A rich weekend in November that brought three wide releases – one was from Hollywood’s most successful animation studio, other was the seventh instalment in a franchise that started almost four decades back, and the last one was another re-imagination of a story written almost two centuries back. Of the trio, Pixar’s The Good Dinosaur had the biggest opening in North America earning $39.2 million over the weekend, and $55.5 million over the longer 5-day Thanksgiving weekend. It took second spot at the domestic box-office charts. But the earnings of The Good Dinosaur are a far cry from the kind of openings Pixar movies usually get. Do not look too far in the past, for only a few months back Inside Out had a splendid $90 million opening weekend. The opening of The Good Dinosaur looks even worse if you consider the whole list of movies churned out by Pixar since 1995, where you will find that only Toy Story and A Bug’s Life had weaker opening weekend collections. The production budget of the movie is expected to be huge, in excess of $175 million, and that means The Good Dinosaur may not even earn enough to break-even which used to be unthinkable for a Pixar movie. The movie has earned $84.2 million worldwide and that figure has to move north of $500 million, if the production budgets are correct. The earnings from China are going to be hugely important for this film, but a release date is yet to be announced. What went wrong for The Good Dinosaur is difficult to understand because it has a 76% score on Rottentomatoes which means it has been fairly well received by the critics, and then it had the Pixar brand attached which should have got the audience to the theatres on the first weekend. Somewhere the movie has been let down by its marketing it seems, and maybe the newly tried ‘two movie a year’ strategy ain’t the right approach for a heavily quality conscious studio like Pixar. And just to throw in some perspective, Inside Out has earned $852 million globally at the box-office, showcasing what the Pixar magic is capable of achieving.
A spot below The Good Dinosaur is the latest boxing instalment from the Rocky series titled Creed. The movie had a very strong opening of $29.6 million over the 3-day weekend, and $42.2 million over the 5-day period, against its production budget of $35 million. That’s the best opening seen in the series (not adjusting for inflation), though the better comparison would be with 2006’s Rocky Balboa. The latter had surprised many people, possibly including Sylvester Stallone, with its amazing box-office performance, with earnings of $70 million domestically and $156 million globally against its budget of $24 million. This feat had been achieved with a modest opening of $12 million in North America. In comparison, Creed has had a much bigger opening and with its amazing reviews, it should cross $100 million in North America alone. The foreign earnings could brighten things up a lot further; we will just have to wait and watch on that one. In the Rocky series, Rocky IV holds the distinction of being the biggest earner with $300 million collected globally back in 1985. That’s a huge figure to match, but if Creed does come anywhere close, it would be absolutely amazing. Some characters are never lost, some actors can never fade!
Victor Frankenstein was the final release of the weekend, and it was miles away from the others. The movie was not even in the top ten places in North America and earned a disastrous $2.5 million over the weekend. The 5-day release period and the foreign earnings put together makes for a slightly better total of $13.4 million, which is still shockingly bad for a $40 million budget movie starring Daniel Radcliffe and James McAvoy. Apart from the audience, the critics have been harsh on the movie too (25% score on Rottentomatoes). The movie is unlikely to earn even $10 million domestically, though the foreign markets will help cut the losses a bit. Giving the green light to this film only a year or so after I, Frankenstein of 2014, which was a high profile disaster of that year, seems like a terrible studio-level decision for which the price has now been paid. On the other end of the box-office charts, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 held on to its top position with only a 49% decline in its second weekend. Last weekend’s opening for the movie was the weakest in the franchise, but it was still terrific in absolute terms. Now the worldwide gross has reached $442 million as the fans of the series overseas are making up for lost domestic earnings. It still has two more weekends to rake in as much money as it can before a certain Star Wars makes it appearance. May the Force be with it!
Here are the top 5 weekend earners at the US box-office:
1. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 ($52.0 million; second weekend)
2. The Good Dinosaur ($39.2 million)
3. Creed ($29.6 million)
4. Spectre ($12.9 million; fourth weekend)
5. The Peanuts Movie ($9.7 million; fourth weekend)