'Cars 2' readies to race to first place

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The animated sequel Cars 2 is set to charge past Green Lantern and other holdovers in the US and around the world.

Featuring the voices of Owen Wilson ( Midnight in Paris) and Michael Caine, the story follows Lightning McQueen and crew for a multi-city World Grand Prix with an espionage twist.

The 3D story from Pixar, which created the Toy Story trilogy, races around the world from London, across Europe and to Japan and should prove a winner with kids and families.

This second installment looks to haul in $67 million in the US, according to BoxOffice.com, outdoing the first Cars movie, which opened with $60 million and went on to earn a $462 million globally.

The buzz online with Facebook and Twitter activity is as strong as for Kung Fu Panda 2 and advance sales are at 28 percent, considered solid, especially with anticipation for the Harry Potter finale.

Part of the reason expectations are high is the brisk merchandising business generated by Cars - from toys and games to clothes and bedding.

Cars 2 releases in North America, Australia, Brazil, and Russia this weekend, then rolls out in July and August around the world, including locations featured in the film - the UK on July 22, France July 27 and Japan July 30.

Also opening is Bad Teacher starring Cameron Diaz and Justine Timberlake, about a school teacher who is more focused on romance with a colleague than her students and has a rival for his affections.

The winning cast and the raunchy story could attract males to the female-oriented comedy for a possible take of $25 million.

Already second in the UK, where it debuted last weekend, the comedy opens in Germany, Egypt, Sweden and North America, then rolls out around the world, from India on July 8 and Australia July 22 to Japan August 6 and Hong Kong September 1.

Cars 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D5FF7js6H34
Bad Teacher: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VihlsPKMh4U