‘Planes: Fire & Rescue’ Opens With $18 Million, But The Real Money Is Elsewhere

Like its predecessor, Planes: Fire & Rescue opened in third place at the U.S. box office. The new film, however, grossed only $18 million, or 19% less than the opening of the first Planes.

When it comes to the Planes series though, box office is an inconsequential metric. The films are designed to be 90-minute toy advertisements, and they succeed brilliantly on those terms. In 2013, Planes was the second-fastest growing toy license, trailing only Despicable Me (according to the market research firm NDP Group), and in the first quarter of 2014, Planes was the third-fastest growing license, behind Despicable Me and Frozen. Not to mention that the first Planes grossed $70 million in DVD/Blu-ray sales in addition to the $220 million it made in global box office gross. Disney’s success with this franchise extends far beyond the box office, and they’ll be making Planes cartoons for some time to come.

For the second weekend in a row, the Andy Serkis-starring, animation-filled Dawn of the Planet of the Apes held the top spot at the U.S. box office with an estimated $36 million. The film has now grossed $139 million in the U.S. and an additional $101.5 million overseas.

How to Train Your Dragon 2 dropped to eighth place with $3.8 million in its 6th frame. The DreamWorks sequel has now grossed $160.7 million in the United States, and $223.9 million internationally. Its current global gross stands at $384.6 million.


  • JO-JO

    we’ll see how trucks movie will do Next time !

    • StarrySpelunker

      I head it was boats, but enough about holes in the water that you stuff money into. Disney, it looks like your ship may sink with the next one.

      I hope Big hero Six turns out well, hopefully it will encourage Disney to aim for a more well-rounded crowd.

      • tt

        BH6 is made by Disney Animation that makes high budget films. Planes is made by DisneyToon that makes films to aid merchandise. they aim at different crowds.

    • OdysseyTag

      ‘Trains’ is scheduled for release in 2016, followed by ‘Boats’ in 2019 and ‘Bicycles’ in 2022.

  • Jay

    I honestly don’t get why everyone is hating on Cars and Planes.
    They are kids’ movies. My young brother and his friends in kindergarden LOVE them!
    They shouldn’t be compared to other Disney movies, since those aim at a totally different age group!

    • Phil

      Totally !… Are you sure ?

    • http://jsroux.tumblr.com/ Jean-Samuel Roux

      A good kids movie is a movie that respects them and even challenges them. Aka not freaking planes.

      • L_Ron_Hoover

        I can’t recall meeting a lot of kids who were seeking challenging material from cartoons…

        “Respect” I can almost argue considering how many children love commercial garbage and most of the nostalgia adults from the 80s still argue that their cheesy, cheaply-made, lazily-written shows are awesome. The reality is that they were 20 minute toy commercials…

        I think pointing fingers at today’s youth and saying “your shows stink” is pretty hypocritical considering most of the shows and movies that are well-loved enough to have reboots are based on embarrassing TV shows from the 80s. Nobody cares about being challenged, take a look at the box office.

        Is it really right to blame anyone? I think it’s something most people are guilty of. A majority of the audience doesn’t care about quality, they want stuff that is easy to digest. More people today would put Bill & Ted’s Adventure above Citizen Kane. That’s who you’re marketing to.

        What reminds you of your childhood is more important to people than moving forward. Nostalgia will kill art because it sucks creativity into a temporal loop. It’s a photocopy machine that infinitely scans the same image until the quality is completely annihilated.

        New concepts freak people out in our modern society, that’s why music and art haven’t had a new movement for over 2 decades!

        You want something original and challenging? Look at Kickstarter and start throwing that movie ticket money at some indie artist’s new ideas. Nothing will change if you continue to put your faith in the power of studio executives and apathetic movie-goers. Support artists.

    • http://www.animatorisland.com/ JK Riki

      There have been plenty of well crafted, well written, well animated kid’s movies throughout the history of film. Planes is not among them. Cars is. Cars was done well. It’s not some peoples’ cup of tea, and that’s fine, but it was a well made film. Planes is like a watered-down knock off of Cars, and we don’t need to see that sort of thing junking up the industry. Why not give kids great movies, like Disney did once upon a time? Bambi, for example, was not made to sell toys.

