Monday, June 24, 2013

Animation Box Office Update (June 2013)

Monsters University inevitably was a big hit on its opening weekend since, you know, it's a Pixar film. So did this college-set prequel do amazing business? Well, sort of...

Over the weekend, the film took in a very big and impressive $82 million (the actual total will be revealed tomorrow), making it Pixar's second biggest opening weekend behind 2010's Toy Story 3, and fifth when you adjust the opening weekend numbers of the other films. Not too shabby, but not super-spectacular... I was expecting a total north of $90 million for the opening weekend, not just a few notches above the usual Pixar opening ($60-70 million).

It may not have slammed the box office like a meteor (Toy Story 3, in my eyes, is a meteor-crash success) due to many things... Maybe it was the fact that it was a prequel that was mostly predictable. Maybe it was because the marketing wasn't as aggressive or as clever as Toy Story 3's, which successfully got many teen audiences interested... The audience that normally blows animation off. Maybe World War Z (which surprisingly took in $66 million over the weekend!) took away a good number teens and adults.

This isn't the first time a big blockbuster performed very well against a Pixar film. In 2008, Wanted opened the same weekend as WALL-E and both took in over $50 million domestically. WALL-E performed as expected, taking in a good $63 million and trumping Ratatouille's relatively disappointing opening weekend total from the previous summer. Pixar's $60 million+ opening weekends have been built in since.

With such a good-sized opening, it's possible that this film could hit $300 million at the domestic box office (which it can do if it performs just like Toy Story 3 did), making it the third Pixar film to do so and the sixth overall. It'll probably miss it because Despicable Me 2 is right around the corner, followed by more family-friendly options. Monsters University's early word of mouth is said to be highly positive (as usual for Pixar) so we can't rule $300 million out just yet.

Sadly, Blue Sky's Epic took a major league tumble this weekend. The film's weekend total was a 72% decrease from last weekend's, but it was able to make more than $100 million this weekend. At this rate, it'll have a hard time reaching $110 million. This usually happens when a new animated release comes along, the previous one drops like a rock that weekend. Monsters University cut the legs right off of Blue Sky's action-oriented fantasy. Luckily, the film has doubled its $100 million production budget worldwide by a considerably good margin so far. Will Fox and Blue Sky say it's a bomb or money-loser? Hopefully not! It's also kind of sad that it's another animated film based on a William Joyce book or property that underwhelmed at the box office: First Meet The Robinsons, then Rise of the Guardians and now this. Even back in 2005, Robot's $128 million gross was on the low end of the computer animation scale. What a shame.

As I've been saying since last summer, they should've stuck with the original title: Leaf Men. What is with Joyce stories and title changes? A Day with Wilbur Robinson is renamed Meet The Robinsons and The Guardians of Childhood is turned into the bland-sounding Rise of the Guardians... Ayeeee.

The Croods seems to be puttering out now, but the caveman comedy has made $183 million domestically off of its respectable $43 million opening... Talk about strong word of mouth! Worldwide, it seems like it will settle for a total below $590 million. A miracle for DreamWorks and then some, whose previous film was their most ambitious (and in my opinion, their best) yet was a big money-loser for them. It kind of pains me to think that the safe, messy and not-so-memorable film was the huge hit/franchise starter yet the creative, well-made and ambitious film wasn't.

What do you think Pixar's film will make in the long run? Were you expecting it to have a bigger opening? Or a smaller one? Do you think Epic had a chance at doing better? Or not?

 Sound off below!

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