Melissa McCarthy and Sandra Bullock's raunchy female cop comedy "The Heat" got off to a sizzling start Friday, finishing just behind reigning box-office champ "Monsters University" and easily outstripping the weekend's other wide opener "White House Down."
Disney's animated Pixar family film still has the inside track after topping Friday with $14.3 million from 4,003 screens, the bulk of which are 3D. With families expected to turn out in force on Saturday and Sunday, the G-rated "Monsters U" should come in at around $47 million for the three days. That would be a very strong hold -- just a 42 percent drop from its opening weekend-- for the "Monsters Inc." prequel, which has taken in nearly $140 million domestically in a little more than a week.
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Fox's "The Heat" is the summer's first – and only – big movie with female leads. It rang up $13.6 million from 3,181 theaters Friday and is on pace for a weekend in the $40 million range. That's about $5 million more than analysts had projected for the R-rated caper comedy and would top the debut of McCarthy's "Identity Thief," which debuted to $34 million in February.
"The Heat" is also pacing ahead of "Bridesmaids," the similarly raunchy comedy that also featured director Paul Feig and McCarthy. That one opened to $26 million and went on to make $169 million domestically.
Sony's "White House Down" was running fourth, just behind "World War Z" and ahead of "Man of Steel."
The Channing Tatum-Jamie Foxx action epic brought in about $9 million from 3,222 theaters Friday and is on pace for a $25 million three-day total. That's about $10 million less than the analysts projected and not the sort of opening you'd hope for from a $150 million movie.
It looks to be one of the worst major openings for director Roland Emmerich, who's had big debuts with apocalyptic epics before, including 2009's "2012" ($65 million) and 2004's "The Day After Tomorrow" ($68 million) and 1996's "Independence Day ($50 million).
Both the PG-13 rated "White House Down" and "The Heat" received "A-" CinemaScores from first-night audiences.
Brad Pitt's zombie thriller "World War Z" also took in around $9 million from 3,607 theaters Friday, and is looking at roughly $29 million second week for Paramount. That would be about a 55 percent drop from its debut weekend.
Warner Bros.' Superman sequel "Man of Steel" added $6 million from a market-high 4,131 theaters Friday and has a shot at a $20 million third week. Its domestic total is now $233 million.
Sony's "This is the End" and Summit "Now You See" both held strongly for sixth and seventh.
The R-rated Seth Rogen comedy took in $2.5 million Friday and was off just 37 percent from last week, despite dropping 345 theaters to 2,710, and has now taken in nearly $75 million domestically.
The magic-themed heist thriller did $1.6 million from 2,564 locations, 259 fewer than last week, and still fell just 28 percent from last week. It should finish at around $5.7 million, which will push it over the $100 million milestone.
Universal's "Fast & Furious 6," Paramount's "Star Trek Into Darkness" and the Fox comedy "The Internship" rounded out Friday's top ten.