The Pixar sequel "Cars 2" raced to first place in theaters this weekend, crossing the box-office finish line with $68 million.
The animated film did not wow the critics as past Pixar films have done, which led some to believe it would be the animation juggernaut's first dud after such huge hits as "Toy Story 3," "Up" and "Wall-E."
But with a merchandising bonanza targeting families with children under 12, especially young boys, "Cars 2" -- which follows Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) and Mater (Larry the Cable Guy) overseas where the talking cars become involved in an international espionage tale -- proved the franchise is still strong. Exiting polls showed most moviegoers disagreed with critics and liked the movie, giving it an average grade of A-minus, according to market research firm CinemaScore.
The Cameron Diaz comedy "Bad Teacher," opened with a strong $31 million, continuing to prove the success of female-skewing R-rated comedies after the hit "Bridesmaids."