Weekend Box Office: ‘Zootopia’ Had The Biggest Opening Ever For A Disney Animated Film

Zootopia was the best Disney movie I’ve seen in a long time, and now it’s performing like one. Riding rave reviews from critics and furries alike, Zootopia grossed an estimated opening $73.7 million, putting it ahead of both Frozen‘s $67.4 million opening in 2013, the previous highest-grossing, non-Pixar, non-sequel Disney animated movie, and even ahead of Universal’s The Lorax’s $70.2 million the previous best-ever March opening for an animated film back in 2012. Another interesting “nugget”:

As it stands, the picture has notched the third-biggest opening weekend ever for a “not based on anything” movie. […]

It now sits just above the $70.5 million opening weekend of Finding Nemo (not adjusted for inflation) and sits below only the $77m debut of Avatar and the $90m debut of Pixar’s Inside Out among films that were not sequels and not based on any prior source material. [Forbes]

Overall, it’s the ninth-biggest animated opening ever, not adjusted for inflation (adjusting, it’s 20th). For recent comparison, Zootopia is way above Kung Fu Panda 3‘s $41.2 million in January and The Good Dinosaur‘s $39 million in December, though not quite up to Minions ($115.7 million) or Inside Out ($90.4 million), both of which opened this past summer. Zootopia has been out for four weeks in some international markets, and has earned $232.5 million globally. Disney didn’t release a budget, but it looks really expensive — like, state-of-the-art animation expensive. But with huge opening, a 98% RottenTomatoes, and an A Cinemascore, I have to think they made out. I’d bet the house on there being a sequel.

Elsewhere, Deadpool saw its first weekend out of the top spot since it opened Valentine’s Day weekend, not that anyone’s complaining, since it also became the third R-rated movie ever to pass $300 million this weekend. It needs another $39 million to pass American Sniper, and $59 million to pass The Passion of the Christ. Interestingly, it’s the least politically-charged of those three, and made no attempts to justify its naughty talk with a social mission. If it passes either, it would be a victory for swearing-for-swearing’s sake. Writing as a true vulgarian, that would really put a smile on this cuss-spewer.

As for this weekend’s other new releases, London Has Fallen grossed $21.7 million on a $60 million budget, about in line with expectations, and down somewhat from the first’s $30 million opening, but enough to cleanse Gerard Butler’s star from the knock he took last week when Gods of Egypt flopped. But hey, the guy was in two movies in as many weeks, I’m sure he’s doing fine. Next up, Tina Fey’s Whiskey Tango Foxtrot grossed $7.6 million, well below the studio’s $10-12 million expectations for the $35 million film. It received middling reviews and a B Cinemascore. It felt like one of those movies that’s a little hard to market, which would’ve been fine if it had gotten glowing reviews, but it didn’t. Rock the Kasbah, Ishtar — the lesson here is, never put a comedian in the desert.

Next week brings us the still-mysterious 10 Cloverfield Lane, Sacha Baron Coen’s The Brothers Grimsby, which I would very much like to see but the studio isn’t screening here; The Young Messiah, which is going to apply the Star Wars prequels model to the life of Christ; and The Perfect Match, a black rom-com. If Lebron James plays the wacky friend in Trainwreck (a white rom-com), who should play the friend in Perfect Match? Ronda Rousey? Peyton Manning? Novak Djokovic? Discuss.

Film Weekend Per Screen
1 Zootopia $73,700,000 $19,258 $73,700,009
2 London Has Fallen $21,714,000 $6,222 $21,714,000
3 Deadpool $16,400,000 (-47%) $4,525 $311,158,132
4 Whiskey Tango Foxtrot $7,600,000 $3,201 $7,600,000
5 Risen $3,885,000 (-43%)
$1,550 $28,650,923
6 Kung Fu Panda 3 $3,525,000 (-60%) $1,306 $133,831,833
7 The Revenant $3,325,000 (-16%) $2,235 $175,976,921
8 Eddie the Eagle $3,100,000 (-49%) $1,517 $10,861,132
9 The Witch $2,509,453 (-50%) $1,463 $20,920,027
10 Triple 9 $2,128,347 (-65%) $965 $10,239,381


[chart via ScreenCrush]