In a surprise to no one, Dreamworks’ Kung Fu Panda 3 was the number one film in North America this weekend: becoming the first animated film to rule the box office since Hotel Transylvania 2 back in September. The threequel earned an estimated $41 million from 3,955 locations, which was right in line with industry projections. The film’s weekend gross makes it the biggest debut of 2016 (though on a very short list) and the third biggest January launch of all time.
Though it lived up to industry expectations, Kung Fu Panda 3 couldn’t match its predecessors’ box office debuts. The original Kung Fu Panda opened in June 2008 with $60.2 million. That was a significant achievement at the time, especially for a non-franchise title in the heart of the summer season. Kung Fu Panda went on to gross $215.4 million in North America and $631.7 million worldwide. And thus was a franchise born.
When it arrived in the summer of 2011, Kung Fu Panda 2 saw a bit of a decline. The sequel opened with $47.6 million towards a final domestic total of $165.2 million but more than made up for its shortfall with international sales, which topped $665 million. With the third installment now falling below the sequel’s opening, it will be interesting to see how Panda 3 performs over the long-term – both here and abroad. Kung Fu Panda 3 has received an A CinemaScore and strong reviews (80% on Rotten Tomatoes) and opened in China and a handful of smaller markets this weekend.
Kung Fu Panda 3 pushed last weekend’s top two films, The Revenant and Star Wars: The Force Awakens, down to second and third, respectively. The Revenant was off only 22.5% to bring its domestic total up to $138.1 million in its fourth frame in wide release. In terms of past Leonardo DiCaprio titles, The Revenant has already outperformed Shutter Island and The Departed and should overtake The Great Gatsby’s $144.8 million final domestic total next weekend. As for the granddaddy of all domestic totals, Star Wars: The Force Awakens is set to become the first film to reach $900 million next Saturday. The film’s global total now stands at $1.983 billion.
Disney’s The Finest Hours opened in fourth place with an estimated $10.3 million from 3,143 locations. That was actually a bit higher than projected for the 3D ocean thriller, though it won’t come close to mitigating the film’s reported $75 million budget. On a more positive note, CinemaScore audiences gave The Finest Hours an A- so there is a chance of a decent hold next weekend – provided people decide to skip the Super Bowl and the three new releases that are scheduled.
You have to look way down the top ten chart to find the weekend’s third new release: Fifty Shades of Black. The R-rated comedy, a parody of last February’s record-breaking Fifty Shades of Grey, opened in ninth place with a disappointing $6.1 million from 2,075 locations. By comparison, the horror spoof A Haunted House (also starring Marlon Wayans) claimed nearly three times that amount when it opened in January of 2013.
Overall, the box office was up 20% over last weekend, when a blizzard shuttered hundreds of East Coast theatres. Last weekend’s new releases, all of which suffered in the wake of the storm, saw strong sophomore holds – especially the horror pic The Boy. Next weekend brings a different sort of challenge to the box office in the form of the Super Bowl. Three new titles will attempt to counterprogram the game, including The Coen Brothers’ Hail, Ceasar! and the long-gestating Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. At this point none of the newbies is expected to break $15 million, which means a second weekend on top for Po the Panda.
|1.||Kung Fu Panda 3||$41,000,000||$41|
|3.||Star Wars: The Force Awakens||$10,782,000||$895.4|
|4.||The Finest Hours||$10,327,000||$10.3|
|5.||Ride Along 2||$8,345,000||$70.7|
|8.||The 5th Wave||$7,000,000||$20.1|
|9.||Fifty Shades of Black||$6,186,000||$6.1|
|10.||13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers…||$6,000,000||$42.5|