Po is back! The beloved panda voiced by Jack Black made a successful return to the big screen with Kung Fu Panda 3 which opened with $41 million in North America. That is weaker than 2008’s original which had an amazing $60.2 million opening and also a bit lower than the opening of the 2011 sequel ($47.7 million). But it ain’t bad at all for a January opening – in fact it’s the biggest ever opening for an animated movie seen in this month. The budget of $145 million is on the higher side, which would mean that DreamWorks Animation is going to rely heavily on the foreign earnings. The overseas opening has not disappointed with $75.7 million already earned from a few foreign territories – including new opening record of $58.3 million for an animated movie in China – which brings the worldwide tally to $116.7 million. Now Kung Fu Panda 2 had earned close to $666 million of which $500 million had come from overseas alone. That is the kind of figures the latest sequel would be aiming for, and the positive reviews and good word-of-mouth may eventually get Po to his goal once again!
There were three other wide releases though none created any real stir. The Chris Pine starrer The Finest Hours had quite a poor opening of $10.3 million in North America considering its production budget may well be above $70 million. It is even marginally weaker than the opening of last year’s In the Heart of the Sea ($11 million) which too is a sea drama; the latter failed to even manage $100 million earnings worldwide, and a similar fate seems in store for The Finest Hours. The parody Fifty Shades of Black tickled very few funny bones it seems; the movie’s opening of $6.2 million is unimpressive even though the production budget is just $5 million. Oh, and it is miles away from the $85 million opening for 2015’s Fifty Shades of Grey! The other new release, Jane Got a Gun had been facing difficulties in its release since Relativity Media had filed for bankruptcy. The Weinstein Company bought the distribution rights and released the movie on the weekend barely over a 1,000 theatres. It however seemed that by now no one was interested anymore in the Natalie Portman – Joel Edgerton western flick. The movie made less than a million dollars, averaging not even a $1,000 per theatre. The reviews are not too great either, and it should disappear very soon from the theatres. Such a disappointment to see a Portman movie do that badly!
The Revenant took second spot in North America with another low drop of 23%; total global earnings stand at $280 million. Star Wars: The Force Awakens is soon going to achieve two significant landmark events – the first movie to hit $900 million domestically & the third movie to ever cross $2 billion worldwide. The more you talk of this movie, the less it seems! Last week’s releases also saw low drops in their second weekend, between 25% to 35%, though the opening itself had been so unimpressive that it seems too little too late now.
Here are the top 5 weekend earners at the US box-office (estimates):
1. Kung Fu Panda 3 ($41.0 million)
2. The Revenant ($12.4 million; sixth weekend)
3. Star Wars: The Force Awakens ($10.8 million; seventh weekend)
4. The Finest Hours ($10.3 million)
5. Ride Along 2 ($8.3 million; third weekend)