It was a great weekend for subpar family CG films starring animals. Peter Lepeniotis’ The Nut Job, the first animated film released by Open Road Films, the new distribution company launched by AMC Theatres and Regal Entertainment Group, opened in third place with a robust $19.4 million. It’s a four-day holiday in the United States, so the film will have a healthy Monday gross as well. No one had anticipated the film performing so well, especially after its poor reception with both critics and audiences.
The most recent comp—a mid-budget CGI children’s animal comedy—would be Reel FX/Relativity’s Free Birds, which opened last November with $15.8M and went on to gross $55.2M domestically. As it stands, The Nut Job is on track to become the highest-grossing Open Road film yet, and a sure sign that they’ll be releasing more second-rate animated films in the future.
Frozen dropped from second to fifth place, with $11.8M (est) for a total of $332.4M. The film also added $24.6M from international territories pushing its international gross to $426.5M. The Oscar-nominated Disney film has now pulled in $758.9M globally.
In China, audiences were subjected to Boonie Bears, their equivalent of The Nut Job. Families there embraced the film, driving it to a powerful $16.2M dollar opening. That’s more than The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug grossed last weekend across 63 different territories. The Oscar-nominated Despicable Me 2, which finally opened in China last weekend with the title Super Thief Nanny 2, banked a powerful $18.4in its second frame. The Universal hit has now grossed $33.9M in China and $964.8M globally.