‘Cars 2’ keeps Pixar in driver’s seat with $68M

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While the G-rated “Cars 2” cornered the family market, “Bad Teacher” was the weekend’s grown-up choice, starring Diaz as a foul-mouthed, boozy, gold-digging educator.

“She just went with it with great abandonment. She totally just let it go,” said Rory Bruer, head of distribution for Sony.

While women accounted for 63 percent of the audience for “Bad Teacher,” Sony executives hope word-of-mouth over Diaz’s brazen performance will draw more men to see it in the coming weeks.

Overall domestic revenues totaled $176 million, up 6.7 percent from the same period last year, when “Toy Story 3” remained No. 1 in its second weekend with $59.3 million, according to box-office tracker Hollywood.com.

For the year, revenues are down 7.6 percent compared to 2010’s, though a strong summer has helped Hollywood erase most of a big downturn in business from the sluggish winter and spring.

The upcoming Fourth of July weekend looks huge as Paramount’s sci-fi sequel “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” blows into IMAX theaters Tuesday night and general cinemas Wednesday. That will be followed in mid-July by the Warner Bros. fantasy finale “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2.”

“With `Cars 2’ and the one-two punch of `Transformers’ and `Harry Potter,’ I think we have a shot at knocking that revenue deficit down to the break-even point or even pulling a little bit ahead of last year,” said Hollywood.com analyst Paul Dergarabedian.

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Hollywood.com. Where available, latest international numbers are also included. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.

1. “Cars 2,” $68 million ($42.9 million international).

2. “Bad Teacher,” $31 million ($12.9 million international).

3. “Green Lantern,” $18.4 million.

4. “Super 8,” $12.1 million ($10.5 million international).

5. “Mr. Popper’s Penguins,” $10.3 million.

6. “X-Men: First Class,” $6.6 million.

7. “The Hangover Part II,” $5.9 million.

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