Ratatouille opens soft and Bruce Dies Hard

Long considered the unstoppable hit machine, Pixar animations’ fortunes took a mild knock last year with the muted opening and critical problems of Cars. Still, the vehicular ‘toon still managed a healthy gross.

So it’s a little disheartening to report that their latest offering - Brad Bird’s foodie flick Ratatouille – didn’t match even Cars’ opening weekend. It is, in fact, the lowest for a Pixar film since A Bug’s Life. That said, the bad news ends there, as the adventures of gourmet rat Remy still managed to win the weekend at the American box office. With $47.2 million, Ratatouille just edged out Bruce Willis’ return to John McClane’s dirty vest (or in the case of Die Hard 4.0, swanky leather jacket), which arrived in second with $33.1 million.

But Bruce is the real champion here – since the fourth Die Hard outing opened on Wednesday, its box office total across the week is actually $48.1 million.

The two big new openers meant that Evan Almighty had to take a hit, and it sank to third place with a 52% drop to make $15 million in its second weekend, running a total of $60 million. It’ll need to go some to make back that alleged $175 million budget.

Fourth place finds spooky hotel horror 1408, which also dropped, but managed to nab $10.6 million, ahead of Fantastic Four sequel Rise Of The Silver Surfer, which fell to fifth with $9 million and a total of $114.8 million so far. There was – once again – better news for Knocked Up, the summer’s hit comedy so far. Judd Apatow’s latest jumped ahead of Ocean’s Thirteen in the charts, making $7.4 million to Danny and the boys’ $6 million. It’s also ahead in terms of total earnings, with Knocked Up boasting $122 million to Ocean’s $102 million. It’s a good summer to be a chubby stoner…

Eighth place went to Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World’s End, which took in $5 million and sees it struggling to reach $300 million. But with a US holiday on the way, chances are it’ll sail slowly over the mark by the end of next week.

Michael Moore staked out ninth for US healthcare doc Sicko. After a limited release, it has expanded into 440 cinemas and a healthy – pardon the pun - $4.5 million for such a comparatively small showing. And finally, also doing well despite being in less than a thousand cinemas was romantic drama Evening, which made $3.5 million.

Next week: They’re robots in disguise and more than meets the eye… But can those Transformers conquer the summer box office?