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Box Office Report

‘Tadeo Jones’ Sequel Takes No. 1 In Spain, ‘Leap!’ Is No. 3 In U.S. Debut

In the slowest box office weekend of 2017 so far, The Weinstein Company’s Leap!, directed by Eric Summer and Eric Warin, launched in third place in U.S. theaters with an estimated $5 million, in line with expectations for the Canadian/French production.

Now there’s two ways to look at these results. The first way: Leap! launched in 2,575 theaters with a dismal per-theater average of $1,948. That’s the 43rd-worst opening ever for a film released in 2,500+ theaters, and the 4th-worst ever for an animated film in 2,500+ theaters, beating only Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return, Ratchet & Clank, and Weinstein Company’s own Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil.

But there’s also a second way to look at these numbers, and for that, we have to remember that this is one of the rare animated features to get a wide release in the U.S. even though it had no American production funding. French film studio Gaumont produced Leap! with Quad Productions and Caramel Film, while L’Atelier Animation in Montreal, Canada handled animation production.

By that standard, a $5 million opening is actually rather impressive. In fact, looking back at the last 10 years of animation releases in the U.S., I could not find a single instance of a $5M+ U.S. launch for a European animated film that was produced without upfront involvement from an American producer or distributor. In fact, the last foreign-produced animated release to top $5M in its opening frame was the South Korean/Canadian production The Nut Job back January 2014. (I’m not entirely certain about the production arrangement on the recent Nut Job sequel, though American distributor Open Road Films was involved from the beginning, unlike the first film.)

The $30m production Leap!, which was released as Ballerina internationally and has already earned over $50 million outside of the United States, will add at least another $15 million from its American release, which isn’t too shabby.

Aardman’s Shaun the Sheep Movie opened with $4M in the U.S., on its way to $19.4M, and I’ve been told by people close to the production that those numbers were considered a success, especially since the film had already earned its money back outside of the U.S. As the number of animation offerings expand in the United States, it’s important to remember that not every film can be judged by the same metrics, and that a $40m opening weekend isn’t always necessary for a foreign feature to be considered a success.

Speaking of European animated features, Enrique Gato’s Tadeo Jones 2: The Secret of King Midas launched in Spain this weekend as the no. 1 film in that country, pulling in $2.8m. It’s the strongest start for a Spanish film since December 2015, according to Deadline.

The film, which follows the adventures of a Chicago construction worker with a passion for archaeology, is a follow-up to the 2012 feature Tad, The Lost Explorer, which earned over $50 million worldwide, including almost $24m from Spain alone, where it became that country’s highest-grossing homegrown animation release of all-time.

Paramount Pictures International jumped on board after the success of the first film, acquiring worldwide distribution rights to Tadeo Jones 2. It’ll roll out the film in dozens of countries throughout the fall and winter. A U.S. release doesn’t seem to be planned at the moment.

  • Mike

    Having never heard of it, a friend and I began watching the first Tadeo film on Netflix on a lark–we assumed it would be like the hundreds of other laughably terrible CG projects that get regurgitated onto that service. We realized quickly what a fun, well made little film it was, and appreciated the lovely 2D segments made by Headless also. I’m really glad to see that the second film is enjoying a similar degree of success.

  • oslaf

    Wow, they really are hardselling that mummy character, aren’t they.

  • Doconnor

    Assuming these are North American numbers, Leap! would have been impacted by the fact that Ballerina opened in the spring in Canada, which would have lowered its box office by 10%.