Critics and online fans may have reviled the movie, but that didn’t prevent American audiences from showing up for Sony Animation’s The Emoji Movie, which opened in the number two position behind Dunkirk.
The film debuted with an estimated $25.7 million from 4,075 theaters, easily topping the launch of Sony’s last animation release, Smurfs: The Lost Village, which opened with $13.2M in April. Emoji could finish its domestic run in the $60-75M range.
Emoji’s performance is respectable, especially considering the strong negative sentiment toward the project from the moment it was first announced. But it should also be noted that Emoji isn’t the box office smash that Sony had likely envisioned when it first greenlit the film. Sony was looking for their version of Lego Movie or Wreck-It Ralph — a broadly appealing and playful film that uses a basic element of popular culture. What they ended up with is the weakest launch ever for an animated film opening in 4,000-plus theaters.