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“Cars 2” Outgrosses “Winnie the Pooh” Debut

Winnie the Pooh

Winnie the Pooh, Disney’s first hand-drawn animated feature since 2009’s The Princess and the Frog, opened in 6th place with $7.85 million dollars. Cars 2, another Disney release, pocketed $8.4M in its fourth weekend, good enough for a 5th place finish and an overall gross of $165.4M. Below are the openings for the other recent films in the Pooh franchise:

The Tigger Movie (2000): $9.4M
Piglet’s Big Movie (2003): $6M
Pooh’s Heffalump Movie (2005): $5.8M

The film’s reason for existence has nothing to do with box office, however. Like Cars 2, it appears to be a corporate obligation first and foremost. Winnie the Pooh is the second-largest character franchise in the world, earning $5.7 billion in revenue last year. To put that into perspective, Pooh earned more in 2010 than the combined Toy Story and Cars franchises, which are the fifth and sixth highest-earning character franchises.

The world’s most valuable franchise is Disney’s Mickey Mouse, which took in $9 billion last year. If the company’s approach to its other top-earning franchises like Pooh, Cars and Toy Story is any indication, could a Mickey Mouse feature be that far off?