Pixar's latest entry in the summer animation market was the #1 film at the North America box office Friday, but Wanted, the R-rated Universal actioner based on Mark Millar's comic book series, may wind up the Monday "buzz" champ. The film scoring an estimated $18.8 million dollars, which would put it on pace to score some $48-50 million this weekend, well in excess of most predictions/expectations.
The well-reviewed Wall*E totaled an estimated $23.3m on Friday, putting it on pace to record around $68m for the three-day frame, essentially in the predictive margin of error. But given its positive reception and the next week's long holiday weekend, Wall*E should continue to perform strongly ala Dreamworks Kung Fu Panda in the weeks ahead.
The Wanted performance will likely at the center of conversations when studios release their official estimates Monday morning, however. If its Friday pace holds, the film will easily be the highest grossing R-rated opening in June ever (surpassing last summer's Knock Up's $30.7m), and again, well exceeding most estimates.
Generally well-reviewed, and [despite its origins] filling a unique niche right now (the adult-oriented, non-superhero action-fest), Wanted could also prove to have decent box office legs moving forward.
Don't be surprised to see a quick official announcement of a sequel from Universal and comic book fans may want to keep an ear out for possible announcements of more Hollywood adaptations of Millar's various other creator-owned comic book properties.
UPDATE June 29th: And the news gets even better for Wanted. According to box office estimates at www.boxofficemojo.com, Wanted may have performed even better on Friday than originally estimated ($19.2m vs. the original $18.8m), had only an 8.4% drop-off from Friday to Saturday to post another $17.6m, and current three-day weekend estimates have it totaling $51.1m.
To put this figure in perspective, if these estimates hold when the official figures are released by studios Monday morning, the R-Rated Wanted will have garnered a higher per-screen average than the weekend's #1 film, the G-Rated Wall*E, which is performing well in its own right.
Look for more box office information Monday morning.