Monday, November 24, 2014

Hangin' On and Other Box Office Blabber

Big Hero 6 is now in its third weekend.

It dropped a great 41%. Now why is that great? Let's go back to 2012, when Wreck-It Ralph was in its third weekend. Like Big Hero 6, this was also a "first weekend of November" release, so I feel the comparison is apt. Ralphy dropped 43% on its third weekend, making $121 million by that point. Since Big Hero 6 opened higher among other things, its current domestic gross is $135 million. So far, so good!

If it keeps it up, it'll end with more than $200 million domestically. It'll join Tangled and Frozen in the big 2-0-0 league, alongside Aladdin and The Lion King. Wreck-It Ralph just missed it, but I guess you can consider an $189 million-grossing film a $200 million leaguer... In a way...

But what matters most is that Walt Disney Animation Studios is finally getting rewarded for their recent films at the box office, partially thanks to marketing campaigns that are actually getting audiences interested in seeing these films before they open. (If only I could say the same for Meet The Robinsons, Bolt, and The Princess and the Frog... And also Winnie The Pooh.) Legs may speak volumes, but a looming budget is sadly more important in the grand scheme of things.

Big Hero 6 has one last hurdle to jump, I think...

Penguins of Madagascar!

Many analysts are predicting that it'll do decent business at best, not making more than $140 million domestically. Earlier I had predicted that it would be pretty big given the fact that the Madagascar series is well-liked on its own and the penguins are arguably what people like about it the most... I mean, they even got their own show that's still running! I remember 10 years ago... Yes that's right, 10 years ago, when the teaser for the first Madagascar popped up, the penguins were emphasized quite heavily. Another fun fact, the lemurs were not in this trailer. It was all about the zoo escape and the penguins highjacking the cargo ship. We had to wait till the full trailer to see the lemurs and "I Like To Move It" shenanigans.

So yes, penguins. Big. I was assuming it was locked to open with $50 million, but the analysts are saying late-30s. Seems kind of low for an entry in a popular franchise, even if it is a spin-off. I would've thought $40 million was the ground for it.

Penguins of Madagascar is a small threat to Big Hero 6's box office. Not because it's an animated family film, I don't subscribe to the "animated films cannibalize each other" theory. It's true that a current animated feature normally drops when a new one hits, but I think that's because of the fact that the new animated film syphons a lot of the 3D screens away from the previous one - thus the previous film loses quite a few screens and attendance. That still doesn't stop it entirely, though.

An animated film will still soldier on at the box office despite the latest one making it slow down a bit. If the picture has solid word-of-mouth, then it'll pick back up and keep having steady drops until it's out of theaters. I'm not sure what kind of reception Penguins will get from audiences, but if the moviegoers like it a lot, both films will indeed co-exist. I look back to summer 2012, and how Madagascar 3 and Brave - released mere weeks apart, both liked by audiences - both held on and made 3 1/2 times their opening weekend grosses.

This is where the Ralphy comparisons end for Big Hero 6. Wreck-It Ralph faced another big-release animated family film on the Thanksgiving week. A DreamWorks one, no less... But why do the comparisons end?

It was Rise of the Guardians, a film that - unfortunately - not too many people around the nation wanted to see. Wreck-It Ralph dipped 10% that weekend, probably because of the general disinterest in Guardians. Also, the Disney Animation film had strong word-of-mouth working in its favor. But when Rise of the Guardians picked up steam after the few who saw it realized it was very good, the two movies co-existed and both made over 3 1/2 times their opening weekends, not cannibalizing each other at all. Ralph scored a 3.8x multiplier, Rise of the Guardians? 4.4x!

So even if the penguins' own movie satisfies audiences, Big Hero 6 will still hang on. At this point, the lowest multiplier I see for the movie is 3.7x. It would finish up with $207 million if that were the case... I think it'll land somewhere between $210-220 million domestically.

My prediction is that Penguins of Madagascar will collect roughly $40-45 million, though it is a Wednesday release so the pre-weekend showings may give it some momentum or may not help it at all. Again, it all boils down to how audiences think of it. So I think around the early 40s, 3.5x-ish multiplier, $140-150 million finish stateside.

In other box office news, the latest installment in the Hunger Games film series opened with a rathe surprising $121 million, considering that the first film opened with $152 million and the second took in $158 million. Then again it may not be surprising given the reception of the final book, and maybe audiences who aren't big on said final book weren't willing to sit through "two full parts" of an adaptation of a book that they weren't all that crazy about.

So with that being said, coupled with the sort-of meh reaction the film itself got, I think it's possible that Guardians of the Galaxy will remain 2014's domestic box office champion.

Consider. Guardians of the Galaxy has now made $331 million, pretty damn impressive! All of that off a $95 million opening, meaning it made a stellar 3.4x its opening. That's excellent for any blockbuster/PG-13 film, especially a superhero one! That tops the multipliers Iron Man and The Avengers got, and even The Dark Knight!

Hunger Games made 2.68x its opening weekend, the second one scored the same multiplier. If part tres scores it, it'll finish up with around $325 million domestically. Imagine that! A bizarre movie about a gun-toting space raccoon and a talking tree in space being the year's biggest movie in North America. And the third installment in a film series that produced two $400 million-grossers couldn't top it? Sometimes something a little out there can have its day.

So a win-win, I think. Big Hero 6 making $200 million stateside, Guardians of the Galaxy remaining North America's box office champion of the year, and good business all around for almost everyone else.

What do you think? Will Big Hero 6 make it to $200 million domestically? Will Guardians of the Galaxy stay on top? Sound off below!


  1. What are your worldwide predictions for Penguins? It's already made $23 million in China, which is in line with how Madagascar 3 performed there.

    1. I think overseas it'll take in roughly $400-450 million.

  2. My worldwide predictions is 600-650 millions