Despite the fact that Carstopped the weekend box office in the US, Pixar-watchers are freaking out a little bit. It turns out that, thanks to an alarmingly slow Sunday, the movie made just $60.1 million over its first three days, not the previously estimated $62.8 million. While most of us would be plenty happy with a $60 million payday, that total places Cars only fourth of Pixar's seven releases in terms of first-weekend earnings, and suggests that the always-crucial word of mouth on the film is not so good.

The (small) wave of panic was not limited to the industry, either: Early yesterday, Disney stock was down 3.5% (it closed the day off 1.9%), indicating that shareholders are disturbingly obsessed with the box office. Their antsy-ness, however, is probably understandable, given that Cars is the first Pixar product released since the company was purchased by Disney and, though it was made before the buyout, the film is nevertheless being seen as barometer of the public's attitude towards the studio and its films.