Sunday, September 21, 2008

Pixar Kicks Ass at Box Office -- Again

A lonely little robot made millions of friends during the weekend and even outgunned Angelina Jolie.

"WALL-E," the Pixar Animation tale of a robot toiling away on a long-abandoned Earth, debuted as the No. 1 movie with $62.5 million in ticket sales, with Jolie's assassin thriller "Wanted" opening in second place with $51.1 million, according to studio estimates Sunday.

The two movies combined to keep Hollywood on a roll. The top 12 movies took in $179.2 million, up 22 percent from the same weekend last year, when Pixar's "Ratouille" opened with $47 million.

"WALL-E" maintains the perfect track record of Pixar, the Walt Disney unit that has made nine films, all of them critical and commercial successes, including "Cars," "Monsters, Inc." and the "Toy Story" flicks. "Finding Nemo" and "The Incredibles" put up the biggest opening-weekend numbers among Pixar movies, both pulling in just over $70 million.

Set centuries in the future, "WALL-E" is the story of a rickety, walking trash compactor that humans left running after abandoning the over-polluted planet.

The movie overcame a dialogue challenge the two main robot characters barely speak, beyond each other's names using wildly inventive visuals and sound effects to propel much of the story.

Like other Pixar films, "WALL-E" packed in family crowds, as well as adults without children.

"The real secret is they're not children's movies. They're movies for everybody. Children absolutely adore them, but parents enjoy them on a different level," said Mark Zoradi, president of Disney's motion-picture group. "You can't be nine-for-nine like Pixar is without that."

How does Pixar do it? The popular school of thought was that once they became part of Disney, the Pixar "magic touch" would be diluted. Not true, so far.

According to their web site, Pixar believes that "art can't be rushed. They take the time necessary to do things informatively and with high quality.

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