'Monsters University' scares zombies to lead box office

Sun Jun 23, 2013 2:06pm EDT
 
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By Ronald Grover and Chris Michaud

(Reuters) - "Monsters University," the prequel to Pixar's 2001 animated blockbuster "Monsters, Inc.," scared up $82 million in weekend ticket sales to easily outdistance the week's other new movie, the big-budget apocalyptic thriller "World War Z," which came in with an impressive haul of $66 million.

"World War Z,", the story of a zombie pandemic starring Brad Pitt, was Pitt's biggest opening weekend ever, easily outpacing the $50.3 million for "Mr. And Mrs. Smith."

Last week's top movie, the Superman reboot "Man of Steel", was third with ticket sales of $41.2 million.

"Monsters University," featuring the voices of Billy Crystal and John Goodman as monsters who flunk out of the college's scare program, continued the tradition of hugely successful films produced by Pixar, a unit of the Walt Disney Co.

It was Pixar's 14th consecutive film to head the box office for the weekend it premiered in theaters, according to Paul Dergarabedian, president of Hollywood.com's box office division, easily outpacing industry projections of a $70 million weekend.

"It definitely exceeded our expectations," said Dave Hollis, executive vice president of distribution for Walt Disney Studios. "The first film was so beloved and set such a high bar so we're ecstatic."

Hollis said "Monsters University" was boosted by word of mouth.

"It's turned into a bit of a date night option," he said. "And there haven't been a lot of family options in the marketplace."   Continued...

 
Life-sized characters of Mike (R) and Sullivan pose at the premiere of the film "Monsters University" at El Capitan theatre in Hollywood, California June 17, 2013. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni