Weekend box office will be off the "WALL-E"

Fri Jun 27, 2008 12:03am EDT
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By Gregg Kilday

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - R2-D2, C-3PO, Robby the Robot, Robocop and the T-1000 all better step aside to make room: As of this weekend, there will be a new robo-star in town.

His name is WALL-E -- an acronym for Waste Allocation Load Lifter Earth-Class -- and the little fella is a bit of a drone who has been left behind on Earth to clean up mankind's mess. The hero of Pixar's latest, similarly titled "WALL-E," he makes his debut Friday nationwide via Walt Disney Pictures.

While the weekend's other new wide release, Universal's R-rated action film "Wanted," should do a brisk business of its own, it's not looking to compete for the crowds expected to rush to embrace "WALL-E."

The early reviews have been ecstatic, hailing the Pixar team, this time headed by director Andrew Stanton ("Finding Nemo") for raising the animation bar again. So it's a safe bet that Pixar will enjoy its ninth successive No. 1 opening.

"WALL-E," which cost about $120 million to make, is not expected to open as big as 2004's "The Incredibles" ($70.5 million) or 2003's "Finding Nemo" ($70.3 million), but it should top the $47 million opening that "Ratatouille" achieved last summer as it pushes well into $50 million territory, possibly even flirting with the $60 million mark.

"Wanted," in which James McAvoy plays an everyman drawn into a world of high-powered assassins by a supercharged Angelina Jolie and Morgan Freeman, will follow with a weekend haul likely in the mid- to high-$30 million range. Filmmaker Timur Bekmambetov, until now known for the Russian "Night Watch" movies, directed the $75 million movie.

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter

<p>The animated character Wall-E is shown in a scene from the film "Wall-E". The film features dystopian landscapes, social commentary and a lack of conventional dialogue that are rare under the Walt Disney Co. banner, but it sticks to Pixar's basic themes of love, loyalty and friendship. REUTERS/Disney-Pixar/Handout</p>