Today's Wall Street Journal observed that the figure "was substantially better than most Hollywood handicappers predicted."
"There's something about the Pixar/Disney partnership," Exhibitor Relations chief Paul Dergarabedian told the Associated Press. "Everything that they do with these films seems to exactly capture what kids are looking for."
In a separate interview with the New York Daily News, Dergarabedian added: "Expectations are always high for any new Disney animation, but this is monumental. The ad campaign was, obviously, perfect. I think every kid in America wanted to see Monsters this weekend."
The total take for the top 12 films, an estimated $136.7 million, was 43 percent above the same weekend a year ago, when Charlie's Angels debuted with $40 million.
The top ten films for the weekend, according to studio estimates compiled by Exhibitor Relations:
1. Monsters Inc., $63.5 million; 2. The One, $20 million; 3. Domestic Disturbance, $14.5 million; 4. K-PAX, $10.7 million; 5. Thirteen Ghosts, $7.9 million; 6. Riding in Cars With Boys, $4.5 million; 7. From Hell, $3.7 million; 8. Training Day, $3.2 million; 9. Bandits, $3 million; 10. Serendipity, $2.5 million.