Though not nearly as remarkable as one month ago, when Deadpool set new highs for February and R-rated releases, Zootopia does have some box office records to collect. Disney’s new animated feature easily took first place this weekend with an estimated $73.7 million debut. As we told you yesterday, that represents the best start ever for an animated movie in March. It’s also one of the top ten animated debuts of all time, the fourth biggest March opening, and the best debut ever for a Disney toon that did not originate at Pixar.
The latter may be an important point for Disney, but in terms of competition for that title we’re really just talking about Frozen and Big Hero 6. Other original Disney animation has always opened below $50 million. With Pixar included, Zootopia debuted below Toy Story 3, Inside Out, and Monsters University but ahead of The Incredibles, Finding Nemo, and the rest. On the list of all-time March debuts, Zootopia now ranks behind only The Hunger Games, Alice in Wonderland, and Oz the Great and Powerful.
It helped Zootopia that 80 percent of its 3,827 locations (including almost 700 IMAX and premium large format venues) screened the film in 3D. It’s also a plus that critics have backed the film, giving it a 98% on Rotten Tomatoes – the best score of 2016 thus far. Audiences also blessed Zootopia with an A CinemaScore, though that went up to an A+ with women and the under 18 set. All of this means that Zootopia should have a nice box office run until Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice arrives at the end of the month.
London Has Fallen opened in second place with an estimated $21.7 million from 3,490 locations. The thriller stars Gerard Butler as Secret Service agent Mike Banning: the guy who took out the terrorists in 2013’s White House disaster pic Olympus Has Fallen. You may recall that, with White House Down, there were two Washington DC-set disaster movies in 2013. Olympus Has Fallen wound up the bigger box office hit (due mainly to its earlier release date) and reached a final domestic gross of just under $100 million. That wasn’t an overwhelming outcome for a movie that cost $70 million, but it was enough to make a sequel seem like a good idea.
Three years later, London Has Fallen is trailing its predecessor in all respects. While not unexpected, the film’s opening falls well short of Olympus’s $30.3 million start. And London ranks at just 26% on Rotten Tomatoes, down from the 48% of the first film. The good news is that the sequel was apparently a bit cheaper to make ($60 million) so it will have less distance to travel to turn a profit. It also makes Gods of Egypt, last weekend’s entry in the Gerard Butler canon, look that much more pitiable. The latter slipped 64% in its sophomore frame and has a ten-day total that’s just barely ahead of what London secured in three.
At the very least, London Has Fallen managed to live up to its modest box office expectations. The same cannot be said for this weekend’s final new release: Whiskey Tango Foxtrot. A political comedy set during the hilarious US occupation of Afghanistan, the film stars Tina Fey as a real-life reporter who covered the conflict. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot earned an estimated $7.6 million from 2,374 locations this weekend. That’s well below the film’s pre-release estimates, which ranged from $10 million to $13 million.
The problem here may be the subject matter. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot received a decent B from CinemaScore audiences and a similarly decent 60% from Rotten Tomatoes. At the very least, the film handily beat Our Brand Is Crisis, which has been repeatedly cited as a comp due to its political theme and female protagonist. Crisis opened with just $3.3 million last October and disappeared after taking in just $7 million in total domestic earnings. Whiskey has already topped $7 million, so that’s something… right?
Deadpool crossed $300 million in domestic grosses on Saturday. The film currently ranks third on the list of all-time R-rated releases but it remains to be seen if it will eventually overtake American Sniper ($350.1 million) for second place. Deadpool was down 47% in its fourth weekend so catching up to the first place Passion of the Christ ($370.7 million) seems unlikely.
Next weekend should provide give Zootopia its second consecutive box office win. The two major new titles on the schedule, 10 Cloverfield Lane and The Brothers Grimsby, each target very different demographics and are sure to see lower openings. By far the strongest of the new releases is 10 Cloverfield Lane, the film that producer JJ Abrams described as a “blood relative” of his 2008 hit Cloverfield. Cloverfield Lane is expected to open with at least $25 million – way down from Cloverfield’s once record-setting $40 million launch. As for Sacha Baron Cohen’s The Brothers Grimsby, it is difficult to say. Tracking for 2009’s Bruno was famously way off, but at this point $10 million seems like a stretch. We’ll let you know what happens.
Here’s this weekend’s top ten, according to studio estimates:
|2.||London Has Fallen||$21,710,000||$21.7|
|4.||Whiskey Tango Foxtrot||$7,600,000||$7.6|
|5.||Gods of Egypt||$5,000,000||$22.8|
|7.||Kung Fu Panda 3||$3,525,000||$133.8|
|9.||Eddie the Eagle||$3,100,000||$20.8|