Weekend Report: 'Monsters' Repeats, 'Heat' Sets Fire to 'White House'
Proving once again that women do, in fact, like going to the movies, The Heat got off to a very strong start this weekend. The weekend's other new movie, White House Down, failed to differentiate itself from March's Olympus Has Fallen and wound up collapsing under the weight of all of the other appealing options in the market.

Still, it was Pixar's Monsters University in first place once again over another busy Summer weekend. The animated prequel dipped 45 percent to $45.6 million for a 10-day total of $170.4 million. That's a slightly better hold than Toy Story 3 (46 percent) or Brave (49 percent), and was way better than Cars 2 (60 percent). If it doesn't get completely obliterated by Despicable Me 2 this week, Monsters University should ultimately be able to get close to $300 million.

Playing at 3,181 locations, The Heat took second place with $39.1 million. That's star Sandra Bullock's highest opening ever ahead of The Blind Side ($34.1 million) and The Proposal ($33.6 million). It's also ahead of Melissa McCarthy's Identity Thief ($34.6 million) and director Paul Feig's Bridesmaids ($26.2 million).

It can't be said enough how important the Bridesmaids connection is here. That 2011 comedy is immensely popular, and reteaming the director with one of the movie's breakout stars (McCarthy) was a smart move. Add in Sandra Bullock playing a role right within her uptight wheelhouse, and this movie looked like catnip for female audiences who have been neglected so far this Summer.

Women wound up representing 65 percent of the opening weekend audience, which also skewed older (67 percent over the age of 25). They awarded the movie a solid "A-" CinemaScore; while it won't be a Bridesmaids level word-of-mouth success, it faces very little competition over the next few weeks and could ultimately earn over $150 million.

In its second outing, World War Z fell 55 percent to $29.8 million. While that sounds like a steep drop, it's at least on par with big-budget Summer action movies and not in line with horror movies (which was the fear in some corners). To date, the movie has earned $123.7 million, and now looks like it will give Mr. & Mrs. Smith ($186.3 million) a run for the distinction of highest-grossing Brad Pitt movie.

At 3,222 theaters, White House Down got off to a very slow $24.8 million start. In comparison, similar movie Olympus Has Fallen opened to $30.4 million with less star power and cheaper effects. It's also way off from star Channing Tatum's 2012 trifecta (The Vow/Magic Mike/21 Jump Street), all of which opened to at least $36 million.

While White House Down was too small-scale to possibly match director Roland Emmerich's biggest movies, this particularly disappointing debut should be chalked up to poor scheduling. While this is Sunday Morning Quarterbacking (trademark pending), it does seems like opening after Olympus Has Fallen hurt the movie's prospects. Armageddon and Deep Impact had the same basic premise, but the movies were very different after that; that wasn't the case with White House Down and Olympus Has Fallen, which had similar titles and imagery. It didn't help that Channing Tatum's female fanbase also had The Heat this weekend, and that action-craving audiences have been hearing good things about World War Z all week.

Distributor Sony Pictures reported that the audience was 51 percent female and 61 percent were 25 years of age or older. They gave it a good "A-" CinemaScore; while that suggests it will play well over the next few weeks, getting to $100 million seems like an impossibility given how low this debut was.

After getting crushed in its second frame, Man of Steel managed to ease the bleeding this weekend. The Superman reboot fell 50 percent to $20.8 million; to date, it's earned $248.6 million, which makes it the second-highest-grossing movie of the year so far behind Iron Man 3 ($405.4 million). It's now on track for between $290 and $310 million.

In sixth place, This is the End dipped 35 percent to $8.7 million. Through three weekends, the apocalypse comedy has earned $74.7 million, and it's now guaranteed to finish ahead of Pineapple Express ($87.3 million).

Surprise hit Now You See Me eased 29 percent to $5.6 million in its fifth weekend. On Friday, it passed $100 million, and is on pace to finish around $120 million.

Around-the-World Roundup

Already on pace to be a success at the domestic box office, World War Z expanded in to a handful of major overseas markets this weekend and scored an excellent $70.1 million. Adding in last week's grosses, the movie has already earned $135.3 million.

It opened to $12.3 million in Russia, and also performed well in Mexico ($7.9 million), Germany ($7.6 million), Brazil ($4 million) and Italy ($3 million). Across all of its new markets, World War Z earned $43.6 million; according to Paramount, that's way above Inception ($26.4 million), Rise of the Planet of the Apes ($23.5 million) and Prometheus ($26.5 million) across the same territories. All of those movies wound up with over $300 million overseas, which seems like a foregone conclusion now for World War Z.

Man of Steel earned $52.2 million this weekend for a total of $271.7 million. It opened to $8.7 million in Australia, and added $11.9 million in China ($46.5 million total). It's now passed $500 million worldwide, and still has Brazil and Japan left to open.

Monsters University took in $44.2 million from around 50 percent of the international marketplace this weekend. To date, it's earned $129.3 million overseas; add in its domestic total, and it's already past $300 million worldwide.

Ahead of its domestic debut, Despicable Me 2 grossed $41.5 million in just seven markets this weekend. Including previews, it stole away with an excellent $23.3 million in the U.K., and it also scored an impressive $8 million in France. Across all of its markets, it debuted significantly higher than the first Despicable Me, which ultimately wound up with over $291 million. Along with the U.S., Despicable Me 2 expands in to 38 more foreign markets this coming weekend.

Following its disappointing domestic start, White House Down's success is now dependent on its reception overseas. Playing in a few smaller markets, the movie earned $6.8 million this weekend; its only major territory was South Korea, where it scored a solid $2.1 million opening.

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'White House Down,' 'The Heat' in Race for Second This Weekend

This Weekend in Past Years:

• 2012 - 'Ted' Gets High, 'Mike' Scores

• 2011 - Pixar Tows 'Cars 2' to Top Spot
• 2010 - 'Toy Story 3' Charms Again, Sandler Doesn't Grow, Cruise Capsizes

• 2009 - 'Revenge of the Fallen' Rises with Optimal Debut

• 2007 - 'Ratatouille' Cooks, 'Die Hard' Lives

• 2006 - Sandler Controls Box Office Again

• 2005 - 'Batman' Sweeps 'Bewitched,' Swats Bug

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