After thoroughly dominating the box office the last two weeks, Beauty and the Beast — so far, the biggest movie of 2017, with nearly $400 million domestic after only 15 days — has finally give up the throne. It was not Scarlett Johansson who took down the Disney film, however; it was Alec Baldwin.
More precisely, it was the voice of Alec Baldwin speaking for the title character in 20th Century Fox’s The Boss Baby, which overcame middling reviews and a series of punishing review headlines to take the top spot with a hefty $50.3 million. The popularity of The Boss Baby may be inscrutable to many, but parents understand why the film managed to take down the competition. Trailers for the film have been attached to nearly every animated film for the last six months (including Trolls), the trailer has been seen online over 100 million times, and cardboard cutouts of the Boss Baby have littered theaters since Christmas. For most kids starving for a new animated offering, that’s all it takes. Attaching a trailer to Beauty and the Beast that poked fun at Beauty and the Beast two weeks ago surely didn’t hurt, either. Basically, The Boss Baby reached maximum exposure among the little-kid market.
According to Cinemascore, 73 percent of moviegoers went to see The Boss Baby for one major reason: It was an animated film, only the third one this year after The LEGO Batman and Rock Dog (and most parents could not be cajoled by their kids into seeing the box-office bomb, Rock Dog). In fact, I’ll be taking my kids to see The Boss Baby for the very same reason this afternoon. While many adults are satisfied to wait and watch mediocre offerings at home (especially because of the closing window between a film’s box-office release and its home release), movie theaters remain an alluring novelty for most kids, and an easy way for parents to win their favor, especially on a snowy weekend in New England where spring has been delayed for at least another week.