This weekend, showing remarkable stamina, Disney’s runaway toon juggernaut Zootopia held the number one spot for a third time in a row grossing a sensational $38M, according to estimates. Off a mere 26% thanks to terrific buzz, the PG-rated hit hopped over the $200M mark in only 17 days to reach a new domestic cume of $201.8M.
Among third weekend grosses, Zootopia‘s tally ranks eighth best of all-time trailing behind mostly super hero films and sequels. In fact, the only original property to ever make more in its third weekend was Avatar. If the estimate holds, the bunny cop pic will also edge out the $37.9M of Shrek 2 for the best third frame ever among animated films. Third weekend grosses of recent mega-toons include $29.8M for Inside Out, $22.9M for Minions, and $22.6M for Frozen.
With Good Friday and Easter Sunday coming up next weekend, and many schools being on break this week, sales should continue to be solid. The massive $100M+ launch of Batman v Superman will certainly be a vacuum affecting all films in the marketplace and at the very least will provide competition for older kids and mainstream crowds. But Zootopia still has a great shot at reaching $300M domestic becoming only the ninth animated film of all-time to pass that mark.
The mammal metropolis film remained a giant force around the world with an international take of $64.8M for a global grab of $102.8M this weekend. Offshore grosses rose to $389.9M led by China which accounts for almost half of that with a stunning $173.4M surpassing the $146M of Kung Fu Panda 3 from earlier this year. Zootopia is showing strong holds everywhere and has no plans of going away anytime soon. The U.K. opens next weekend followed by Japan next month putting the Disney behemoth on course to shatter $1 billion at the worldwide box office. Only three other toons have ever done that – Frozen, Minions, and Toy Story 3.
Franchise fatigue swooped in to affect The Divergent Series: Allegiant which opened in second place with an estimated $29.1M. The first two films in the Divergent series debuted at number one over this same weekend during the past two years and each broke $50M in the process. Pummeled with poor reviews, Allegiant opened 44% below last year’s Insurgent and 47% below 2014’s Divergent. The new film averaged $7,767 from 3,740 locations this weekend and carried a budget estimated to be north of $100M.
The Hunger Games franchise was in a similar situation with its first two installments both opening close to each other ($150-160M in that case) while the third film (the first of two films based on the final book) saw a significant drop in opening weekend turnout. Mockingjay Part 1 bowed 23% below Catching Fire. The key difference for Divergent is that its grosses are at a much lower level, and the erosion suffered by the third film is much more pronounced.
Word of mouth on Allegiant is not so good as evidenced by the so-so B CinemaScore grade it earned from paying moviegoers. Given how past Divergent films have played out in the March-April corridor, it would be hard to imagine Allegiant reaching more than $75M by the end of its domestic run. That puts intense pressure on the shoulders of Lionsgate’s final film in this series, Ascendant, which is slated for a June 9 release next year becoming the first in the franchise to get a summer release date. The final book was not well-liked by readers so that was an obstacle that the movie series has always had to face.
One week before Easter, the faith-based true story Miracles from Heaven scored a hit with a good third place bow of an estimated $15M from 3,047 locations for a $4,923 average. Sony launched the inspirational pic on Wednesday with solid mid-weeks putting the five-day debut at $18.6M. The audience for the $13M production was 65% female and 75% over 25. Miracles earned a glowing A+ grade from CinemaScore audiences. Good word of mouth and upcoming religious holidays could bode well for the road ahead on this PG-rated pic.
Dropping 49% in its second weekend was Paramount’s 10 Cloverfield Lane with an estimated $12.5M pushing the cume to $45.2M. It was a fine hold for a sci-fi sequel and the under $20M production looks to reach about $70M. Fox’s Deadpool followed with an estimated $8M, off only 27%, for a new total of $340.9M. Overseas grosses climbed to $389.7M putting the global gross at an astounding $730.6M. A big test will come next weekend when the super hero tentpole Batman v Superman opens.
Gerard Butler’s action sequel London Has Fallen declined by 36% to an estimated $6.9M giving Focus $50.1M to date. Tina Fey saw a 40% dip for her comedy Whiskey Tango Foxtrot which collected an estimated $2.8M for $19.3M so far for Paramount.
A pair of sophomore titles with huge drops followed. Lionsgate’s relationship film The Perfect Match took in an estimated $1.9M, down 56%, while Sony’s spy flop The Brothers Grimsby tumbled 57% to an estimated $1.4M. New cumes are $7.3M and $5.9M, respectively.
Leonardo DiCaprio and his Oscar statue rounded out the top ten with The Revenant which dropped 40% to an estimated $1.2M. The Fox hit has spent ten weeks in the top ten this year and has amassed $181.2M from North America. Domestic may be winding down, but China just got started this weekend with a huge $33.4M opening pushing the international cume into triple century territory at $302M. Global is at $483.2M and will smash the half-billion mark by the end of this week.
The top ten films grossed an estimated $116.8M which was even with last year when Insurgent opened at number one with $52.3M; and down 10% from 2014 when Divergent debuted in the top spot with $54.6M.
Compared to projections, The Divergent Series: Allegiant debuted a couple of notches below my $31M forecast while Miracles from Heaven came in higher than my $11M prediction.
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