"Cars 2" viewers not deterred by bad reviews

The Pixar film rubbed some critics the wrong way, but it still managed to run over the box office competition

Published June 27, 2011 3:20PM (EDT)

Although film critics in general were far from crazy about "Cars 2," box office figures show that Pixar's loyal fan base could not be deterred from theaters this weekend. The new film had a very successful opening, raking in $68 million in North American ticket sales (more than twice the takings of the second-most-successful film, "Bad Teacher," which took around $31 million).

Salon's own Andrew O'Hehir gave the film a positive review, writing:

I get the feeling that a lot of critics are going to beat up on Pixar head John Lasseter's widely hyped sequel to the 2006 worldwide hit "Cars," and as Tow Mater himself might say, heck, opinions are like headlights, and everybody's entitled to at least one of 'em. No, "Cars 2" absolutely does not have the semi-adult wistfulness or the emotional depth of the last several Pixar releases. But it doesn't aspire to, and indicting it on the basis of being a fun, silly, kid-friendly summer popcorn entertainment that won't linger long in your memory seems like a category mistake.

Here's what some less-keen critics had to say:

  • "Maybe the company was tired of turning out one masterpiece after another and decided to coast for a while." [A.O. Scott, The New York Times]
  • "The law of averages has finally caught up with the most remarkable studio in modern movie history, the dream factory that lived up to Buzz Lightyear's joyous cry of 'To infinity and beyond.' This frenzied sequel seldom gets beyond mediocrity." [Joe Morgenstern, WSJ]
  • "This being Pixar, Cars 2 looks fantastic, but the studio has never given audiences -- especially audiences over the age of 10 -- less reason to be emotionally invested in the beautiful shiny things flying across the screen." [Nathan Rabin, A.V. Club]
  • "Despite its technical and design finesse, this ranks as Pixar's weakest project to date, as well as the first from the animation powerhouse that can be described as craven." [Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune]
  • "They said it couldn't be done. But Pixar proved the yaysayers wrong when it made its first bad movie, 'Cars.' Now it has worsted itself with the even more awful 'Cars 2.' ... [T]he most prominent clunker on-screen is the main character." [Kyle Smith, The New York Post]

Watch the "Cars 2" trailer here:

By Emma Mustich

Emma Mustich is a Salon contributor. Follow her on Twitter: @emustich.

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