June 09, 2006

'Cars' to also-rans: Eat my dust

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, dudes and dudettes, start your engines. That introduction can only mean that Buena Vista Pictures' "Cars," from Pixar Animation Studios, is racing into theaters today. The highly anticipated seventh film from the Walt Disney Co./Pixar team is in 3,985 venues -- including a record 210 digital screens -- and is expected to easily take the checkered flag in the top spot. John Lasseter directed "Cars," a G-rated tale that features talking cars and trucks and a race car named Lightning McQueen. Lending their voices to the colorful cast of CG-animated vehicles are Owen Wilson, Paul Newman, Bonnie Hunt, Larry the Cable Guy, Cheech Marin and racing great Richard Petty. The debut of "Cars" marks the first release from Disney and Pixar in more than a year and a half, so there is some pent-up demand for the film. Disney/ Pixar's "The Incredibles" opened in November 2004 with $70 million and finished with $261 million. (Brian Fuson)