Weekend Box Office: G-Rated Romp and R-Rated Raunch

The most buzzed-about release this weekend is that of Disney (NYSE:DIS) and Pixar‘s Cars 2. The film’s producers don’t expect to see quite the gross that previous Disney/Pixar films have seen, expecting a relatively low open of $50 to $55 million because the first Cars film also opened with middling figures to the tune of $60.1 million back in June 2006. However, there is a possibility the sequel could beat out its predecessor at the box office, as the first film has had years to build up a fan base through merchandise sales, DVDs, and television broadcasts on the Disney (NYSE:DIS) Channel.

The film is receiving mixed reviews, making it an oddity among Pixar’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) much-lauded library of animated Disney collaborations. Cars 2 cost the studio $200 million to produce, the same it cost the studios create Academy Award-nominated Toy Story 3, which went on to gross $110 million domestically its opening weekend, and ultimately over $1 billion worldwide.  Cars 2, which will also be available in 3D, will rely heavily on foreign markets to help it turn a profit. While 3D sales are declining in the U.S. as moviegoers either grow tired of the novelty or tired of the higher prices of 3D showings, 3D films continue to be a big draw overseas.

Also opening this weekend is Cameron Diaz’s R-rated comedy, Bad Teacher. The raunchy comedy co-stars Jason Segel and Justin Timberlake, and is expected to bring in figures similar to those of last month’s R-rated comedy Bridesmaids, which made $26.2 million its opening weekend. Bad Teacher could even stand to bring in a little less its opening weekend, considering the film only cost its producer, Columbia Pictures (NYSE:SNE), $20 million to make — $12.5 million less than the price tag on Bridesmaids. Columbia expects the film to come in second place for the weekend, edging out last weekend’s Green Lantern, which received terrible reviews and a relatively small opening box office compared to other big-budget superhero flicks.

Cars 2 and Bad Teacher are the only wide releases this weekend, but opening in select theaters are filmmaker Chris Weitz’s A Better Life and Rodman Flender’s documentary Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop.

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