“Smurfs 2″ Is Number One Globally Despite Soft U.S. Opening

In spite of a soft third-place opening in the United States, Sony’s Smurfs 2, directed by Raja Gosnell, managed to become the number one film globally last weekend. The film opened with just $17.5 million in U.S. theaters, but made up for it with $52.5 mil in over forty international markets. Even with the strong overseas opening, the film is unlikely to top the original Smurfs worldwide gross of $563.7 mil.

Illumination’s juggernaut Despicable Me 2 scored $10.1 mil in its fifth U.S. weekend, boosting its domestic cume to $326.4 mil. It also added $13.8 mil internationally, and after last weekend, its global gross is $716.7 mil. It is the third highest-grossing movie of the year so far, trailing only Iron Man 3 and Fast & Furious 6. Disney’s Monsters University earned $1.4 mil domestically and $11.4 mil internationally. Its global total is $613.5 million through last weekend.

In Japan, Hayao Miyazaki’s Kaze Tachinu (The Wind Rises) held onto the top spot in its third week of release. The film grossed $5.6 mil from 454 screens, and has a Japanese box office total of $44.3 mil.


  • J.K. Riki

    For shame, human race! For shame…

    Sigh. Oh well, at least it (hopefully) made people happy. Even if it simultaneously spit on my childhood and rubbed sand in my eyes. Clearly this is what audiences want to see, so what do I know!

  • AmidAmidi

    You’re misreading the numbers, Tom. “Pacific Rim” did better internationally, but globally, “Smurfs 2″, was on top. It wasn’t even close—Smurfs 2 ($70M), Pacific Rim ($57.5M).

    • http://the-animatorium.blogspot.com/ Natalie Belton

      It’s a sad day when a film piggybacking the Chipmunks movies outgrosses a Guillermo del Toro movie.

    • Tom

      Gotcha. My mistake.

  • smoothoperator350

    Whats more disturbing is how this was wildly being advertised as “naughty”.

    • http://www.webstoodstupid.com/ XxxxxVicxxxxX

      Was it?That bypassed us in the UK.I thought the grey bad smurfs were called “naughties”,which I have to say,even for a kids movie is asinine.Kids have more imagination and respect than that.BUT,this is keeping CG animators in work and you can’t be mad at that.(。◕‿◕。)

  • Dana B

    I never really understood the appeal of Smurfs. I wasn’t crazy about it as a kid myself, probably since I was born in the 90′s…

    Man, Frozen can’t come soon enough(no less an actual trailer!). At least we have Planes and that turkey movie coming up….ugh…

  • sam wilson

    Obviously Smurfs was going to do well internationally because Europe loves the Smurfs. Too bad the Smurfs’ movies are even worse than the cartoon

  • zac leck

    I really don’t understand how the global mark works with animated features. It seems like ANY animated movie can be successful overseas.

    • Animator606432

      It think it’s because animation is more visually driven then most mediums. It makes it easier for individuals who don’t speak english well, or even at all to really enjoy the movie. To bad it had to be THIS waste land of creativity.

    • fredinandus

      I’m a foreigner, and we are trained to eat your shit.

      • zac leck

        Maybe it’s just me, but when I’m served shit, I don’t eat it. We could just be facing a cultural barrier between you and I though.

  • fish

    I agree, the character designs are horrible.
    BUT,
    animators have nothing to do with character design. Character designers often have very little to do with “character design”, apart from the actual mechanics of putting it on paper. The bulk of the blame should not lie with a team of animators at sony, as you are intimating. The blame lies with 2 people – the production designer, and the director. Everyone else down the line just complies with their “vision” by tweaking the design, modeling the design, surfacing the design, rigging the design, animating the design, clothing the design, and lighting the design.
    but yes, I do agree, my eyes have cancer when I think of those characters from smurfs 2.

