Box Office Report: “ParaNorman” Debuts Weak; “Ice Age” Huge Overseas

Laika’s stop motion film ParaNorman opened last weekend in third place at the U. S. box office with $14.1 million. Despite opening in one thousand theaters more than Laika’s previous film Coraline, the film still didn’t match the $16.8 million opening of the earlier film. ParaNorman did, however, top last April’s $11.1 million opening of Aardman’s The Pirates! Band of Misfits.

ParaNorman‘s disappointing opening is a reminder that stop motion doesn’t generate the huge box office returns we’ve come to expect from major computer animated features. It’s debatable whether the lower grosses are attributable to the technique of stop motion, the type of stories that artists tell with stop motion animation, or the simple fact that no stop motion film has ever enjoyed the type of massive marketing push that accompanies the typical CG feature.

Ice Age: Continental Drift fell out of the domestic top ten, grossing $3 million in its sixth weekend. Its U. S. total is currently at $150.2 million, which will end up being the lowest grossing entry in the Ice Age franchise. But don’t take that as a sign of failure. The film has been an overseas phenomenon, grossing $646.3 million from foreign markets. Combined with domestic grosses, its global total will surpass $800 million this week, making it the sixth highest grossing animated feature of all time.

The overseas popularity of the Ice Age series is an outlier in the animation world. To put it into perspective, the latest Ice Age will gross more from foreign markets alone than Disney/Pixar’s Brave will gross domestically and foreign combined. Each new Ice Age film has increased its percentage of overseas share, as shown below:

Film % of Domestic Gross % of International Gross
Ice Age (2002) 46% 54%
Ice Age 2 (2006) 29.8% 70.2%
Ice Age 3 (2009) 22.2% 77.8%
Ice Age 4 (2012) 18.9% 81.1%

  • Ryan

    That’s why DreamWorks made their deal with Fox. Fox’s International Distribution is the strongest in the business, and they push harder than anyone else to deliver these kinds of numbers.

  • http://jblogger-animart.blogspot.com/ yo

    that’s a shame!!

  • Andy

    Something I did notice, that I haven’t seen in any box office reports, is the limited number of showings. The theaters I checked for showings were only showing the movie 3 times a day. That’s a real small number. However, when I attended one of them, the theater was packed. I’m not an expert on this kind of stuff, but I couldn’t help but notice the lack of support from local theaters.

    • tedzey

      The nearest movie playing around my school was 20 miles away in Philly! I ended up going home and seeing the movie at home. If only there was more love for stop-motion… :(

      • Barney Miller

        I seriously hope you aren’t saying you went home and watched and illegal copy at home.

        If so, you are a part of the problem.

      • http://animationanomaly.com Charles Kenny

        How they watched it is moot; they wouldn’t have contributed to the box office gross anyway. If it’s not showing in their area, that’s a problem for either the cinema or the distributor to sort out.

        In any case you can thank “release windows” for not having it available on DVD or download in a legal manner.

      • Great

        Talking a big game here Mr.Miller. Tell me, what do you know about tedzey’s life? How do you know he’s not some broke ass teenager with no car, working parents on double shifts, but really loves himself some Laika?

        Yeah, he could walk there or maybe try and hitch a ride with a friend, if he has any, but you sir don’t know his life and it’s very simplistic to say “you are part of the problem”. No sir, the problem’s on the supply side and at the moment, it seems pirates have a better distribution method that focus features.

        I’m not saying what he’s doing is in any way “justified” because he’s getting something for essentially nothing, by definition he is a parasite, but he was going to pay for it with some good ol’ greenbacks, but could not because w/e distribution deal there were, sucked.

        Pirating like everything else in life is not black and white.

      • Andrew Farago

        Pirating IS black and white. If you want to see a movie but won’t pay to see it in the theater, you don’t see that movie. Wait until it’s out on home video or for a legal download, or don’t see the movie. Anyone who “loves himself some Laika” isn’t stealing content.

      • http://www.youtube.com/drexelboi1991 tedzey

        No… I went to the movie theater NEAR my home. I don’t pirate movies.

        If it makes you feel any better, I paid the three d price.

      • Barney Miller

        Thanks for the clarification Tedzey. I misunderstood your post which is why I asked the question. I didn’t intend to assume anything and apologize if I insulted you.

        GREAT, what an appropriate name for someone calling the kettle black from their moral high horse.

        No, I don’t know tedzey’s life which is why I asked a simple question. However you don’t know his or mine. Let me fill you in on mine a little.

        I happen to work for a small studio where people work their asses off on projects they love. The money they receive, in part based on box office receipts, helps them pay their mortgage and feed their families. When people pirate movies, that eats into the profits that help these families to stay afloat and continue to do the things they love.

        So, I don’t give a flying f#*! if a person is a “starving student” or “needs to hitch a ride with a friend” or any other contrived situation you’d like to invent. Pirating movies is not the same as the grey area you want to compare it to (something like stealing food so your starving child can eat). Pirating movies is STEALING profit from a company that is trying to finance more films which, in turn, allows them to employ people in order for them to continue to work and support their families. That’s as black and white as it gets.

    • Barney Miller

      I noticed the same thing. My parents, who saw the movie on the East coast were the first to bring this to my attention. It was difficult for them to see it because there were so few showings.

      As a means to test if this were true elsewhere, I decided to check (via Fandango) how many showings were available in different parts of the country. Across the board, there were fewer screenings, even when accounting for both 2d and 3d presentations, than Expendables 2.

      I’m not sure if this is how most animated films are handled, but I highly doubt it.

  • Nipplenuts McGurk

    Stop motion has nothing to do with it….the animation is so slick, I bet most people thought it was CG, anyway!

    August is a terrible month to release movies and expect big opening numbers. Especially in the case of ParaNorman – a spooky movie about zombies, ghosts and witches should have opened in OCTOBER when everyone’s excited for Halloween!

    • wever

      There are already 2 animated Halloween-related films released around Halloween this year. THe competition would’ve made it worse.

    • Sarah J

      I think the fact that it was stop motion may have contributed a little. I didn’t watch stop motion much when I was younger because I didn’t really like the look. I have appreciation for the medium now, thankfully.

      • Richard

        This is not stop motion as in days gone by. This looks like CG, but better. This is slick. I don’t think that would have been an issue here.

      • katy

        I didn’t relize it was stop-motion. It is too slick and the art design mimics the current style of CG films. And technique doesn’t make up for ugly-creepy characters.
        (I usually love stopmotion, but why cant more of it be warm and fuzzy rather than some watered down Tim Burton ripoff?)

      • Funkybat

        I don’t know if it’s just that I have “trained eyes” (tho I doubt it) but I would be more likely to mistake CG that mimicked stop motion as true stop motion, than I would ever mistake true stop motion for CGI. Coraline and Paranorman are both very polished, but I can tell within seconds whether or not it’s stop motion, the motion is too distinctive. The only challenge is to scrutinize to see if it’s just CG doing a real good job of pretending to be stop motion via irregular movements or dropped frames.

    • James

      Agreed. Even if they couldn’t swing October, September is close enough to get people into the Halloween mood.

      I theorize that Universal/Focus gambled with the idea that it would gain legs in the upcoming months as October grew nearer, and it could potentially do that. However, I think September would be have made a better release date.

      • Funkybat

        I fear you may be giving the distributors too much credit. It takes a hell of an animated hit to “have legs” two months after release. Even Coraline didn’t to that well. I rather suspect that they were trying to avoid Frankenweenie and Hotel Transylvania, and hoped that the desert of August would mean that all the families would flock to it for lack of anything else “family friendly” or even animated. There hasn’t been anything animated or even particularly kid-oriented released in over a month in the US, and I’m sure this helped Paranorman’s numbers avoid being even worse, but a lot of families are on vacation or even caught up in prep for back to school around this time of year. If they had released it two weeks earlier or six weeks later, the numbers would have probably been a lot better. I’m hoping it becomes a sleeper hit and sticks around a while.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/Tigercat919 Michael F.

    The thing is that sometimes a movie like this might have a little more longetivity; that is, it might decline by ten percent next weekend (much lower than most others).

    Of course, there are also things like school starting in many spots and the lack of 2D show availability.

    By the way, I couldn’t help but notice that the new Bourne movie really slipped from last week. I’m interested in seeing how that works; are people more loyal to the Bourne name or Matt Damon?

  • http://www.kustomonsters.com Craig Clark

    Sometimes you can sneak a hit the last three weeks before Labor Day, but…Spooky movies should open in October.

  • Dana

    This looks like one of the most beautifully well done stop-motion films to date, and people around the world would rather see a film with a stale plot and the guy from Rescue Me sing at the end?
    More proof that people would rather see a “cartoon” for craps and giggles than go to experience a good plot and its amazing artistry.
    Unless it has Tim Burton slapped on it, a spooky-themed stop-motion film isn’t really gonna bring home the bacon. That being said, I wonder how Frankinweenie is gonna do. There doesn’t seem to be much hype for that last time I checked. This makes me wonder if audiences are tired of scary-themed stop-motioin and would rather see a different genre done in the art style…..or they just wanna see more CG dancing, wise-cracking fur balls, I dunno…

  • GW

    I remember once before I was an animation fan when I read about Wallace and Gromit and the Cuse of the Were Rabbit on an online forum. Wasn’t very interested and dismissed it as a quirky oddity.

  • carp

    You know, it could be that there are 3 horror-lite animated features all coming out around the same time.

    When I went to see Brave, Frankenweenie, Paranorman, and Hotel Transylvania were all advertised before the feature..
    even my mind was boggled, for the non-animation enthusiasts out there it must be really confusing.

    Which one to see? I’d see them all, but Joe public probably wouldn’t.

  • Blasko

    I’ve been wrong before, but here’s what I think:
    As for Paranorman and other stop-motion films, they tend to be a bit darker in mood and tone, and therefore are distributed by more independent-themed labels (The Nightmare Before Chistmas was not always a “Disney” film). As such, they don’t seem to be subject to the same marketing and merchandising efforts — and kids then don’t see the characters at the stores and restaurants their parents usually take them to. Also, because of the supernatural angles that’s often a part of their stories, they are cut off from international audiences in which zombies, ghosts and other creepies are considered taboo. I love these films, but, I’m ALWAYS a part of a smaller audience.
    As for Ice Age, their international success shouldn’t be a surprise. The hero of these films is the family unit of characters. These movies reach deeply into the core of more collectivistic cultures — hispanic and latino specifically. The folks at Blue Sky have proven to be geniuses with this, and I thought that Disney’s attempt to market Brave as a journey about “family” (when it really is about breaking from family and tradition) was certainly a nod to Blue Sky’s run of success in these territories.

    • Sarah J

      That’s true. The Nightmare Before Christmas really didn’t get much advertising when it came out, and I believe that Disney released it under the name of some smaller studio that they owned. The movie was dark and they feared that there would be a backlash if people went in expecting some magical Disney movie with princesses and fairies. It was only after the movie became successful and well-received that Disney allowed it’s name to be plastered with it. Studios don’t want to give a lot of publicity to darker kid’s movies because there are a lot of people who won’t want to see them.

      • Polecat

        You’re right, Sarah J. The studio was Touchstone. I think Roger Rabbit came out under the Touchstone label also, and so did Disney’s adult-marketed live-action films, like Down and Out in Beverly Hills.

      • http://mrcontro.tumblr.com Tres Swygert

        The studio’s name was Touchstone Pictures, the same company that released Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Pretty Woman, and Dead Poet Society.

  • Bean

    I can’t understand why there is no love for stop motion. Or if it’s just marketing fault.

    You think it would be a big hit esp with the older crowds.

    It was an amazing movie with story risks that Disney could only dream of.

  • Belasco

    I doubt this had anything to do with the low box office, but I loved about 85 percent of the movie, but that ending in particular was way to dialogue heavy (and not good dialogue, over explainy characters talking about their feeling rather than showing them dialogue) and a bit of downer for a summer movie. It was just jarring compared to the rest of the film, IMO. The movie had been really fun, clever, with great character acting up until then and the animation was truly amazing. I just don’t know what kind of word of mouth the movie will get with the bummer of an ending. I agree with the person who said it should have been released in for Halloween or definitely later in the fall.

    • Tony

      Actually, I quite liked the ending, and I thought the design and depiction of the “witch” to be quite novel and powerful.

      I think the real issue with this film is that it is stylistically unfamiliar to most children both in tone and design, and thus, they are not clamoring to make their parents take them to the theater.

      I asked the 8 yr old daughter of a friend of mine, whether she was excited to see “ParaNorman”, and her response, was simply “it looked weird”. And I think there is the real issue. Movies like ParaNorman, which are a bit dark and stylistically new for mainstream audiences, feel unfamiliar and strange to most children and parents. I think the only way to get over this initial impression is through exposure, and that really requires a cultural shift in audiences, and that I believe is a tricky feat.

  • Kris

    Even though I anticipated ParaNorman and really enjoyed it, I knew when I saw the trailer that this wasn’t a movie parents would rush to take their children to in August.. even if it opened in October (which I agree, would’ve made more sense) a lot of stop-motion movies tend to be eerie, odd, and scary (to younger children). If you compare the lighthearted, bright, and simple design and story of Ice Age to ParaNorman or Frankenweenie, you can see why a parent would go with the safe choice of Ice Age.
    Pirates, ParaNorman, and Frankenweenie all have the same dilemma. They don’t quite market to/target children, and they are too “cartoonish” to get adults very interested.
    I love stop motion and am so happy to see more films animated in this tradition. I wish the stories would back away from the Burton/Selick creepiness and embrace something closer to Spirited Away, The Iron Giant, or Toy Story.

  • http://swofford-characters.blogspot.com/ Animus

    Coraline was advertized as a sort of Tim burton-esque fantasy/wonder film for kids, but it turned out to be a full-on horror movie, which turned some parents off when their kids got scared. ParaNorman was advertized as a wacky horror comedy like Ghostbusters or Monster House but the zombies looked yucky and the other character designs were not as appealing as Pixar character designs, so people may have thought this was one of those “off-brand” animated films.

  • http://www.hunteachother.com Max W

    I don’t think the fact that it’s stopmotion has anything to do with it… to the average joe, the technique doesn’t matter. However, most stop motion films have a “dark & creepy” feel to them, which I feel makes parents not want their kids to watch it. Very few CG animated films have this look/feel, but almost all stopmotion films do, for whatever reason…

    I thought the film was great for kids and adults alike, but go to the IMDB message boards for Paranorman and you might get a surprising insight into what parents are ok with these days…

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1623288/board/

    I think that any kid who is lucky enough to see this film will remember it forever.

    • Polecat

      Just curious because I haven’t seen it–can you give me a bit more of an idea as to what the people at IMDB are debating about? I read the message boards, and I can’t make up my mind whether to see it or not (I like stop-motion, but I don’t really dig sci-fi).

      • http://www.hunteachother.com Max W

        The debates I was referring to are more related to peoples’ views on whether or not the movie is appropriate for kids, not so much the “quality” of the film itself. It’s a film that deals with death in ways that we’re not used to seeing in animated features, and there’s certain words and jokes that are said which some people find inappropriate for their kid, I guess. But it’s all humor-based, it’s funny stuff, I don’t get why someone would be personally offended by the film, and offended for their child, at that.

        It’s not a sci-fi film, it’s roots are based in horror, but it’s hilarious. You should check it out, especially if you like stopmotion.

  • ace

    Ice Age 4 is an utterly predictable retread with cut-rate animation appealing to the lowest common denominator. With a clever script and characterizations that verged on satire, Paranorman perhaps hit American audiences a bit too close to home. Of course, Ice Age 4 outgrossed Paranorman. It has nothing to do with stop motion or not.

    • Luke

      Hopefully in 10-20 years, Paranorman will be the one that is remembered and beloved by audiences.

  • Meg

    I second the “few showings” comment. AMC in Los Angeles only had 3 showings of 2D per day and 2 showings of 3D per day. All but two of these showings were in the early afternoon. When we asked the theater why there were so few showings, they answered that it “wasn’t a very anticipated movie.”

    Well, my friends and I were really anticipating it, but couldn’t make the showtimes because of work schedules, so I haven’t even seen it yet. I feel like not having tickets to sell is bad for ticket sales.

  • http://www.forthebirdsblog.blogspot.com Michael J. Ruocco

    I went to go see it before noon on Saturday on Long Island. Looking at the showings board, there was about 3 for ParaNorman in 3D and I believe only 2 in standard, while movies like “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” and “Expendables 2″ each had at least 6 showings a day. For a movie in it’s second day of release, at a mall theater, AND on a Saturday of all days, AND that it’s one of the last weekends of summer before kids go back to school, that’s pretty sad. Still, the theater was PACKED with people. It was probably the most crowded theater I’ve seen all year.

