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Box Office ReportPixar

‘Coco’ Launches #1 In U.S. and China

The five-day Thanksgiving holiday has been a lucky slot for Pixar, which launched its first three films – Toy Story, A Bug’s Life, and Toy Story 2 – in that window.

The Disney-owned studio again found success during the turkey holiday with Coco, which launched in 1st place with an estimated $71.2 million over the five-day ($49m of that gross coming from the Fri-Sun period).

The top six placements for Thanksgiving holiday openings are all occupied by Disney or Pixar animated films. Coco ranks 4th on that list:

  1. Frozen (2013) – $93.6m
  2. Moana (2016) – $82.1m
  3. Toy Story 2 (1999) – $80.1m
  4. Coco (2017) – $71.2m
  5. Tangled (2010) – $68.7m
  6. The Good Dinosaur (2015) – $55.5m

The story of Coco’s box office will be told in the weeks to come. Will the Lee Unkrich-directed film have the staying power of Disney product like Moana and Frozen or will it fade quickly in the manner of recent Pixar efforts like Cars 3 and The Good Dinosaur?

An “A+” Cinemascore from opening day audiences bodes well for the film’s long-term potential. In Mexico, the film has shown tremendous strength, reaching $53.4m, which is nearing the all-time $61.7m record set by The Avengers in 2012.

Beyond Mexico, Coco’s launch has been a mixed bag. In China, the film launched in first place with $18.2m, the biggest-ever for a film by Pixar (which has struggled to gain a foothold in the country), and 2nd-biggest for a Disney animated film ever, behind only Zootopia.

In Russia though, the film stumbled with just $3.1m, only slightly better than The Emoji Movie ($2.5m) and far behind the debuts of other recent animated films like The Boss Baby ($11.2m), Despicable Me 3 ($9.4m), and Cars 3 ($5m). Similarly in Poland, the film opened with $900k, trailing this year’s launches of DM3 ($2.7m), Sing ($1.5m), The Boss Baby ($1.5m), and even The Emoji Movie ($989k).

Moving on to Sony: following a mild debut, Sony Picture Animation’s The Star dropped just 30% in its second Fri-Sun frame, picking up $6.9m over the weekend, and $9.5m over the five-day holiday. That lifts the total to $22m.

As we pointed out last week, despite being Sony’s weakest-launch ever, the film will likely end up profitable due to its low production cost ($20m). The Star should serve as proof to Hollywood: not every film needs to have a $75-200m production cost. It’s possible to create low-to-mid-range animated films aimed at niche American audiences, and still end up in the black.

Good Deed Entertainment’s Loving Vincent grossed $263,123 from 147 theaters in its 10th weekend. The film’s total is $5.1m. It becomes only the fourth animated feature rated PG-13 or R in the last five years to earn $5 million-plus in U.S. theaters; the other three films are Sausage Party, Un Gallo con Muchos Huevos, and The Wind Rises. The film’s maximum theater count has been 212, a tiny number with which to reach over $5 million.

Cartoon Saloon/GKIDS’ The Breadwinner is not finding traction at the U.S. box office. The film expanded from 3 to 8 theaters, but increased its overall gross by less than one thousand dollars: $17,395 to $18,064. The per-theater average plummeted from $5,798 to $2,258. After two weeks in limited release, the film has grossed $44,612.

  • Fernando Gomes

    No offense but Cars 3 didn’t fade away at all since it’s now 383M on the 175M budget.
    Besides, a lot of people knew that it’s domestic run would end up being in 150M-160M since Despicable Me 3 was coming over two weeks after that.

    • AmidAmidi

      That sentence is referring to US box office, and it did indeed fade quickly, dropping 55% in week 2 and 60% in week 3, and ending up with a 2.9x multiplier compared to multipliers of 3.65x for DM3, 3.5x for Boss Baby, and 3.3x for Lego Batman.

      Whether the film was profitable is another question: the Cars franchise doesn’t need to earn as much box office as other theatrical series because they are basically designed as slick toy commercials for the licensing/merchandising, which generates far more profit for Disney than the films themselves do.

      • Inkan1969

        What about “Moana”? I thought that movie faded quickly at the US boxoffice.

        • Matthew

          Movies these days don’t tend to have long lives in theaters anymore whether they’re successful or unsuccessful.

        • Barrett

          Moana had pretty good staying power, as animated films go. It did better domestically that any other Disney feature (not named “Frozen”) in the past few years. No feature animated film is going to pull off what the Lion King or Aladdin or Beauty & the Beast did 20-25 years ago. Frozen was something of an anomaly, and even it didn’t do as well as those films, adjusted for inflation. The movie theater business doesn’t work that way anymore now that we all have big screen HD TVvs and Netflix and Blu-Rays etc.

  • Inkan1969

    Since we’re talking about US theatrical releases, whatever happened to

    Blazing Samurai
    Animal Crackers
    Gnome Alone

    I thought these three were supposed to get releases.

