ANOTHER PIXAR FILM, another commercial bull’s-eye.
The studio’s 13th film, “Brave,” grossed $66.7-million in its domestic debut to win the weekend box office, more than tripling the take of ex-champ “Madagascar 3” ($20.2-million) and leaving the new “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” ($16.5-million) crumpled in the dust, according to studio estimates Sunday. Final numbers are expected Monday.
By meeting box-office projections, “Brave” continues the reliable studio’s impressive streak: Every Pixar film has debuted at No. 1.
Set in medieval Scotland, “Brave” — Pixar’s first princess film, its first fairy tale and its first historically set story — also grossed $13.5-million overseas, boosting its overall total to $80.2-million.
[LEARN THESE 22 PIXAR TIPS: ‘Brave’ artist Emma Coats shares her storytelling wit and wisdom]
The opening is commercial validation for a film that weathered a change in the director’s chair in late 2010; major shifts in setting and late changes in storytelling; and Pixar’s switch-over to a brand-new animation system (dubbed Presto).
Director Mark Andrews told Comic Riffs on Thursday that he’d already received creative validation from Pixar’s esteemed brain trust — including his mentor, “The Incredibles’ “ Brad Bird — so as far as he was concerned: “I’m good to go!”
[THE “BRAVE” INTERVIEW: Mark Andrews — What the man wearin’ the kilt brings to Pixar]
“Brave” also looks like a strong bet to win next week, too, meaning animation will have dominated the June box office (“Madagascar 3” won the previous two weekends). That comes after superheroes dominated May thanks to Marvel’s “The Avengers” -- and superheroes look to be strong again in July with the openings of “The Dark Knight Rises” and , to a lesser degree, the fourth “Spider-Man” film.
FUN WITH NUMBERS
■EVERY PIXAR film in the past decade except 2007’s “Ratatouille” has opened to at least $60-million, according to BoxOfficeMojo.com.■
■“BRAVE” LOOKS to start a new “$200-million” streak for Pixar: Prior to last year’s disappointing ”Cars 2,” the studio saw nine straight of its films top $200-million domestically.
■“BRAVE” EDGED “Cars 2” by less than a million dollars to become Pixar’s fifth biggest opening ever, nestling in right behind “Up” ($68.1-mill). The only Pixar film to open north of $71-million was “Toy Story 3” ($110.3-mill).
■“BRAVE” HAD THE fourth-biggest opening ever for an animated fantasy film — behind the last three Shrek films. Five of the top six films in that category (including “How to Train Your Dragon”) featured Scottish accents.
■ PIXAR’S 13 FILMS have now collectively grossed nearly $3.1-billion domestically and more than $7.2-billion overall, according to Hollywood.com.
■AND THE Year of the Archer continues: Four films featuring key characters who are quick with the quiver — “The Avengers,” “The Hunger Games,” “Snow White and the Huntsman” and now “Brave” — have reigned at the box office in 2012.