Weekend Box Office: Zootopia Awakens

Zootopia, the 55th animated feature from Walt Disney Studios, had a record-breaking opening at the North American box office this weekend. The action sequel London Has Fallen fought its way into second place while the Tina Fey comedy Whiskey Tango Foxtrot flopped in fourth place. The top ten was up an astronomical 85% over last year at this time when Chappie eked out a crappie $13.3 million to claim the number one spot.

After playing for three weeks in overseas markets -where it has earned $158 million so far-, Disney’s Zootopia landed in North America this past Thursday night on 3,827 screens where it went on to capture a massive $73.7 million for its debut. That figure tops the $70.2 million record opening captured by The Lorax four years ago. It was also good enough to break the record held by Disney’s Frozen, which earned $67.4 million back in November of 2013.

The road ahead for Zootopia looks promising thanks to sensational feedback from critics –a 98% approval rating from Rotten Tomatoes- and ticket buyers, who gave the film an “A” rating on CinemaScore. Add to this the fact there is no competition for family film dollars until next month, and Zootopia should become the studio’s latest $200 million+ hit.

Three years ago, the action flick Olympus Has Fallen came out of nowhere to earn nearly $100 million at the domestic box office with plenty more from international markets. Naturally, that meant a sequel would follow: London Has Fallen, which commandeered a solid $21.7 million from 3,490 theaters. Reuniting Olympus stars Gerard Butler, Morgan Freeman, Angela Bassett and Aaron Eckhart, the $60 million U.K.-based shoot ‘em up from Focus Featuers was eviscerated by critics but fans of the original who showed up for this one didn’t seem to notice. They gave London an encouraging “A-“ from CinemaScore.

Fox’s Deadpool may have dropped from first to third place but that didn’t stop the Marvel hero from bagging another $16.4 million from 3,624 theaters. Down 47% from its third weekend of release, Deadpool has amassed an amazing $311 million so far in the States and an additional $362 million from overseas. The film still has a chance of passing 2014’s American Sniper to become the second highest-grossing R-rated domestic earner of all time by the end of its run. It will not pass The Passion of the Christ’s $370 million.

The reviews were decent, but apparently that wasn’t enough to entice ticket buyers into seeing the latest Tina Fey feature, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot. The comedy drama imploded in fourth place with debut numbers that undoubtedly had Paramount Pictures saying “WTF?” – $7.6 million from 2,374 theaters.

Gerard Butler can brag that he had two films in the top five this weekend. Of course, that means admitting he was a participant in Gods of Egypt, so he may not boast too loudly. The costly Lionsgate flop landed in fifth place with an estimated $5 million from 3,117 theaters. Off 65% from its opening weekend, Gods has earned $23 million after ten days and should consider itself lucky if it reaches the $30 million mark. Foreign markets have contributed $49 million so far.

A few winners from last weekend’s Oscars ceremony grabbed a little leftover multiplex cash where they could. Spotlight, which is currently out on home video, added 542 theaters to its screen count and saw its fortunes soar 149%. Currently on 1,227 screens, the 2015 Best Picture winner earned $1.83 million to bring its overall total to $41.7 million. The Revenant dipped 16% to land in eighth place with an estimated $3.32 million from 1,488 theaters. Its new domestic total is $176 million. Room added $445,000 to its total despite hitting home video this past Tuesday. It’s overall total is $14.1 million.

The remainder of the top ten:

  1. Risen (Sony) $3.8 million (-43%); $28.6 million
  1. Kung Fu Panda 3 (Fox) $3.5 million (-60%); $133.8 million
  1. Eddie the Eagle (Fox) $3.1 million (-50%); $10.8 million
  1. The Witch (A24) $2.5 million (50%); $21 million

Zootopia should have no trouble staying in the number one spot next weekend as 10 Cloverfield Lane, The Brothers Grimsby, The Perfect Match and The Young Messiah all make their debuts.

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