Box Office ReportCGIFeature Film

Blue Sky’s “Epic” Opened in 4th Place at the Box Office

Blue Sky’s Epic, directed by Chris Wedge, opened its U.S. box office run in fourth place with a respectable weekend take of $33.5 million. If you add in earnings from Monday, which was a holiday in the States, Epic’s 4-day total stands at $42.8M.

The film was based on a story by children’s author/illustrator Bill Joyce, whose movie projects have had difficulty capturing the attention of audiences. Similarly, Epic is the weakest opening ever for a Blue Sky feature. While Epic outperformed the dismal openings of the last two films based on Joyce properties—DreamWorks’ Rise of the Guardians ($23.8M) and Disney’s Meet the Robinsons ($25.1M)—it still failed to match the opening weekend of the Blue Sky/Bill Joyce collaboration Robots which had a 3-day total of $36 million in 2005.

Fox president of dommestic distribution, Chris Aronson, was optimistic about the film’s long-term potential, telling the Hollywood Reporter, “I think it’s a fantastic start. We have a four week run before Monsters University opens, and I’m very bullish on where Epic goes.”

In other box office news, after ten weeks in theaters, DreamWorks’ The Croods continues to show great legs and remains in the top ten. The film took ninth place last weekend with $1.2 million. As of yesterday, its U.S. total stands at $179.6 million and its foreign total is $383.4 million for a grand total of $563 million.

Finally, GKIDS is headed for its first million dollar-grossing release in the U.S. with Goro Miyazaki’s From Up on Poppy Hill. The film earned $17,281 last weekend pushing its grand total to $958,610.

  • jmahon

    I saw it, and I can tell you it isn’t the animation that made it fail. That’s what I saw it for, and boy did it deliver…really amazing and dynamic animation from start to finish. Especially for the wide range of strange characters of every different size. Too bad the animators had to work from awful “celebrity” actors whose talent sure doesn’t come from their voices. Refreshingly, though, the best of them all was actually the main boy and girl, they held the movie up story-wise.

  • I’d imagine that part of the reason this film has ‘underperformed’ so far is that the summer season hasn’t even started yet. A lot of kids are still in school and families haven’t started their vacations yet. Also, Epic is competing with that juggernaut, Iron Man 3.

    And yeah, it’s sad that foreign animated films always have a hard time doing well in the US, but that’s pretty much the same for any foreign film (with a few exceptions, like say, Slumdog Millionaire.) Up on Poppy Hill might not be the absolute best Studio Ghibli film. However, it is enjoyable enough and certainly an improvement over Miyazaki Jr.’s last film, Tales From Earthsea.

  • Klyph14

    I thought we learned after Treasure Planet that fantasy themed animated films wrapped in an action movie package just don’t light up the box office.

    • wendy

      What, you mean like Avatar? I know, I know it wasn’t an animated feature, well unless you ask the 100 animators that worked on the film…they might have something to say about that. I’d argue it can work. You just need convincing characters that you care about. I never thought I’d like an animated film about an old dude who flies away in his house, but damn that movie. You made me cry in front of my friends Pete Doctor and I’ll never forgive you for that.

    • jonhanson

      That’s a very Hollywood lesson to take.

      Just like the B.O. of Princess and the Frog and Winnie the Pooh proved that traditional animation doesn’t light up the box office.

  • Epic opened on Memorial Day weekend. Up against a new Fast & Furious and Hangover, it didn’t stand a chance. Epic feels like a movie that should’ve opened in April, back when we barely had any animated releases thus far this year.

    • IJK

      Because the first thing families are going to take their kids to is Fast and the Furious and Hangover…?

  • But worldwide gross, it’s currently over $80 million. That’s pretty good, right?

    • No.

    • Scott550

      Films have to make 3 times their cost/advertising back to break even worldwide. when it crosses $300 million, it’s doing OK.

  • rufus3698

    And don’t forget the other cartoon showing this weekend, “Fast and Furious 6”.

  • Jen Hurler

    Recalling when I interned at a major live-action film studio, I was both surprised and unsurprised at the formulaic way in which they select everything from release dates to locations of theaters for which part of the wave of their ever-widening release into theaters based on the film’s demographic and topic in relation to past films of a similar nature. There are a lot of film out right now that would attract the same kids, and many parents who aren’t keen on splurging on more than one film outing are probably holding out for MU.

    I don’t know how similar Bill Joyce’s book is to the final film, but something like lack of original story doesn’t seem like the blame, as I doubt most kids today have seen films like FernGully. Plus that sort of thing doesn’t really seem to bug children as much as it bugs us older animation watchers. We’re the ones who get ultra-critical (which isn’t a bad thing) of plot and technical and artistic merit, voice acting, etc. I am surprised it opened less successfully than past Blue Sky picture though (even with prices adjusted, I assume). That’s disheartening, as I am really rooting for this film to succeed.

  • jmahon

    we had this argument long ago when it was renamed from the more apt “The Leafmen”, which was perfectly fine, to “Epic”, which is no doubt riding off of the success of “Tangled” which I still say was a completely asinine name.

    • Funkybat

      If I still made wish lists for Santa, my #1 wish for this year would be for studios to stop going out of their way to use these non-descriptive, contrived single-word titles for their animated features. After “Epic” we can look forward to “Turbo” and “Frozen.” (I also wonder how much the folks at DW knew about the characters in Wreck-It Ralph before they named their movie “Turbo.” After Ralph, there’s only one character that comes to mind when I hear “Turbo.”

      • George Comerci

        when i first heard about the movie turbo, i thought it was going to be about him :)

  • demonvaska

    It opened in a crowded weekend and didn’t help itself by being stunningly generic. The film might as well have been called ‘Ferngully: The Focus Group Edition’.

    Joyce seems to excel when doing small projects such as ‘The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore’ but when it comes time for large pictures all the rough edges and interesting ideas are sanded down into an indistinguishable mass. Since this has happened at different production companies it suggests that either he cannot handle a full-scale project or he is unable to stand-up and keep his ideas intact during the process.

    • Funkybat

      One thing I wish at least one studio would try is actually going with a visual style that is very close to Bill Joyce’s actual style of illustration. Robots was probably the closest I’ve seen on the movie screen, Rollie Pollie Ollie is the only animated adaption I know of that actually looked like his work. In Epic, there were several crowd characters that had something of the right “feel” and the wise man Nim Galoo seemed at least somewhat “Joyce-ish.” That seems to be the case with a lot of these films, in “Guardians” only Sandman resembled himself in the books.

      My biggest issues with the movie had nothing to do with whether or not it looked like Bill Joyce’s work, but it is a factor that I feel is getting lost in these animated adaptations. Meet the Robinsons would have been more interesting if it looked like the book it was based on, and I feel like this movie would have been as well. That said, both of those films had story and character development problems that no amount of visuals could make up for. I enjoyed watching Epic, but I can’t say I’m all that blown away. Still hoping for a solid story with one of these movies, the Joyce visual style would be icing on the cake.

  • Lee

    Wow this movie was amazing, when the movie ended everyone in the cinema clapped ! :D

  • aaron

    It was all a Fox marketing / Tom Rothman decision.

  • brandon

    Amid, the guy’s name is WILLIAM JOYCE!

    Come on, now. Professionalism!

  • BongBong

    Quite honestly everything about this movie looked unappealing.