    While I LOVED the movie, part of me wishes that they should’ve waited at least a month until the end of September or the beginning of October to release it. It would’ve made a killing leading up to Halloween.

  • Skip

    I agree with Nipplenuts. I saw the film, and everyone here seemed to like it. It should have been released in October. Who would be in the mood to see a movie about Valentines day that was released around Christmas time, or a movie about Christmas for the Fourth of July, ETC?

    • eeteed

      miracle on 34th street did well, even though it was released in august (i think that was its release date … i just remember that its initial release was in the summer). in the trailers for the film they edited things so you didn’t realize that it was a xmas movie.

      i do agree with you and everyone else that paranorman should have been released in october, but as the film was so well made, i’m guessing that the problem was with marketing and promotion.

      how much was spent on marketing and promotion? who handled it, and what is their track record?

      • wever

        If anything, it must’ve been god dang expensive! Original animation was made for TV spots alone. A zombie was seen performing on a balance beam to cash in on the Olympic Games when it ran on CBS!

  • Julian

    Lets get real, MOST people who go to animated movies are NOT animation enthusiasts going “Oh yea! Laika, Chris Butler, Stop Motion! I’m gonna jizz my pants!”. Actually, I’d be surprised if 10% of the audience gave a dump about animation at all. What I see are parents who go out and work in the day and come home to whiny kids who watch the tv and go online to their silly kids sites and have these movies flashed in their face via ads. Which ever one is hyped the most to the child, will be the one he/she gets to go to on Friday after he/she has been “good” for a week. What Fox, Dreamworks, and Pixar seem to do best is play the distribution card right, and hit that jackpot demographic. I never look at the gross of a film as a direct measure of it’s quality without seeing it first. The film would almost certainly do better had it some big name promoting and marketing it up the wazoo,

    • http://www.hunteachother.com Max W

      True, but I’m surprised it didn’t do well, because I felt like I saw advertising and marketing for it ALL OVER THE PLACE! I feel like I haven’t been to a website these past few weeks that wasn’t telling me that “I don’t become a hero by being normal” and such in the sidebars. Also saw Billboards all over the place…

      I’m also very disturbed that a movie’s success is almost wholly judged on the first few days of it’s release, and that a movie which comes in 3rd at the box office is considered unsuccessful. Weird world.

  • Richard

    There are only a few theaters in Seattle showing this movie, and they’re not showing it with a full schedule. This movie deserves a wide audience.

    I had heard that they exceeded their expectations this weekend. If this is true, then maybe it’ll do all right in the end.

  • Bud

    Sparkle made much more money per screen in 1000 LESS screens than Paranorman. Not a good sign.

    • richard

      Screens do not equal showings, as people are saying above. All the screens in the world with no showings do not bring in big box office.

  • Miles

    I haven’t seen Paranorman yet, but I plan to. I’m hoping that that’s the case with a lot of other people out there.

  • http://mrcontro.tumblr.com Tres Swygert

    Amid, comparing ParaNorman to a sequel (Ice Age 4) is quite unfair. Not to mention we’re talkin’ about a company that is still trying to make a name for itself (Laika) to the audiences. Pixar, DreamWorks, and Blue Sky all made name for themselves due to family oriented characters, stories, and sequels.

    To be honest, ParaNorman doesn’t look like a movie that “many” people would go watch (me being one of them). After seeing the film, it was worth the ticket admission…but with the subject matter being as creepy (if not creepier) than their previous film (Coraline), it doesn’t help Laika that much at all.

    Blaming on stop-motion for weak performances at the box office is not a strong argument for a critic such as yourself. I would expect that from someone like Jeffrey Katzenberg, John Lasseter, or Michael Eisner (big wigs that care about that money).

    Lastly, I really think it all depends on the subject for the story. Laika has strong impressive animation and technique, but they use it to further push the envelope on creepy and horrifying material. Aardman, as comparison, focused on storytelling with beautiful designs, not setting on gross stuff…and two of their films (Chicken Run, Wallace and Gromit) averaged $200 million worldwide…AND got one Oscar!

    • http://www.amidamidi.com Amid

      Tres – No one compared ParaNorman to Ice Age. I can’t help the fact that both films are in theaters at the same time, and thus would be mentioned together in a box office report.