    • Marielle

      Also, when’s the next Laika movie (they had a release date of May 18 2018), where’s the trailer for Arctic Justice: Thunder Squad (they had a release date of January 26 2018), and what’s going to happen to Charming and Red Shoes and the Seven Dwarfs.

      • Quiubo

        Laika’s Travis Knight is working on the live-action Bumblebee movie.

    • J.S

      Blazing Samurai was being produced at Arc productions which filed for bankruptcy last year. My guess is that the movie is in some kind of limbo right now.

  • Capital_7

    Interestingly, Disney’s attempt to soften the blow of having a Mexican holiday film with a long Frozen “short” seems to be backfiring. In a full house, I didn’t see one positive reaction to the Frozen feature from anyone, including the children present. A few chuckles, but mostly growing impatience.

    Salon did a piece on exactly this. This doesn’t bode well for Frozen 2.

    http://www.slate.com/blogs/browbeat/2017/11/26/how_to_avoid_the_frozen_short_and_show_up_late_to_coco.html

    • Matthew

      Funny how with FROZEN itself, they just had an eight-minute retro-new Mickey Mouse short.

      • jay

        Which was far more entertaining than the movie, IMO.

    • William Bradford

      Mexico axed the Frozen short from the releases already: HOPEFULLY other countries do the same. Totally unnecessary.

      • Hankenshift

        The frozen short has nice production values, but is a 5 minute idea stretched to half an hour—totally unnecessary. The story itself is simplistic, the songs grating, and it wears out it’s welcome fast. The worst thing about it is it’s tonally as far away from Coco as you might imagine—not at all a good fit.

        • Barrett

          Well, the songs in the Frozen short were just about as grating and formulaic feeling as the songs in Frozen, so, good on them for consistency?
          Seriously, the Frozen ‘short” that ran the better part of a half-hour should have been a primetime TV special a la Prep & Landing and the Toy Story specials. It was too long to be a pre-feature short, and quite frankly, was worlds apart in tone and attitude from Coco. It was a decent short Frozen-themed story, but it felt out of place running pre-Coco.

    • Inkan1969

      I had no idea that “Olaf’s” was actually a TV Christmas special, and therefore 21 minutes long. I could see why people would get pissed off at the huge running time for a pre-show segment, especially one shown in a medium it was not intended for.

      One thing I noticed from one of the linked articles

      https://www.vox.com/culture/2017/11/25/16697898/coco-short-olafs-frozen-adventure-hate-pixar

      is that some of the commenters did not want a “Disney” cartoon placed with a “Pixar” project. When BAF Oscar submissions come around, we always argue about whether Disney and Pixar movies should be all counted as one. This article had tweets like “I also prefer there to be a high wall of separation between Disney and Pixar.” and “resented Disney for so flagrantly shoving its way into the at least marginally more sacred Pixar universe”

      • Barrett

        Does anyone know WHY Disney elected to shove this Frozen short before “Coco” rather than keeping it a TV special, as intended? Do they really think it wouldn’t get good ratings, running in a family-friendly timeslot in the run-up to Christmas? Why do this? Any chance they will learn from this and NEVER do something as tone-deaf again?

        • Capital_7

          The unsubstantiated rumor related to this is that Disney was nervous about releasing “only” a Mexican-culture specific holiday film, and they thought the Frozen short would buoy it against any white flight. Just a rumor, but it feels like something they’d do.

    • Tony

      The short was meant to be a TV special, and would most likely play better that way, as a main attraction. Theatrically, it would have been better served if it were attached to a reissue of one of the shorter Disney features, or as part of a compilation of holiday-themed shorts.
      Aside from the length, the main problem is a lack of proper advertising. I’m betting few people going to see Coco were even aware that the Frozen short was running first, and even those that did were probably not prepared for it to be so long. Moviegoers today aren’t used to cartoon shorts being longer than seven minutes, and ads for it should have warned people of that. (The term “featurette” for a 20-minute short, which was used on trailers for the short, is too arcane for modern audiences; most associate it to behind-the-scenes documentaries.)

    • HN

      It has very little effect on Frozen 2. The main problem with Olaf’s is that it is 20 minutes long. Audiences went there to watch Coco and they don’t want to wait that long for a short to finish. I’ll still predict a billion dollars for Frozen 2 in November 2019.

      • Capital_7

        Boy, I hope not. That was a terribly weak feature film.

  • Quiubo

    I’m still perplexed of how the story unfolds.

  • PKSwoop

    I wonder how the merchandising pole of Disney are doing right now,
    they have a hard theme to market for Christmas

    Can Disney lose money if they profit from their box office,
    but not from their toys?

  • I’m curious how The Breadwinner did in Europe, where I THINK it has been available for some time? it is opening in Cincinnati on 12/1 so I’ll finally get to go see it. I really hope that it has already made some money in other regions and makes more in the US; I’ve read so many good things about it.