'Cars' cruises to the front of the pack with $62.8 million

— The animated comedy "Cars" raced to first place at the weekend box office with a $62.8 million debut, maintaining the Disney-Pixar cartoon brand's undefeated record with a seventh straight hit.

If the numbers hold when final figures come out today, "Cars" would have the third-best opening in the Disney-Pixar cartoon series, just ahead of "Monsters, Inc." but behind "The Incredibles" and "Finding Nemo," which both debuted at about $70 million.

Still, it was the first time since the partnership began with 1995's "Toy Story" that a Disney-Pixar film did not gross more than its predecessor over opening weekend.

The movie features the voices of Owen Wilson and Paul Newman in a story of a hotshot race car that gets a lesson on the value of slowing down when he's sidetracked in a sleepy burgh.

The weekend's other new wide release, 20th Century Fox's horror remake "The Omen," was No. 4 with $15.45 million. Starring Julia Stiles and Liev Schreiber in the tale of a demon child, "The Omen" has grossed $35.7 million since opening on Tuesday to take advantage of the date - 6-6-06 - a play on the number signifying the anti-Christ.

In narrower release, Robert Altman's "A Prairie Home Companion" premiered solidly at No. 7 with $4.7 million. Released by Picturehouse, "A Prairie Home Companion" features Garrison Keillor in a fictionalized behind-the-scenes portrait of his venerable radio program.

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Exhibitor Relations Co. Inc.:

1. "Cars," $62.8 million.

2. "The Break-Up," $20.5 million.

3. "X-Men: The Last Stand," $15.55 million.

4. "The Omen," $15.45 million.

5. "Over the Hedge," $10.301 million

6. "The Da Vinci Code," $10.3 million.

7. "A Prairie Home Companion," $4.7 million.

8. "Mission: Impossible III," $3 million.

9. "RV," $2 million.

10. "Poseidon," $1.8 million.


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