      • DangerMaus

        EVERY modern North American animated feature is designed to sell toys and or Big Macs and Whoppers, but THIS show gets that held against it. What a farce.

        If you want to watch animated features that aren’t designed to sell toys then you have to watch a Satoshi Kon film and/or a Mamoru Oshii film as examples. The one thing you don’t watch is any animated film that originates in America.

        I’m pretty sure when the “Book of Life” arrives on the scene it will have all the usual licensing tie-ins to push plastic junk and kid’s happy meals. Will everybody be ranting about that show being a toy commercial? Because as soon as any animated feature has licensing attached to it that is all it becomes: a toy and fast food commercial.

        Licensing is the single worst thing to happen to animated films……ever.

        • http://www.animatorisland.com/ JK Riki

          “EVERY modern North American animated feature is designed to sell toys and or Big Macs and Whoppers”

          http://www.theboxtrolls.com/

          • Fried

            And despite being a very “artistically heavy” film, I’m still sure they considered the idea of a collect-’em’-all box troll line up. They’ve already got them in 3D, just gotta get the molds.

        • Barrett

          I disagree. There is a shitload of Minion merchandise out there, but Despicable Me (both 1 and 2) were clearly not just “toy commercials.” Even Cars 2 had a little more going for it than a toy commercial, and some adults actually enjoyed it. From what I have seen of the first Planes movie (couldn’t bear to sit through the whole thing) the bar for storytelling and character depth was set WAY lower on it than even Cars 2, which was basically just an excuse to have the Cars travel the world and have Mater play “fish out of water.”

          My point is, there are popular animated films that have spawned toy lines that don’t just phone in any sequels or follow-ups. Despicable Me 2 wasn’t just a Minion commercial, and even though it wasn’t quite as good as the first film, there were interesting new characters and character development of existing characters.

          Not everything is JUST a toy commercial. Letting that kind of cynical view shadow everything just poisons the waters for future filmmakers.

          • DangerMaus

            My cynical view of the present animation industry cannot poison the waters for future film makers anymore than they have been poisoned already.

            Just look at Tartakovsky as an example. Samurai Jack gets canceled out from under him because it can’t generate toy sales. Symbionic Titan (which I just finished reading about) gets the axe because there are no toys for it, so CN cannot make ancillary revenue from toy sales. Why can’t he get a Samurai Jack movie made? IMO, because it would skew to an older demographic that doesn’t buy toys or buys a lot less of them. If he dumbed it down to the 3-11 demographic, so toys and licensing revenue could be made, he would probably have been given the green to make the film. He won’t, so no film. The same applies to his Symbionic Titan series. From what I read, they wanted him to dumb it down to appeal to younger toy buying kids. He refused, so it got canceled.

            AFAIAC, that is the reality of the shitty business model that animation is operating on now. If an animated movie can’t be made to appeal to a toy buying demographic then it doesn’t get made.
            Unfortunately, the situation is as much a function of necessity as it is choice. There are not enough adult animation fans in North America to make a film aimed at an older audience successful. Animation studios get cremated every time they try to make a film that doesn’t make allowances for little kids.

            So, you will have to excuse my cynicism if I think that the very first thing that gets asked is, “what kind of revenue can we make from toys and licensing if we make this thing?”

      • Meredith

        I agree, Cars was well made. Planes had potential, as a pilot it is sad to me that they didn’t reach it. The filmmakers don’t seem to understand aviation culture at all (not that they were trying to). For example, cropdusting is one of those jobs that takes fighter-pilot like nerves and is not for the faint of heart…the characterization that it is a boring job for farmboys is way off the mark. Just watch any cropduster video on YouTube and you’ll see what I’m talking about! Ditto for aerial firefighting- it’s hardly a place where washed-up pilots go! The first film didn’t have any heart or soul. A cheap copy of Cars.

