"The Incredibles" lived up to their name at the box office as the animated superhero adventure debuted with $70.7 million in its opening weekend, continuing an unbroken string of hits for Pixar Animation.
If numbers hold when final figures are released Monday, "The Incredibles" would have the second-best opening weekend among animated flicks, coming in just ahead of Pixar's 2003 blockbuster "Finding Nemo," which debuted with $70.3 million. "Shrek 2" holds the animated debut record with $108 million.
The movie was highly praised Monday on The Early Show by entertainment contributors Laurie Hibberd and Jess Cagle, who is also a senior editor at People magazine. However, they both also cautioned parents against taking young children to see "The Incredibles." They recommend the movie for children no younger than 6 or 7 years old.
Hibberd said it was all a bit much for her 3-1/2-year-old child. She noted, "I took my 3-1/2-year-old before I knew anything about it. This movie was promoted as...pudgy guys trying to get back in shape and be super
heroes, and there is a lot of violence in this movie. There are machine guns and bombs exploding and torture."
Hibberd and Cagle urge parents to take the movie's PG rating seriously and to think twice about taking children who are easily frightened to see the movie.
The horror hit "The Grudge," the No. 1 movie the previous two weekends, slipped to third with $13.5 million, lifting its total to $89.6 million.
"Ray," starring Jamie Foxx as musician Ray Charles, remained No. 2 for a second straight weekend with $13.8 million. It has grossed $39.8 million in 10 days.
Jude Law's "Alfie," a remake of the 1960s hit about an incorrigible womanizer, debuted weakly with $6.5 million, coming in at No. 5.
Despite the big opening for "The Incredibles," overall Hollywood revenues fell, continuing a box-office slump that has lingered for most of the autumn. The top 12 movies took in $136.1 million, down 5 percent from the same weekend last year, when both "The Matrix Revolutions" and "Elf" opened.
Playing in 3,933 theaters, "The Incredibles" averaged a whopping $17,971 per theater, compared to an average of $2,935 in 2,215 theaters for "Alfie."
Featuring the voices of Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, Samuel L. Jackson and Jason Lee, "The Incredibles" tells the story of a family of superheroes pressed back into action years after they had been forced underground as ordinary suburbanites.
The film drew a mainly family audience, though teenagers and adults without children accounted for about one-third of the crowd, according to distributor Disney.
With stellar reviews, "The Incredibles" maintained the perfect critical and commercial record for Pixar, whose previous hits were "Finding Nemo," "Monsters, Inc.," "A Bug's Life" and the "Toy Story" movies.
"It's more important to have a great story and then to use the technology to bring it to life, and they have never lost sight of that," said Chuck Viane, head of distribution for Disney, which has released the Pixar movies. "They deliver absolutely the best story first and meld it with the most unbelievable technology out there."
Disney's deal with Pixar expires after next November's release of "Cars." Negotiations to extend the deal fell apart earlier this year, though there has been speculation the two companies still might partner up again in the future.
"It's a shame they can't get this together, because it's been such a successful partnership," said Paul Dergarabedian, president of box-office tracker Exhibitor Relations. "This formula has worked for years, consistently, with every movie out of this Disney-Pixar alliance."
Pixar has been talking with other studios about distributing its films.
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at North American theaters, according to Exhibitor Relations Co. Inc. Final figures will be released Monday.
1. "The Incredibles," $70.7 million.
2. "Ray," $13.8 million.
3. "The Grudge," $13.5 million.
4. "Saw," $11.4 million.
5. "Alfie," $6.5 million.
6. "Shall We Dance?", $5.65 million.
7. "Shark Tale," $4.6 million.
8. "Friday Night Lights," $3 million.
9. "Ladder 49," $2.6 million.
10. "Team America: World Police," $1.9 million.