‘Cars 2′ Crosses the Finish Line with Huge Lead

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Disney-Pixar’s Cars 2 raced to a strong finish in its opening weekend with $68 million in ticket sales, handily beating out its predecesor.

The opening weekend gross for the film handily beat out the $60 million opening weekend take for 2006′s Cars, as well as the openings for fellow Pixar films Ratatouille and Wall-E and DreamWorks Animation’s original Kung Fu Panda.

Overseas, Cars 2 also came in first, taking in an estimated $43 million for a worldwide debut weekend of $110 million.

Coming in second for the weekend was the comedy Bad Teacher, with $31 million in domestic ticket sales, while Warner Bros.’ Green Lantern slipped 65% to third place. The DC Comics adaptation took in about $18.4 for the weekend, bringing its domestic total to $89 million. Green Lantern has about $29 million in overseas ticket sales for a worldwide total of $118 million. The soft performance is not deterring Warner Bros., which reportedly has decided to proceed with a sequel.

VFX films continued to do well, with X-Men: First Class adding $6.6 million for a $132 million domestic total and $184 million overseas for a $317 millon total. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides continues to rake in the dough, pulling in $4.8 million this weekend for a $229 million domestic take and $756 million overseas for a $985 million total.

DreamWorks Animation’s Kung Fu Panda 2 earned $4.1 million this weekend. It’s now made $153 million domestic and $340 million overseas for an impressive $493 million total.

Most of these films will be looking to hold up well over next weekend’s Independence Day holiday, typically a huge movie-going weekend. The major new entrant will be Transformers: Dark of the Moon, which opens Wednesday, followed by a pair of new romantic comedies on Friday, Larry Crowne starring Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts, and Monte Carlo.