        • Fried

          Flying in general takes nerves of steel, but they couldn’t exactly have a society based around flying full of brave warriors.

          • Meredith

            True, but a better choice would have been a Cessna 152 or similar bug smasher over an Air Tractor. It’s an incorrect characterization. I also take issue with the general disrespect for these high-skill occupations. Of course that’s only part of the problems with the franchise. The original Cars was different in that it at least understood car culture and history in a way that Planes just doesn’t.

          • DangerMaus

            Exactly what are you talking about when you say that using an Air Tractor is an incorrect characterization? Do you mean as an air tanker or a crop duster or an air racer. As an air racer the Air Tractor is an incorrect characterization in the real world, but then the same would apply to Cessna 152. It would be a lousy choice for an air racer too.

            The Air Tractor as a crop duster or an air tanker is perfectly in character, since there are variants of that aircraft that are built for those purposes. The Cessna 152, on the other hand, is a lousy choice for those roles, so the story team that picked an Air Tanker for their main character swung three times and missed once. You, on the other hand, swung three times and missed every time.

            Secondly, your assertion that there was a general disrespect for the occupations makes me wonder if you actually saw any of these movies before arriving at your conclusions.

            Crop dusting is skilled piloting, but compared to flying in air competitions it is an unglamorous, little recognized, occupation. People pay to see air races, nobody sits and watches crop dusters (no matter how skilled), even for free.
            Secondly, it is possible for a person to be skilled at what he or she does for a daily living and still be completely bored with it. Characterizing the crop duster as being skilled, yet bored and wanting something different in life isn’t incorrect characterization. In fact, it is probably an accurate characterization better than 70% of the time for real life people, including crop duster pilots.

            I went and saw this movie and didn’t see any disrespect for Air Tanker Services. The characters are shown as laid back at the tanker base, but are depicted as completely professional and serious about their jobs. They are not shown as cowards, layabouts, washouts or hot dogs. They do show them as characters flying at altitudes and taking calculated risks that could result in them crashing. That point is driven home when Dusty notices a picture wall and excitedly asks what it takes to get on it and the ground crew member he is asking pauses and then says, “crashing”.

            People can complain that this film is a toy commercial. They can complain that the story is derivative and cheesy with (horrors) cliched positive values and messages; however, if they watch this film and still state that the makers of this film were disrespecting Air Tanker Services and crews then all I see is that their blind hatred for the CARS concept has gotten in the way of what little objectivity they may possess.

            If anything, where the film can be taken to task for is the little too stereotypical depiction of Windlifter, the Native American Sikorsky S-64.

          • Meredith

            I loved Cars 1, disliked Cars 2. I did see the first Planes. I have only seen the promos for the second one, which sells the film by referring to the firefighters as retired actors and washed up air racers. The incorrect characterization I take issue with is that of a crop duster aircraft/pilot as a “bored farmhand.” I happen to have a good friend who is a crop duster pilot and he is the biggest badass I know. Many of the pilots I went to flight school with would either be too scared to do it or give their left arm to BE a crop duster pilot. It isn’t an easy gig to get. The pay is great, every day is different and it never gets boring. They fly under power lines. Think about that! UNDER POWER LINES. It would have been more realistic to show a bored Cessna 152 dreaming of being a cropduster. “Nobody sits and watches crop dusters?” WRONG. When they work near a road people pull over and watch, believe me. Not everyone can afford to fly to Reno and watch rich people fly in circles. Even the airplane designs in the movie are boring. Two concept artists that could have helped them out tremendously: Jean Barbaud and Hank Caruso. If you like aviation, look them up.

            I appreciate your nitpicking my comments, but the fact is that I am a current pilot and former military aviator, I understand pilot culture, I go to 1-2 airshows a year and I love airplanes. I am also a big fan of animated films, and was so excited when Planes was announced that I promoted it among all of my non-pilot friends before I saw it. To say it was a huge disappointment would be an understatement. I wanted to like it…but It just missed the mark on all counts. Unoriginal. Uninspired. Flat. Characters weren’t interesting or appealing. I don’t know if I’ll see the second film because I was so soured on the first. I am entitled to that opinion and more informed than most. I don’t see any other pilots commenting here. Planes 1 was phoned in by the writers. Sorry.

