Monday, March 7, 2016

The Box Office Goes Wild For Record-Breaking Zootopia

It's clear who was the king of the box office jungle this weekend, as Zootopia easily had the biggest opening weekend for an animated movie in March and beat out the $67 million debut of Frozen to become the largest bow on record for a Walt Disney Animation Studios effort. Zootopia grossed $73.7 million this weekend at 3,870 locations, the second biggest opening weekend of 2016 thus far (only behind the $132.4 million bow of Deadpool) and the fourth largest ever for a March release. To boot, it's the third largest opening weekend for an original film (one not based on any pre-existing material), only behind Inside Out ($90.4 million) and Avatar ($77 million). Finally, it's already the ninth biggest movie ever for Jason Bateman in just three days, while it's the third biggest ever for Ginner Goodwin.

All of the right factors combined to make Zootopia such a mega-hit, with one crucial element being how long it had been since there had been a major family movie in the marketplace (the last family film to gross more than $50 million in its opening weekend was Minions eight months ago). It didn't hurt that the marketing was chock full of notable gags, especially in regards to a trailer that showed off a version of the DMV run by sloths that went out on all 2D screenings of the biggest movie of all-time, Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Finally, the unusually positive reviews (it currently has a 98% rating on Rotten Tomatoes) didn't hurt things, and tossing all of that in with the fact that the recent films from Walt Disney Animation Studios (like Wreck-It Ralph, Tangled, Big Hero 6 and especially Frozen) have really resonated with audiences, and yeah, no surprise this one is going into the box office record books. The only family film coming out for the rest of the month is Paramount's small-scale feature The Little Prince, with the next major family film on the horizon not arriving until mid-April with Disney's own The Jungle Book. Look for that lack of competition to ensure Zootopia has a long life at the box office, and it should at least get to $230 million at the domestic box office.

Olympus Has Fallen was a sleeper hit three years back, though its pop culture relevance seemed to fade shortly thereafter. But hey, it made cash, so a sequel, London Has Fallen, for it debuted this past weekend to OK results, garnering $21.7 million, a 30% decline from the debut of the first movie. Interestingly, this makes London Has Fallen the eighth biggest opening weekend ever for Gerard Butler, and the second largest opening weekend ever for Focus Features, a studio typically known for arthouse fare like The Danish Girl and Moonrise Kingdom.

Deadpool relinquished the top spot for the first time since it opened, but no worries Wade Wilson, ya still made plenty of dough this go-around. Easing 47% this frame, Deadpool took in another $16.4 million and now has a domestic cume of $311 million. In the realm of superhero movies, Deadpool should handily overtake the first two Iron Man movies by the end of the week.

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot came in at fourth place in its debut weekend for an underwhelming $7.6 million. This $35 million dramedy failed to get a major marketing spread or good enough reviews to stand out in the marketplace, and this placed Whiskey Tango Foxtrot as the lowest grossing opening weekend for a Tine Fey star vehicle that isn't the 2013 box office dud Admission.

Rounding out the top five was last week's big box office catastrophe Gods Of Egypt, which collapsed from disastrous word of mouth to the tune of a 64% plunge. It grossed another $5 million this frame, taking its small domestic gross to only $22.8 million through 10 days. It's likely going to lose a large share of its current 3,117 theater count this coming weekend, so I doubt this will be the last time Gods Of Egypt suffers a massive weekend-to-weekend drop.

Hot off its Best Picture win, Spotlight expanded back into 1,227 locations, and fared decently as it grossed another $1.8 million for a $1,493 per theater average. Not bad at all considering it's been available on home video for a little over a week now. In the domain of limited releases, 20th Cenutry Fox put out the horror film The Other Side Of The Door in 546 locations with a veeeeeerrry limited marketing spend. The result? An OK opening weekend of $1.2 million and a per theater average of $2,198.

Finally, the most high profile of this weekend's new limited releases was easily the debut of Knight Of Cups, the latest Terrence Malick film. Alas, it found itself capsized at the box office in its bow at 4 theaters, managing only $56,688 and a per theater average of $14,172. It's doubtful this esoteric motion picture expands much further beyond this theater count considering the middling numbers it put out this weekend.

The Top 12 this weekend grossed a sizable $145 million, up 86% from the same weekend last year when CHAPPiE was the savior of the box office.

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