  • Megan

    I agree with some of the above comments. I saw the film opening day to a theatre that was only showing it close by(which was a little over 30 minutes away) And by far the movie was supremely a wonderful movie. The stop motion was spectacular and i am surprised that this isn’t a top film in the box office and by far greater than ICE AGE.
    Generally I think little kids were scared of the trailer and truthfully the movie came off as an older kids film(just by the tones and words they used and some effects) but the thing is the movie was an up for Laika. The story was really well put together, the animation of stop motion, character designs and environments as well as a little computer graphics in between made my jaw drop ever second. This movie is by far one of my favorite movies of this year and it should get some really good attention and must be watched.
    Sorry for rambling but this movie should be watched by more people because it put a new perspective in storytelling, designing and stop motion all together :) (in my honest opinion)

  • udx

    That’s really too bad. Considering that ParaNorman got a nice rating in Rotten Tomatoes, it makes me wonder if we prefer to watch the bottom of the barrel stuff instead of of the cream of the crop stuff.

  • Chris

    Paranorman looks awesome, but is probably a difficult movie to market.
    As a Nerd-Dad + lifelong stop motion fan, I have been psyched to see Paranorman ever since I heard about it, but I worry it might be too scary for my 3 year old (based on Coraline).
    Since time and money are both hard to come by, I can’t vet the film first and I’m taking a risk bringing my son to see it. I have to imagine that a lot of parents out there in america go through a similar thought process and decide to wait for dvd/netflix.

    btw, I worked on Ice Age 4 and we saw it together for free, so for me it wasn’t a choice between the two movies.
    Though I bet that for a lot of parents who had the choice, Ice Age seemed like more of a safe bet for a fun night.

  • http://www.ghiblicon.blogspot.com daniel thomas macinnes

    This looks like a good movie, and we may go see it sometime, but I’ve noticed no less than three animated movies that look more or less the same. Is this the Tim Burton one? Or is that the other one? You can see how this would cause a little confusion.

    Ultimately, Paranorman will fall victim to the central rule of animation in this country: “Animation is a Babysitter.” Parents will only take their kids to a sitter they can trust, and that means brand-names like Disney or Pixar, movies like Ice Age or Kung-Fu Panda. It’s very tough for a unique film to break out from that shadow. It should do better on home video (where families can actually afford to go to more than one movie per year).

  • iseewhatyoudidthere

    I think that it has to do with marketing and parental concern.

    Soccer Mom:
    “Let’s see. It’s either I take my young kids to watch an artsy looking zombie film from a small indie-ish studio which might give my kids nightmares, or, we see a big, colorful, bombastic film with celebrities, pop cultural references and family humor. Ice Age XVI it is then.”

  • justin rasch

    I think the film will have legs guys- Its an incredible Animated FEATURE and word of mouth should kick in on the second weekend.

    This film has OSCAR written all over it.

    I too agree though that parents are a bit anxious to take their little ones to a zombie movie- I know many parents who relayed that to me.

  • SKent.

    Laika just needs to keep making good films like this and Coraline.

    As more people become familiar with their ‘brand’ and trust what they’re doing, it’ll become easier to attract audiences. Some films will make money, some may lose, but so long as the films are solid, they become an investment in a reputation that will pay dividends down the line.

    Hopefully they’re taking a long view where the studio won’t sink or swim on this one picture.

  • Chelsea

    It is interesting to me that so many people are fixated on the zombie-plot of the film, convinced that this has been a huge deterrent of audiences. I’m not saying it hasn’t been, because I can’t possibly know… But I do want to bring something up.

    When Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl was being trailored about, I was 13 and my parents were very religious. However, we all saw the previews for that film and wanted to see it. My family saw it together, there was no discussion over it being ‘too scary’ or ‘not appropriate’- it looked like a ton of fun. But you know, that movie involves two potentially dastardly things: zombies, and pirates. Zombies and pirates ARE questionable subject matter, usually found in horror movies and the like… but Pirates: Black Pearl became a huge family movie hit and yeah, I’m sure we can chalk it up to the Disney name and Johnny Depp and all of that, but I also think it’s valid to think- maybe audiences can tell when a movie with zombies in it ISN’T actually a typical ‘zombie movie’ horror fest.

