‘Abominable’ Has Animated Number One Opening

The month of September closed on a moderate, but solid, note as the Universal/Dreamworks Animation release Abominable became the new box office champ. The cartoon was the only wide release this weekend as studios began to steer clear of Warner’s Joker, which will begin to dominate multiplexes starting this Thursday night.

Over the past decade, the final weekend of September has served as the launching pad for smaller-scale animated features. While films in the Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs and Hotel Transylvania franchises turned exceed expectations to become big box office hits, titles such as The Boxtrolls, The LEGO Ninjago Movie and last year’s Smallfoot from Warner Brothers had box office returns that matched their modest openings.

This year’s offering is Universal/Dreamworks’ Abominable, the second Yeti-themed animated feature in a year’s time following Smallfoot. Judging from its $20.8 million debut from 4,242 screens, it’s looking like the $75 million production should follow the same box path Smallfoot took one year ago. That would translate into a final box office of roughly $80 million.

Feedback from the press and public for Abominable was overall solid, which should help power the movie through the month of October. Abominable scored an 80% on Rotten Tomatoes, a 62/100 on Metacritic and an “A” from viewers polled on CinemaScore. Another factor that should work in the film’s favor is a lack of competition. Until the animated Addams Family arrives in mid-October, Abominable has the family matinee market all to itself.

Following its big opening one week ago, Focus Features’ Downton Abbey dipped 53% in its second weekend at 3,390 cinematic estates to earn an estimated $14.5 million. The first ten days for Abbey in North America have yielded a great $58.5 million. Downton Abbey should be able to close out its first cinematic season with ticket sales between $90-100 million. Overseas, the film has brought in $48.6 million so far.

Dancing its way back up from fifth place last weekend to third this weekend was STX’s Hustlers with an estimated $11.47 million from 3,508 theaters. Down only 32% in its third session, Hustlers has now seduced $80.6 million. It should cross the $100 million mark within the next two weeks. Overseas, Hustlers has earned $15 million so far.

Warner’s IT: Chapter Two continued to scare up business in fourth place with an estimated $10.4 million from 3,611 screens. Down 39%, IT: Chapter Two has brought in $194 million. Overseas, the horror sequel has brought in $223.5 million.

Rounding out the top five was Fox/Disney’s Ad Astra with an estimated $10.1 million. Down 47%, the Brad Pitt sci-fi flick has earned $35.5 million so far and is looking at a final haul just past the $60 million mark. Overseas, Ad Astra has pulled in $53.5 million so far.

  1. Rambo: Last Blood (Lionsgate) $8.57 million (-55%); $33.1 million
  2. Judy (Roadside) $3 million

Oscar bait alert! The Judy Garland biopic starring Renee Zellweger in the lead role opened on 471 screens this weekend and scored the best per-screen average in the top ten this weekend.

  1. Good Boys (Universal) $2 million (-22%); $80.3 million
  2. The Lion King (Disney) $1.6 million (-40%); $540 million
  3. Angel Has Fallen (Lionsgate) $1.5 million (-36%); $67.1 million

Next weekend, it is all Joker all the time as the Todd Phillips’ origin tale is looking to bring in more than $80 million in its first three days.

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