Disney Animation learned in the 70s and 80s. When you’re held to a higher standard, that just means you have farther to fall. When you drop your standards for the purposes of crass commercialism, then you also lose the trust of your audience. Disney Feature Animation worked hard to reacquire that trust in the 90s only to lose it again through story telling with an eye on budget instead of story. If Disney allows Pixar to go down that path, this could mean big problems for their animation product.