    Parents shouldn’t be underestimated… I’ve been reading too many comments on here describing the hypothetical and stereotypical TV parents- aka bad parents who want to dump their kids in front of the easiest laugh movie they can find to keep their children occupied for an hour and forty minutes. Yes, those parents exist. Yes, kids who are a product of such parents exist and are the ones thinking ParaNorman is too weird to see, because it is not like the usual ridiculousness their parents feed them. However, these people and kids are not THE ONLY market for animated movies!

    Most everyone I’ve spoken to who has seen the film has liked it. And I didn’t necessarily hear a hype for this movie like I heard a hype for Brave, but people were interested and did go to see it. I also think a lot of teenagers will love this movie as every single joke seemed to go far with them in the screenings I saw.

    Perhaps I ‘just don’t get it’ but I also don’t understand why ParaNorman is being talked of as a failure for opening at #3. Opening at #3 for a stop-motion zombie & witch themed NOT-Disney/ Dreamworks animated film seems fair and good to me! It’s not stellar I guess, but I’m not spelling Laika’s doom by any means! I especially want to know the film’s final budget as compared to it’s box office predictions. This is something no one is talking about. Why is #3 such a bad placement for this movie? Did it need to secure #1 to gain a good return on the investment and make more beautiful well-done films? Or are we really talking prestige instead of math? I’m honestly confused.

    I don’t know the math for this movie. And sure, I would have loved for Norman to hit #1 like most Disney animated films do. But considering the subject matter and that this film is from a smaller, newer studio (and this isn’t a ‘Toy Story’ situation) I would think the film is doing well. But again, perhaps I just don’t understand something here.

    Ultimately I just don’t think we should give up on the movie’s success yet, and also don’t think we should assume the two extremes of careless or overbearing parents are to blame for the lack of this movie hitting #1. That’s a really narrow viewpoint that isn’t really based on logic or data anyway.

    • Chelsea

      Before I get ripped to shred for my last sentence, I do realize there is a lot of research done proving that parents do want media for their children to be as hands-free and easy as possible and I’m not denying that. I meant to say, it doesn’t seem logical to assume these parents are the only factor in ParaNorman’s rise or fall.

      • Polecat

        I think marketing (or lack thereof) probably had something to do with it. I saw ads for ParaNorman on the sides of buses, but aside from that I’m only really familiar with it through Cartoon Brew. (Those bus ads didn’t have a tagline, by the way.)

  • http://www.terrybiddle.com TBiddy

    Apologies if this was already mentioned, but including ParaNorman there were 4 major releases this weekend. The others being The Expendables 2, Sparkle, and The Odd Life of Timothy Green.

    Sparkle (last film w/ Whitney Houston) and Timothy Green would have taken at least part of the family audience for the weekend and considering the crowded marketplace, I’d say ParaNorman did pretty well.

    It probably would have fared better (as many have said) in October and as the only wide release for the weekend.

    This is an animation blog I know, but I think an analysis of the weekend box office “as a whole” might give a broader explanation of the numbers.

  • http://warrenleonhardt.com w

    I hear ParaNorman’s great, friends of friends have worked on it and I hope it does well in the long run. My boy who’s 6 doesn’t want to see it, he’s just not ready. He’ll play some tame games involving zombies and monsters, likes the new Scooby-Doo, but he’s seen the ParaNorman trailer and voted it down as too scary. I actually had to bail one-third through Pixar’s Brave because he just wasn’t ready for that, either. I don’t think it’s the medium, just the type of movie – those both are great movies but simply for older kids, depending on the kid.

    That said, my wife and I – and some of us on the story crew from work (@ Blue Sky Studios) – will go see it, and some of them are going twice if they haven’t already because ParaNorman’s story and tone is so good.

    Chalk the opening numbers up to distribution & marketing position. Laika’s done all they can, and they have done it well by the sounds of it.

  • Satorical

    The animation (especially effects animation) was fantastic, and much of the movie was hilarious and inventive. Unfortunately the story/writing fell apart completely in the last 2/5 or so. There were just too many themes and backstory explanations.

    Seems like LAIKA needs some story editors who can say no to Mr. Knight.

  • Albert

    Well that is so contrary seeing that Ice Age 4 stunk and Paranorman is obviously better done. I don’t usually diss Dreakworks but the Ice Age movies are really their weakest movies

  • Specboy

    Has ParaNorman been released in many overseas markets yet? That could change the numbers quite a bit.