          • DangerMaus

            Well, I appreciate the clarification regarding the 152 characterization. I’m not sure about the “boring” designs. Except for “Rochelle” who is a hodge-podge of parts from existing types, the rest of them are existing types with a few minor mods. I actually thought the “Ripslinger” character was a fanciful take on the Macchi 72 seaplane sans floats, but apparently he was based on the highly modified P51D racing machine “Precious Metal”.

            I’ll take a look at the two concept artists that you mentioned. I do have stick time, but it was a lot of years ago. Flying as a private pilot is too damn expensive for a working stiff.

            As for being entitled to your opinion, I don’t have a problem with it. I wasn’t really trying to nitpick you. I just felt like posting why I didn’t agree with some of your points. At least you made some points other than just saying it was “toyetic”.

            Frankly, I watched these two films for the flying sequences and for the world building, both of which I thought were fairly well done. The other thing I wanted to see was how many real world types they inserted and whether I could identify them. In those respects, they delivered so they get a pass from me on that basis. Would have been nice if they were both more original, but considering how many sequels and retreads Hollywood is cranking out, I can’t condemn them for lack of inspiration.

  • Mister Twister

    Still waiting for Lamps and Cupboards. I hear those are popular with the female audiences.

  • Doconnor

    The local theater, the Humber Cinema, only has four screens, but they are still showing How to Train your Dragon 2, but they dropped Transformers after one week.

  • DangerMaus

    So “Planes” was third behind “Despicable Me” and “Frozen”. How come no concrete statement that the first two are nothing but 90 minute toy commercials, since their licensing revenue is outstripping “Planes”? Your special hatred for “Planes” just makes your editorializing about it seem gormless.

    • Barrett

      Your characterization of Despicable Me as just another toy commercial are off-base. The first Despicable Me had relatively little merchadising surrounding it. I think the Minions becoming a mega-hit caught Universal/Illumination a little off guard. And while they were locked and loaded to exploit that by the time Despicable Me 2 came out, if you actually watch that film, it clearly in’t set up just to be a toy commercial for the Minions. They actually spend a lot of time focused on a new female human character who isn’t really toyetic and serves as a love interest for Gru. Nobody is making “Gru & Lucy in love” toysets as far as I know…..

  • KW

    At this point stop making the movies and just sell the toys.

  • http://www.animatorisland.com/ JK Riki

    “A good kids movie is a movie that entertains kids.”

    So as long as something for kids is entertaining to children it’s considered good now? Doesn’t matter how well it’s written, or the content, or any message it has inside it, or if it’s animated well or terribly?

    I don’t think I can agree with your assessment. An ENTERTAINING kids movie is a movie that entertains kids, perhaps. But that in no way makes it good or not.

  • http://jsroux.tumblr.com/ Jean-Samuel Roux

    Where did I mentioned a kid movie needs to be entertaining for adults? A movie can be bad but entertaining. Rating a movie is not entirely up to personal opinions, theres a craft to it that you can analyse to have a better idea of its quality.

    Planes is a money grab that has the main ambition of making kids harass their parents to buy them the toys. They announced a trilogy even before caring if the franchise would be successful because they know its a good investment, and thats all they cared about, not the kids.

    Telling me that I’m expecting too much by demanding respect and challenges of an audience is ridiculous. These 2 things dont form a cookie cutter they form the basic dough you make the cookies with.

    As for movie success. Financial and artistic success are 2 very different things that have absolutely nothing in common, sadly so.

    • L_Ron_Hoover

      I think the point being made is that you are too hard on Planes when in reality it’s not that bad. The designs, animation, and world are all made very well. As an adult, Planes doesn’t interest me at all but I’m not the intended demographic.

