Sunday, November 9, 2014
Box Office Heroes
Big Hero 6 took the #1 spot this weekend... Let's celebrate!
Yes, Walt Disney Animation Studios' latest is a bonafide box office hit. Also, it beat the Christopher Nolan sci-fi odyssey that opened wide the same day. Was that unthinkable? In hindsight, not really.
Anyways, Big Hero 6 has taken in an estimated $56 million. That falls right between Wreck-It Ralph ($49 million) and Frozen ($67 million), and one of the few animated films that isn't a sequel made in this day and age that has topped $50 million on opening weekend.
So where does it go from here?
Disney Animation's multipliers are always damn strong. The lowest multiplier for a Lasseter-era film is Winnie the Pooh, with a still-great 3.7x multiplier, the highest is Frozen with a 5.9x(!!!) multiplier. Big Hero 6 also has an A CinemaScore grade, which was inevitable. Audiences are loving it, and it got great reviews. I'm going to say $200 million is 99% a lock. The lowest multiplier I think this can score is 3.7x, which will mean that the film will still make $207 million minimum. I think a Ralph-sized multiplier (3.8x) is in play here, which means it'll make roughly $212 million in the end. Heck, it could go even higher!
Is there any competition in the way? Penguins of Madagascar will surely nab a lot of screens from the film, especially the 3D ones, but Big Hero 6 will probably hold on like mad despite the spy birds because audiences are satisfied. By the time The Hobbit Part Tres, Annie and Night at the Museum Part Tres open, Big Hero 6 will have already built up a lot of momentum. I think $200 million is basically the floor at this point...
As for beating Interstellar...
Some of us out there were a bit worried about the release date of this film. Interstellar is no sequel or entry in a big franchise, but it's a Christopher Nolan film. A Nolan film set in outer space that promises amazing visuals and spectacle. That's a guaranteed hit right there! Early predictions had Interstellar opening at more than $75 million, and that seemed likely.
Nolan's name alone probably helped Inception a great deal four years ago. I mean, Inception looked amazing from the marketing to begin with, but adding the little "From the director of The Dark Knight" probably really helped. Boom, $62 million opening. Audiences loved and ate the movie up, it had strong legs and climbed to a near-$300 million domestic gross. Now long before Inception came out, I remember people had shot down $300 million domestic predictions, saying they were too optimistic. Well looky what happened.
So naturally a lot of us expected Interstellar to be huge, and a threat to Big Hero 6...
But then there was hope. Big Hero 6 had an incredibly strong marketing campaign behind it, and also... History.
This weekend is also the fourth time two films opened with over $50 million on the same weekend. Every time this happens, it's ALWAYS an animated film vs. a live-action film. And guess what? The animated film always wins!
In 2008, WALL-E opened against Wanted. Pixar's space odyssey, and a risky film at that, was opening against a big anticipated action blockbuster starring Angelina Jolie. Now Pixar won easily with $63 million, but Wanted was no slouch. It made a big $50 million.
In 2012, Madagascar 3 opened against Prometheus. Prometheus had its Alien connection and a very strong marketing campaign behind it, but Madagascar 3's marketing worked wonders and the threequel was coming off of its predecessors which were already big hits to begin with. Madagascar 3 opened with a great $60 million, Prometheus settled for $50 million.
Last year, Monsters University and World War Z went head-to-head. There was no competition there, really. Monsters U was a prequel to a classic that lots of people love, and it's Pixar. Had it been a Pixar original opening against Brad Pitt vs. Zombies, it probably still would've outdone it. Monsters U collected $82 million with ease, World War Z still scared up an impressive $66 million.
So here we are again, round 4. Disney Animation's superhero adventure with a marshmallow robot beat the Dark Knight director's nearly-3-hour polarizing sci-fi epic!
Lesson of the day? Don't underestimate the "kiddie cartoon", it just might wallop you on opening weekend. Because chances are, that "kiddie movie" may be a great movie that so-called grown-ups can enjoy!
That all being said, Big Hero 6 deserves every penny it's going to make and every accolade it's going to get. Interstellar? I need to see it, and when I do I'll review it. I hope both films do fine!