  • Revy

    As a working animator myself (and an animator on The Smurfs 2, among other movies you probably detest), I have to argue this comment:

    1. You start the comment by saying that the “designs” of the characters are worst you’ve seen. Then you end your comment saying “animators” take away from the medium, yadda yadda. I’m sure you know that “animators” do not design the ugly characters you mention. We just make them move and perform according to direction given by our superiors. Ugly designs belong to character designers, not animators. You might know that, but so many people toss around the term “animator” when referring to various other jobs on a film (background, set design, modeling, etc), and as an animator myself, we don’t need to take the flack for something we have no control over.

    2. …such as story! Comments like this are worded in a way that assumes animators “feed ideas” into the projects they work on. On a giant production like The Smurfs 2 (or Tangled, or Toy Story 3, or any other film of your choice), animators struggle to have a say over the tiny shots they animate themselves — let alone the arc of the movie as a whole. Once again, I’m sure (or at least I hope) that you know animators don’t write the movies that they work on. They just animate the characters under direction. If you don’t like the story, talk to the writers. If you don’t like that The Smurfs exist in CG at all in the first place, then talk to parent company that owns the property.

    3. In a market flooded with out of work artists hungry for the next paycheck, most of us cannot go off and create our own indie flick or Cartoon Network TV pilot. Most of us just do our chosen discipline the best that we can, and need the structure and pipeline of a commercial project like The Smurfs 2 to make that happen. Do we, who work on such artistically devoid films, ENJOY the material we work on? Not really. Most times, we apply to a studio not knowing what projects they have in the pipeline, and are then assigned work on a project whether we like it or not. Like professionals, we say thank you and do the best job that we can under the guidelines that the show dictates.

    Pardon the rant, but in today’s VFX climate, comments like this just come off as ignorant to me. Yes, we all want better films to be made. No, we don’t want to see The Smurfs or other similar properties get sequels made into oblivion. For those who are talented and fortunate enough to create a whole project (film, TV show, internet short) of their own, I hope they find success and ultimately change the industry for the better. For the rest of us, we just need a job. Otherwise we go back to doing whatever it was we might have done before trying to give our dream of animating a chance.

    Then again, I’m sure you’d have us all quit, and stop “stabbing” the animation industry over and over.

    • smoothoperator350

      Thank you for the clarification Revy, I honestly think that CGI animators are doing a fine job with their tasks at hand, its the designers and the focus group guys who I feel are causing these unappealing new designs.

      Hopefully studios will start more projects that both animators and animation enthusiasts will enjoy.

      • Ant G

        If animators didn’t act like they were held prisoners and forced to work on shitty movies, there wouldn’t be these movies. I wish more of them would admit that yes they are just selling their souls to make money, and no they are not courageous enough to make their own studio and be their own show runners. We are enablers of shitty movies for as long as we willingly work on them.

        • smoothoperator350

          We the consumers are to blame, we go to see these films, Hollywood sees them as a success, Hollywood repeats the process, animators are forced to work on films for food or live on the streets.
          In other words, “every coin has two sides”.

    • z-k

      ” Ugly designs belong to character designers, not animators.”

      Maybe, but more often than not it tends to be the creative execs, supervising directors, producers or the like that tone down the designs to whatever mild, muddy degree. Whether it’s so an overseas plastic mill can crank out the design that much easier, or simply so they can stick their hand in the pie for the sake of job performance: Either way, the translation usually gets lost well before anything’s even boarded, much less animated.

    • CG Animator

      You all do wonderful work at Sony, Revy, and you should be proud of it. Keep it up and don’t let all the negativity get you down.

    • Ant G

      “For the rest of us, we just need a job.”

      I think that’s an unfortunate point. That as a CGI animator, who already compared to a stop-motion or 2D animator, you guys are a lot more disposable since the market is flooded and it demands less skill, you guys who make those million dollar movies, do so because you just need to sustain yourselves with money. To this I’d say you chose the wrong profession and it’s an artist’s duty as one who bares the title, to believe in what they are making. It’s one thing to make a bad film that you’re proud of, it’s even worst to make one that you didn’t even care for, it was just a means to make money. That is why the industry is easily flooded with crap because too many people think this way; pardon the expression, but they prostitute themselves out to anything.

