“Wonder Woman” fell to second place in its third weekend in theaters, but it’s still doing the heavy lifting for the otherwise lackluster summer box office.
While many worn-out franchises and franchise hopefuls continue to struggle to find a significant North American audience, smaller films such as the Tupac biopic “All Eyez on Me” and the shark thriller “47 Meters Down” were able to break through the clutter and make a splash this weekend.
As expected, the third installment in Disney and Pixar’s $1 billion “Cars” franchise easily took the top spot, but its estimated $53.5 million in earnings told a more complicated tale.
“Cars 3” had the worst opening in the series’ history — “Cars” opened to $60.1 million and “Cars 2” to $66.1 million — and it was one of the lowest debut totals for the Pixar brand.
It was also a disappointment compared with the top films over this weekend in 2015 and 2016, noted comScore senior media analyst Paul Dergarabedian.
A year ago, Pixar’s “Finding Dory” debuted with $135.1 million. In 2015, Jurassic World” raked in $106.6 million in its second weekend.
“That kind of tells you the state of the industry,” Dergarabedian said.
The G-rated “Cars 3” got an “A” CinemaScore and generally positive reviews, but it will have to contend with “Despicable Me 3,” which opens in two weeks.
“Wonder Woman” was knocked down to second place with $40.8 million, bringing its domestic total to $274.6 million, while holdover “The Mummy” slid to fourth place in weekend two with $13.9 million.
“It’s been a challenging summer. I always say it comes down to product. Are the movies grabbing people?” Dergarabedian said. “Before ‘Wonder Woman’ we were about 9 percent behind last summer. We’re now at about even, but the industry would like to see better than even.”
Amid the doldrums, lower-profile films were able to make a mark. The longtime-coming Tupac biopic “All Eyez on…