Thursday, April 3, 2014
So now Frozen is the highest grossing animated feature of all time, as it has taken in over $1.072 million worldwide to date. The previous record was held by Pixar's Toy Story 3, which took in $1.063 million by the end of the year it was released: 2010.
It took nearly four years for another animated film to top it. Over the years, I wondered what would win. In 2011, it seemed like DreamWorks' Kung Fu Panda 2 had a shot, since the first one was very well-received, did very well for a non-sequel DreamWorks entity and grossed a great $631 million worldwide. The sequel could've really increased, but Paramount dropped the ball with a lackluster marketing campaign and a poor choice of release date. It did better worldwide than its predecessor, but not by much. No billion dollar smash for DreamWorks there…
2012's only potential candidate was Ice Age: Continental Drift, and that probably didn't have much of a shot. Even though the previous film grossed $886 million worldwide, the fourth film's domestic total would've held this one back anyway. American audiences have moved on from the prehistoric slapstick schtick. Ice Age 5, which hits in summer 2016, won't do it either.
Last year didn't seem to have any candidates either, except for maybe Monsters University and Despicable Me 2. I was actually thinking that the former would get a Toy Story 3-sized increased because of the college setting and nostalgic teens being pulled in. That sorta-kinda happened, as the film did open with a very big $82 million… But the legs were some of the weakest for a Pixar film, and perhaps Despicable Me 2 was responsible along with the general "meh" response to the film. Had it had the whole summer to itself, it perhaps would've grossed more. But maybe the fact that it was a prequel was what held it back, on both opening weekend and on subsequent weekends.
Despicable Me 2 was the box office bonanza that Monsters University wasn't, though that Pixar prequel still took in a great $745 million at the end of its run. Despicable Me 2 topped that with $970 million, becoming the second biggest animated feature at the box office. But then a little dark horse surprised us all…
So who is in line for the crown? Or will Frozen keep it for a long, long time?
Here are, I think, some possible candidates…
How To Train Your Dragon 2 - Given how well the first one did, it's a given that this will increase. Big time. The domestic gross can be somewhere near $300 million, if Fox keeps up the good marketing (I didn't like the trailer, but I digress) and everything else. Word of mouth should be strong, and it really does have the whole summer to itself. Planes? Planes shmanes. Turtles? Feh!
But the bigger question is, does it make over $300 million domestically and take in over $650 million overseas? The original took in $277 million overseas, which is not too bad for an original, but it was no Kung Fu Panda. That film fortunately appealed to China given its setting, but Dragon can catch on all around the world. I'd say this has a 50% chance.
Inside Out - Believe it or not, yes, I think this does have a shot. Pixar's last huge original was Up, thanks to a strong opening and stellar word of mouth. It apparently did not have any trouble appealing to everyone around the world despite a South American setting, but I'm guessing its story and humor (especially the physical/verbal business with the dogs) resonated with everyone, everywhere. Inside Out, with its cool concept, should appeal to everyone around the world as well. It's about the mind, and that's pretty universal if you ask me. It'll have enough humor too, I'll bet. But it's a bit of a stretch, but we saw an original become the highest grossing animated film of all time, so I wouldn't rule it out completely. 25% chance.
Minions - Minionmania is a force to be reckoned with, perhaps it's bigger than the Despicable Me series itself… But will the Minion-centric spin-off appeal more to the kids than teen and adult moviegoers? Or will it appeal to pretty much everyone? Expect a huge overseas total for it, but its overall gross depends on how it does domestically. 25% chance.
The Good Dinosaur - This has the same chances Inside Out has because of the concept, animation's appeal around the world and everything else in between. 25% chance.
How To Train Your Dragon 3 - If Hiccup and Toothless' second outing is both critically and commercial big, then expect this to really tear up the box office… But again, we have to see how the second one does. If the second one is a huge hit, then this has 75% chance. If not, then 25% chance.
Finding Dory - Finding Nemo is one of Pixar's most popular and recognizable films. Its 2003 grosses adjust to massive totals today, and even back then, it nearly made $1 billion with a mammoth $867 million gross. Finding Dory, unlike the poorly-received Cars 2 and the prequel that was Monsters University, will have the advantage of being a new adventure that'll excite everyone, even the skeptics will go. A huge opening, perhaps Pixar's biggest, is indeed in the cards. If it's good, it'll still be massive. If it's a slam dunk, it'll be even bigger. Yes, this could very well be the next mountain topper. Also, how high will ticket prices be in summer 2016? 75% chance.
Giants - Disney Animation's next fairy tale musical adventure, which will function as a Frozen 2, much like Frozen functioned as a Tangled 2. People loved Frozen, it's a big phenomenon, maybe they'll all flock to see the next Disney fairy tale musical event. However, Frozen could also be the summit of the momentum mountain. Maybe future films from the studio won't match that total, but one thing's for certain, Giants will still be big. Ditto Big Hero 6, Zootopia and Moana, but out of Disney Animation's four upcoming releases, this has a real shot at topping Frozen. You could say its box office total will match its title… 75% chance.
Will someone take the crown? Or will Frozen keep it? Sound off below with your predictions!