“Cars 3” became the undisputed champion of the box office, topping the reigning leader “Wonder Woman” over the weekend, according to USA Today.
The Pixar film earned $53.5 million over the weekend, according to Box Office Mojo.
However, the third film in the storied Pixar franchise took in the worst opening of all Cars films. The original film earned $60.1 million and the sequel grossed $66.1 during the opening weekends, according to USA Today.
Not to mention, the film also did worse than “Finding Dory” which opened a year ago this weekend, which earned $135.1 million.
That might be because “Cars 3” isn’t really relatable for children.
When the first trailers for “Cars 3” arrived, the film appeared to be headed in a darker direction. The first trailer showed a potential car crash for star Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) with heavy dramatic music and a dark tone.
Tech site Gizmodo called the trailer “oddly disturbing” for a children’s movie.
“That’s Lightning McQueen, the star of the franchise voiced by Owen Wilson, going through a very realistic car crash,” according to Gizmodo. “And the tagline ‘From this moment, everything will change' is ominous. Very unlike the rest of the light, fun franchise about talking cars, trucks and planes.”
The dark tone and theme of the trailer remain true to the film, as McQueen is dethroned from the top of the racing circuit and forced to consider retirement.
That’s a storyline that doesn’t relate to children, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Sure, the film has some adult aspects to them, like trying to treat children about life experiences that they haven’t had yet.
But other than the film acting as a sports-comedy film, it’s not really one children can relate to, according to THR.
McQueen’s character is much like a retired older performer coming to terms with his age. Children can’t connect with that theme, though, THR explained.
“[H]ow is a kid supposed to relate to the idea of sharing the spotlight with a worthy friend — someone who becomes humanized over time — at a stage when they themselves should be developing a sense of self?” THR asked. “Inclusivity is always a commendable quality, and should be cherished. But is the best way to broach this subject a movie where cars with undelineated capped teeth drive really fast? Do kids really need to worry about passing the baton at a point where they should be receiving said baton?”
THR said the film focuses too much on McQueen trying to make peace with his career, when it should have focused on the up-and-coming racer Cruz Ramirez (Cristela Alonzo) and her battle to fit into society.
But Pam Powell of the Kankakee Daily Journal in Illinois, who gave the film two out of four stars, said the film is perfect for children, but not for its themes or substance.
“(The film) has what the little ones are going to like: bright colors, a nice story and a clear definition of good guys and bad guys, all with a happy ending,” Powell wrote. “It's Disney, after all.”