      There’s Disney princesses for young girls and now they have Cars and Planes for young boys. They filled in a marketing gap and hit a massive success with it. Studios make these decisions once in a while to bring in more money and grow as a business. You can’t get mad about it, that’s just how things work.

      I don’t care if it’s a toy seller because there are thousands of other things being made right now that I can enjoy and new ideas I can support. Planes shouldn’t really be a bother to you. But then again, you’re an internet commenter and it’s your job to get annoyed.

      • http://jsroux.tumblr.com/ Jean-Samuel Roux

        You know what Ron, I would agree with you. Studios need to make concessions in order to make profits to keep their companies from going under and to grow.

        Only probleme here is that we are talking about Disney. The biggest, richest and most famous entertainment company in the world. The company does not take any financial risks when making a feature film. No excuse.

        • L_Ron_Hoover

          That’s not how a corporation or a company works but okay.

      • Barrett

        All those Minion toys are big sellers, but at least Despicable Me wasn’t conceieved from the start as a naked money grab. It was conceieved as a mass-market animated film that told a story of a villain “gone good” who adopts three precocious girls. The Minions were the comedy relief, and ended up being a hit on their own. The upcoming “Minions Movie” may or may not be a simple cash grab, the quality of the story and animation will determine that. With the “Planes” films, the fact that the storytelling is second-rate and the animation is farmed out to overseas studios shows that it isn’t a Disney prestige product, but rather something designed to sell merch. THAT’S what’s got us all hot and bothered.

        I may not like Frozen much at all, but at least that movie was something conceived of as a movie first, a toy and merchandise machine second. Even though the story had many flaws, the whole feel of it makes it obvious that it wasn’t something that was viewed as an automatic hit or ATM. The Planes movies and to some extent Cars 2 are more or less just ATMs for Disney/Pixar. And in the case of Planes, they don’t even have the decency to share the wealth with American animators, the farm it out to India to save money!

  • megadrivesonic

    This doesn’t make sense to how is it that a very good kids film like How to train your dragon 2 is doing horribly right now but a pandering film that was meant to be direct to video like planes is making 3 times as much?

    • tt

      marketing. Fox doesn’t know how to market animated films, while Disney is experienced at it.

      • megadrivesonic

        Wait a minute, Fox was in charge of marketing the film and not Dreamworks, this explains allot.

        • starss

          The animation studio has no control over marketing. That’s their distributor’s job. Considering how Dreamworks is now on its third distributor, you can kind of theorize why Dreamworks isn’t doing so hot…

  • Tammie

    Pokemon, cheesy? never!!

  • DangerMaus

    That’s your opinion. Your opinion isn’t evidence. I saw the first film and at no time did I ever get the feeling that the makers of the film were trying to sell toys or toy sets unlike, say, Hasbro, who ensures that at least the premiere episode and the finale of their shows does introduce new merchandise that they are bringing to market.

    With “PLANES”, they were telling a story first, just like any other animated film that I have seen. The story may have been derivative of the first CARS in that it involved a race. So what? It’s not like Hollywood is brimming over with originality, considering the umpteenth film involving Apes taking over Earth or going back to the Godzilla well for another pull.

    At least, these films have stories which is more than I can say for the usual “Transformers” shit that everyone bitches about, then troops out to see, ensuring that we will be assaulted by a fifth mindless entry to the pantheon.

  • BlueBoomPony

    Not my thing, but I always felt Pixar was after a steady revenue stream with the Cars universe outside big features. More power to them, I say. Jobs and more jobs, baby.

    • tt

      this isn’t Pixar.

  • Douglas

    Well, my kids enjoyed and so did mom and myself. What’s not to like?

  • Fried

    I had no idea Citizen Kane was a nostalgic film… Unless you’re 70.

    It’s more like the usual answer to give when talking about a quality film, like Lawrence of Arabia. You are less likely to hear someone criticizing those films than you are Alien, Die Hard, or The Dark Knight, despite all of those also being good.

    More modern dramas like Gran Torino aren’t exactly universal among filmmakers so it doesn’t strike as much of an image as Citizen Kane does.