      • Revy

        You sound like you have an axe to grind, Ant G, so I won’t indulge you much further. Are you a working animator yourself? Just curious.

        On the one hand, you mention (correctly so) that the CG market is flooded with animators so we’re all just “disposable” in the end. And then with the other hand, you say if we had any soul as artists, we should all be running our own studios and producing movies that push the creative envelope. Do you have any idea how many studios that would be? And the staggering number of them that would fail after one movie, even they even managed to finish a single movie in the first place?

        All animators/artists share the dream of working on a great project. Just because the current set of movies today isn’t exactly inspired, doesn’t mean that the movies 5-10 years from now won’t be considered a new Golden Age of animation. And those movies will need artists, experienced ones at that (y’know, us “soulless suckers” cutting our cloth on flicks today).

        When Glen Keane, Andreas Deja, and many other artists pursued the craft of animation in the late ’70s/early ’80s, none of them knew what was ahead. In fact, at that time, the future of the animation industry looked pretty bleak! TV animation was getting stale, Disney (for the moment) was mismanaged and seemingly out of ideas, and there weren’t too many other studios at which for animators to find work.

        None of those artists who you revere today knew that Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, and Hunchback of Notre Dame among many other wonderful films would be in their professional future. They just loved animating and did the best they could with the material they were offered to work on (Black Cauldron, for example).

        Most of them were not able or willing to go off like Don Bluth and make their own studio, much less be likely to find success with it. They were simply passionate artists who wanted to animate on a great project, but would animate on a mediocre project as well if it meant they could still do the craft that they loved. Animators love animating. I had a blast working on The Smurfs 2 and every other project, whether feature film, TV commercial or video game, that I’ve professionally worked on in my career thus far. And I won’t stop enjoying what I do simply because the movies of today aren’t all that great.

        Another Golden Age is coming. And I’m going to be there with my many friends in the business today, whether you would have us all quit or not. :)

  • David Gerstein

    Quite telling—SMURFS 2 did better in areas where its American celebrity voices weren’t used and where local translators were able to smarten up its humor. In other words, it’s doing well in spite of Gosnell’s/Sony’s intended approach, not because of it.

  • CG Animator

    I’m still trying to figure out the designs… who the hell approves such ugly looking characters? And I know Sony can do appealing animation… just look at the trailer for Cloudy 2. It’s fantastic. Not sure what went wrong here. Should have stuck closer to Peyo’s simpler more graphic designs (which is totally possible in CG btw, again, see Cloudy 2).

    • smoothoperator350

      I’m going to throw out a wild guess based on my research with the animation industry:

      1. A character designer lightly updates a certain design, making a few small tweaks here and there.
      2. 4-5-6 Or so creative exucutives, production managers, assistances, and all sorts of people make changes to it in order to make the designs more “relatable” as we as “marketable”, this generally means adding realistic features, wrinkles, human hair, toning the style down, and strange glass eyes
      3. The designs are tested in front of a focus group, and because most focus group participents aren’t all that interested in whats being tested they simply moan “yea, sure” as they munch on what free snacks they’re given. One or two participents might speak out, but they’re typically hushed by whoevers presenting the group. The presenter more times than ever just wants the session over with.
      I beleive it was a “Sound on Site” podcast or something where I heard about a focus group participent for Wreck it Ralph who compared the story to Shrek during the group, he was simply hushed.
      Not that these steps do not apply for TV animation as that is a totally different field.

  • CG Animator

    I agree. The character designs are pretty hideous… but that isn’t the animator’s fault at all.

    The animation itself (ie how the characters move and act) is fine. It’s polished, it’s well acted, it has weight, etc. It’s professional quality work, as is expected from a studio like Sony. They’re doing the best with what they have to work with.

    Sony has an amazing team of animators who are doing truly innovative work on movies like ‘Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs’ (and it’s sequel, which looks fantastic btw) and ‘Hotel Transylvania’. I would NEVER blame them for a movie like “Smurfs” which they have no control over whatsoever.