Much has been made of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s crying in ”End of Days,” which was an obvious effort to make his action persona seem like less of a human cartoon. But that might have been the wrong way to go, as cartoons were the stars of choice this weekend, with ”Toy Story 2” dominating the box office by taking in an estimated $80.8 million over the five days of the holiday. ”Toy”’s take handily trounced the previous Thanksgiving record holder – last year’s ”A Bug’s Life,” which had grossed $45.7 million – and its three-day gross of $57.7 million beat that of Disney’s animated hall-of-famer ”The Lion King,” which opened with $40.9 million in 1994. And you know Disney execs were savoring their turkey: The studio has owned the highest-grossing film of the Thanksgiving weekend for each of the past five years.
Arnold couldn’t even weep himself into second place: With $31 million, ”End of Days” had to settle for third behind the James Bond holdover ”The World Is Not Enough” ($35 million). (Rounding out the top 5 were ”Sleepy Hollow” with $27.4 million, and ”Pokémon: The First Movie” with $9.1 million.) Considering that ”Days” was widely panned, Schwarzenegger should be pleased his movie at least had the second-highest per-screen average, with $11,962. Sure, that was far behind ”Toy Story 2”’s $24,950 average, but it certainly had bragging rights over Robert De Niro’s ”Flawless,” which – even though it opened in more than 2,000 fewer theaters – still averaged only $4,184 for a 12th-place finish with $2 million total.
CRITICAL MASS Exhibitor Relations predicts an over-$200 million total gross for ”Toy Story 2,” and our readers seem like they’d be happy to chip in. In Critical Mass Online, EW voters gave the sequel an A- average, with 90 percent saying they would definitely recommend it to others. ”End of Days,” however, received a B- average, and only 40 percent said they’d encourage others to go. And when asked if they’d check out Arnold’s movie again, 51 percent of voters were in the Somewhat Unlikely and Very Unlikely categories, while only 18 percent said the same for ”Toy Story 2.”
Of course, just because people might not go back to see Arnold’s hell-razing arsenal doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the end of the world. After all, it wasn’t the end for ”World.” A similarly high 49 percent of EW readers fell into the unlikely-to-give-repeat-business categories for ”The World Is Not Enough” (which received a B average), but that hasn’t stopped it from pulling in $76.3 million in 10 days. So as Arnold might say in ”End of Days”: Who needs second comings? To register your opinions on these and other current movies, visit EW Critical Mass online.