Monday Mixer: 'Zootopia' sets a Disney record

Posted Monday, March 7, 2016 at 1:55 PM Central
Last updated Monday, March 7, 2016 at 1:55 PM Central

by John Couture

The Oscars were so big last week that they bumped our normal Monday Mixer. At least, that's the story and I'm sticking to it. This week the MM returns and the timing couldn't be better.

Disney is back (were they ever really gone?) and this week's performance from Zootopia proves that Frozen was no fluke and that Disney is truly more than simply a conduit for Pixar films. Zootopia is the one animated film that we could not quite agree upon. I was the lone wolf going big at $300 million while Tim was more conservative with a $260 million total. Dannette was banking on a sub-$200 million draw while favoring live-action films.

While 2016 is certainly on pace to be a great box office performer, Zootopia's early returns is proof that 2015 wasn't a fluke. The first real test for 2016 will come in a few weeks when Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice debuts. The buzz for it has been mixed and if 2016 has any chance of coming close to last year's numbers, that film will have to surpass $400 million.

Will it? Well, time will tell. For now, let's delve into Zootopia and this week's MM.

Box Office 411

This weekend was all about Zootopia. The latest film from Disney animation set a record with its $73.3 million opening. Just how big is that opening? Well, it's more than Frozen brought in during its opening weekend in 2013. It should also be pointed out that Frozen opened in a more traditional time of the year in November when family films tend to over perform while early March isn't exactly known for being a fertile breeding ground for animated films.

It is now in the top ten animated openings ever and you can see that top openings are all sprinkled in the Summer when kids are out of school and parents are desperate for a distraction. But the question remains, what will it end up with?

While there won't be any real competition in the genre until Ratchet and Clank comes out on April 29, will it continue to bring in enough money to rival Frozen's $400 million take? There will be a couple of nice infusions to its box office thanks to Easter and Spring Break, but I think it will still fall far short of the $400 million target. I am going to up my original prediction of $300 million to $325 million, but I wouldn't be surprised if it ends up closer to $350 million. Next week's drop will tell us much more about its long-term viability.

In second place, London Has Fallen performed in line with expectations with its $21.7 million opening. The sequel was slightly behind its predecessor's $30 million opening. As long as it performs on par with the first film, it should end up with $75 million.

The other wide release of the weekend was the Tina Fey vehicle Whiskey Tango Foxtrot which slightly underperformed with $7.6 million. Based on a successful best-selling novel, the film seems to be trying to tip-toe a tonal line between comedy and drama. A total of $25 million is the likely ending point for the film.

The other big news of the weekend was Deadpool's $16.4 million weekend, which was enough to get make it the third ever R-rated film to surpass $300 million at the box office. I think the Ryan Reynolds film will creep pass American Sniper for second place, but stall out before it unseats The Passion of the Christ for the title of highest-grossing R-rated film of all time.

Quick Hitters

  • My disdain for remakes isn't a secret, but I do enjoy this little video that compares some shots from a variety of remakes side-by-side with the originals. First, I learned that 12 Monkeys was a remake. Second, it might just be my bias, but there's something intrinsically more compelling about the original shots. In perhaps the same way that the original is always clear and each subsequent copy is blurrier than the last.

    Remakes from Jaume R. Lloret on Vimeo.

  • Speaking of remakes, Sony released the first trailer for Ghostbusters and the reaction has been mixed - at best. I actually didn't hate the trailer but wasn't blown away by it either. As I said in the piece, it's a fine line to toe. But the response from social media has been downright vile.

    That response led to a fan, Bevan Bell, to remix his own teaser trailer and, to be honest, it's better than the longer version.

Back in the Mixer again!