This weekend, for a second straight frame, Disney’s latest animation sensation Zootopia led the North American box office and showed the kind of strength that indicates a long spring run ahead. The PG-rated toon grossed an estimated $50M this weekend dropping only 33% lifting the cume to a stellar $142.6M. Zootopia is only the third March film in history to reach $50M on its second weekend joining The Hunger Games and Alice in Wonderland which both were coming off of opening weekends that were well over $100M.
Compared to other March toons, Zootopia‘s decline was much better than the 45-50% range that other films like Home, The Lorax, and Horton Hears a Who fell into. Parents and kids alike are loving the animal-filled film and word-of-mouth has been sparkling. A final domestic haul of $260M+ seems likely.
The international run has also been red hot. China has been a stand-out performer with the sophomore frame more than doubling the opening weekend with $56.5M pushing the local cume to a stunning $109M in ten days beating all past Disney and Pixar toons there. Zootopia grossed $83.1M from 45 markets pushing the offshore total to $288.7M and the global gross to $431.3M. China will continue to sizzle and several major territories are still to open including Australia, Brazil, the U.K., and Disney-loving Japan. With Easter school holidays coming soon around the world, the global tally for Zootopia should be able to reach an eye-popping $900M or more.
Paramount enjoyed a nice launch for its sci-fi thriller 10 Cloverfield Lane which debuted to an estimated $25.2M this weekend in the number two spot. The PG-13 film averaged a sturdy $7,431 from 3,391 locations. $3.1M, or 12% of the gross, came from IMAX screens. Those large format venues will get busy very fast with the arrival this Thursday night of The Divergent Series: Allegiant followed a week later by the highly-anticipated Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice which opens day and date in China and features special scenes shot with IMAX cameras.
As a franchise film, 10 Cloverfield Lane did not match up to the $40.1M bow of 2008’s Cloverfield which entered the marketplace with a mysterious marketing campaign that ignited fan interest. It delivered the biggest January opening of all-time then. Lane attracted terrific reviews from film critics which helped drive in audiences this weekend. But paying crowds felt differently as evidenced by the lackluster B- CinemaScore grade. Still, with a budget under $20M this will be a profitable project regardless of how international numbers fare. Studio data showed the opening day audience to be 60% male and 68% over 25.
Deadpool fared well in its fifth weekend taking in an estimated $10.8M, off 35%, pushing Fox up to $328.1M in North America. Hitting $350M seems likely which would triple the final gross of Green Lantern, the last super hero film anchored by Ryan Reynolds. Overseas, Deadpool saw its total zoom to $380M giving the naughty comic book character $708.1M worldwide which sets the bar high for Batman v Superman which opens in less than two weeks.
More R-rated action followed with London Has Fallen which fell a reasonable 51% in its sophomore round to an estimated $10.7M. Focus has banked $38.9M to date and should finish with around $60M. The Gerard Butler sequel is currently running 29% behind the pace of 2013’s Olympus Has Fallen which also opened in March. Following a soft bow, the Tina Fey comedy Whiskey Tango Foxtrot held well in its second weekend dropping 38% to an estimated $4.6M. With $14.6M overall, Paramount looks to reach $25-30M.
Three new releases followed with $3-5M openings. The relationship film The Perfect Match debuted to respectable results in moderate national release with an estimated $4.2M from 925 locations for a $4,486 average. The R-rated pic starring Terrence Jenkins, Paula Patton, and Donald Faison earned mixed reviews.
Faith-based audiences had little interest in the new drama The Young Messiah which opened poorly in seventh place with an estimated $3.4M. Averaging a weak $1,933 from 1,761 locations, the PG-13 entry suffered a sharp fall on Saturday and faces a difficult road ahead.
Sacha Baron Cohen hit a new career low with his latest raunchy comedy The Brothers Grimsby which was met with a pitiful opening weekend grossing an estimated $3.2M from 2,235 theaters for a horrific $1,409 average. The R-rated pic was utterly ignored by U.S. audiences and the three-day figure did not even beat the $4.2M Wednesday opening day of 2012’s The Dictator. That film had the actor’s worst opening ever as a lead with $17.4M over the Friday-to-Sunday session in May of that year. Reviews were bad for Grimsby, but the CinemaScore was a decent B+. Its final domestic gross is likely to be a miserable $8M.
Dropping 52% in its third fight was the big-budget adventure Gods of Egypt with an estimated $2.5M pushing the domestic cume for Lionsgate to $27.3M. China opened with a strong $20M this weekend pushing the international haul to $80.5M and the global tally to $107.8M with domestic accounting for only one quarter of that gross. Sony’s Risen fell 44% to an estimated $2.2M for a new total of $32.3M.
The top ten films grossed an estimated $116.7M which was up 1% from last year when Cinderella opened at number one with $67.9M; and up 18% from 2014 when Mr. Peabody & Sherman stayed in the top spot with $21.8M.
Compared to projections, 10 Cloverfield Lane and The Perfect Match opened close to my respective forecasts of $23M and $5M. The Young Messiah and The Brothers Grimsby debuted below my predictions of $7M and $8M.
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