LOS ANGELES – Turns out zombies and Superman are no match for monsters.
Disney’s “Monsters University” is the weekend box-office winner, according to studio estimates released Sunday. The animated family film, which reunites stars Billy Crystal and John Goodman and their characters from the 2001 hit “Monsters, Inc.,” debuted in first place with $82 million, beating out swarming zombies in “World War Z” and Superman himself in “Man of Steel.”
“The diversity of this weekend is part of what makes this business so great,” said Dave Hollis, Disney’s head of distribution. “It’s a really extraordinary weekend for the industry.”
Especially for “Monsters University,” Pixar’s 14th consecutive film to open in first place. Such expectations of excellence put a “healthy pressure” on filmmakers, Hollis said: “To deliver that kind of quality consistently is a differentiator in the marketplace.”
Still, the film exceeded studio expectations with its domestic totals, he said.
Paramount’s Brad Pitt zombie romp overcame critical advance publicity to open in second place with $66 million. Media reports months ahead of the film’s opening chronicled its problems, including a revamped ending that delayed its release.
Rewrites and reshoots sent the film over budget. It ended up reportedly costing more than $200 million to make, but early reviews were positive.
Paramount’s president of domestic distribution, Don Harris, called the opening “spectacular.”