“Rango” Opens at #1

Rango

Less people in the United States attended the movies last month than
any February since 1995
. The only bright spot in Hollywood right now is animated films, which continue to perform well. Rango, the first animated feature from ILM, opened at number 1 this weekend with a FINAL $38.1 million. Gnomeo and Juliet dropped to fifth place in its fourth weekend, earning $7.2 million for a healthy total of $84 million.

Some highlights of Rango‘s opening from Box Office Guru:

The audience was fairly broad with females making up 54% and those over 25 also at 54%. [Paramount] reported that admissions were higher than those for the debut of its last March toon How To Train Your Dragon which enjoyed 3D surcharges helping it bow to $43.7M…Adiences were not as happy with the product as its CinemaScore grade was a discouraging C+.

Sylvain Chomet’s The Illusionist captured $80,212 from 76 theaters boosting its total to $1.87 million. The film has failed to catch on with audiences like Chomet’s earlier film, The Triplets of Belleville which grossed $7 million in 2003.

Also of note, a collection of Oscar-nominated shorts released by Shorts International grossed $61,101 from 44 theaters raising its total to $1.2 million. I believe the total amount reflects two programs currently in theaters–animation and live-action. I don’t know of any collection of Oscar nominated shorts that has ever grossed this much money theatrically, and it exceeds Shorts Intl’s 2009 Oscar shorts edition ($644,635) and 2010 edition ($1,018,169).

Meanwhile, the worldwide total for Tangled now stands at $546 million and is still rising. It is Disney Feature Animation’s second highest grossing animated feature ever behind only The Lion King, and it has surpassed the worldwide grosses of other recent animated pics like Despicable Me, Wall-E, Cars, and How to Train Your Dragon.


  • Joshy B

    Haven’t seen Rango yet but looking forward to it.

    It’s a really shame about the Illusionist, I saw it recently at the Adelaide Film Festival and really loved it and wanted to see more animated films head in a less cartoony, slapstick direction as it really spoke to me about the struggles and dreams in our lives.

    Really good to see Tangled’s success as it shows that with a good story, genuinely likable characters and fantastic artwork and animation people are willing to pay and pay again and again to see something of such quality from Disney. Looking forward to getting my hands on the bluray when it’s available at the end of this month.

    • Funkybat

      I don’t think The Illusionist ever had a shot at any kind of mainstream popularity in this country. I saw it and was impressed by the delicate subtlety of the animation. But remember, this is based on an unproduced Jacques Tati script. Even for an “indie film fan” like myself, it felt very slow and uneventful. It was like watching an animated documentary of the lives of lonely people.

      I think “Rango” is a much more plausible first step toward mainstream acceptance of animated features that are not cut from the “traditional” family-friendly mold. An animated French art film is something that mainly artists and intellectuals will enjoy.

  • College Student

    Being film and animation majors, my friends and I went to see Rango at a midnight showing on Friday. My response to people when they ask me about the film is “it’s really good and really weird.” Rattlesnake Jake’s performance was the show stealer for me.

    I also got to see Illusionist at a local theater as well. As much as I like the film, its just wont do as well as Triplets did for the general audience.

  • Toonio

    Hope this is just the 1st of many releases for ILM.

  • http://grahaeme.blogspot.com grahaeme

    The Illusionist is the biggest disappointment for me in a while. The trailer made it look like it was going to be a thing of rare beauty and I’d missed it in the summer as I’d moved from Vancouver to Montreal. I missed it at Ottawa and I’ve been so swamped with work I barely had time to go see it here. When I took the evening off to sit with my wife to watch it I was giddy with excitement but that was in stark contrast to how I felt by the halfway mark.

    The film failed to deliver and I think its the worst of Chomet’s three and here’s why:

    1.) The film, as it’s revealed in the fading moments of the denouement, is apparently an ode to Vaudeville and by extension the hand-wrought craft of animation. The by-gone years of artistry and craft lamented as the march of industry moves on (or culture, the mock-beatles band is hardly an argument for industry). But this idea, which could and should have been central to the film, is barely touched on until, lo, the ventriliquist’s doll had been hocked.

    2.) The creepy ass relationship between the girl and the Illusionist. It was too vague and never clairified. The girl had no emotions to speak of and the Illusionist moved more than acted through their scenes. When he thought the rabbit was in his stew was when the people behind us walked out of the theatre. (As an interesting note, when the film started there were 8 people in the theatre in Montreal and it was just my wife and i half way thru.)

    3.) The film was very mechanical in it’s execution and let slip golden moments of acting that could have carved into the audience’s heart. For example, when the girl received the red shoes in her room. She got the shoes. She put the shoes on. She burned the old shoes. What reason was there for the pillow outside to fair up? As a device to light the fire so she could burn the shoes? Where was here reaction to the fire? Was it hot? Was she happy when she got the shoes?

    4.) Unneccessary 3d panarama at the end.

    5.) Story: Where’s the contrast? Where’s the conflict? Where’s the growth or change? If Chomet had made a point of illustrating the contrast between the ahy-day of Vaudeville and then let the film play out as it’s sad last days, then you’ve got something. There was no story to speak of and what little existed was so marred by horrible acting that it was absolutely not appealing at all.

    6.) Story

    7.) Story

    8.) Story

    I love Old Lady and the Pigeons and think that Triplettes has some redeeming qualities but it too has story problems. But this, this was heart breaking. I am so sad to have watched this film. If I had known, I would have stopped at the trailer and let my imagination keep that sparkle i thought this film was going to have.

    Tangled, how good was that? Best disney film in years!

    • Joshy B

      The trouble with expectations is that they’re very often not met and I think this is probably why you were so disappointed by The Illusionist. I thought I’d offer my perspective on your points.
      1) I found the story coming second to the characters in the Illusionist, the struggles were there, just not beating the audience over the head with them. By not saying much the characters also allowed the audience to read into each of them more of themselves.

      2) Right from the get-go I viewed the relationship as a grandfather/grand daughter sort of relationship with the old magician just very happy to share some moments in life with someone else. Life can be very lonely traveling without any family and I guess I could feel that desire needing to be filled in the characters life. Definitely didn’t get any creepy vibe at all and i think this speaks more about the way people view any two people hanging out together as “together” which is more of an American/Westerner way of thinking.

      3) I always took that moment as her wanting to do something nice for the magician and thinking that it was snowing she lit the fire to make things more comfortable for him. The acting stuff may have been done a little better but i thought it was better the way it was rather than being overacted which most mainstream westerner animated films do way too often.

      4)Absolutely agree, totally gratuitous and completely broke the charm of the film for that moment for me.

      5)I thought the story of an old magician just trying to get by anyway he can when he’s accompanied by a girl who believes that he really can do magic and his attempts to keep her from being disillusioned by him as she finds her way in the outside world until she grows away from him was a really touching moment in life to tell a story about.

      6, 7, 8) I think it comes down to expectations of what you expect a story to contain. I walked in without any expectations and was pleasantly surprised by the restraint shown in the story telling. It was a quiet, beautifully told drama.

      I recently saw The Old Lady and the Pigeons and really enjoyed it (the policeman also makes an appearance in The Illusionist) but I found Triplettes kinda boring character and story wise, I just didn’t connect with any of them.

      Again, not trying to prove you wrong or anything like that, just showing that all your points can be taken as positives depending on the expectations you bring with you to the cinema.

      • http://grahaeme.blogspot.com grahaeme

        Hey Joshy,

        I agree with your evaluation, that often foreign films and more so, foreign cultures have different views or interpretations of people’s realtionships. The feeling I got from the girl and the man was ambiguous and not properly explained. I feel the realtionship could have been more clearly outlined and I found that the core of this relationship revolved around the girl’s view of the old man. I didn’t get that she really thought he was magical until she stops and asks for money when he’s getting in the car. This was, for me, an incredibly jarring moment in the film, when you are suddenly thrown forward in their relationship. She dresses like the women she admired in town (the dress and hair up) and is even looked over by a country bumpkin as she strolls confidently down the street.

        I don’t feel the characters, much like the story, flow. I feel like there are movements in the film, but like the 3d element at the end, that movement is jarring. Perhaps there are production stories to explain it but I feel, as a viewer, unsatisfied and ill at ease.

        The creepy feeling I got was again from the ambiguity. The scene where the old man’s been drinking and he looks in on the girl was really out of left field for me. I guess when he buys her the second pair of shoes it should have been the first inclination that there was more to it, but I didn’t get it. And I think that’s the central issue I have with the film.

        I feel the motives, views and intention of the characters and the story are all a little rudderless. The ending is suiting, as the characters split and there’s no explanation as to why, no emotional connection or resolution. I felt the same.

        I agree that many films rely on overacting and i it was an attempt to persuade the audience a little more subtly, then for me, it was a little understated. I don’t like my drama hamfisted or gratuitous, but i want to feel the art I am presented with is intentional and I didn’t get that.

        I appreciate your take. I’m looking for Tati films this weekend. Hopefully they will help me see the film in new light, but I do believe that art should not be externally referencial. I like it to stand on its own.

        Anywho, good chat.

    • Was My Face Red

      For an insight into what Tati wrote and Chomet didn’t use have an little internet trawl for the original story (sorry I can’t find the link right now!) The original has more drama and more humanity so it seems really odd that Chomet chose to cut several plot points which would have made his film far less passive and much more what Tati originally intended.

      • Simon K

        Chomet totally dropped the ball by unwisely ignoring Tati’s original intentions for writing the Illusionist, his film is very weak because of his poor editorial.

        For those who haven’t read it the real life story behind Tati’s Illusionist script can be read over on Eberts.

        http://blogs.suntimes.com/ebert/directors/the-shame-of-jacques-tati.html

  • J.M

    Ok Now my Opinion about Amid’s post:

    I think that the females that went to see it on the first weekend (mainly because of the Johnny Depp brand ) will tell her female friends to NOT go see it, due to the extremely gruesome rodents and lizards. (which I think make this movie refreshingly different)

    • chipper

      Don’t be so hasty–a lot of females like lizards.

    • http://www.facebook.com/pages/City-in-the-Desert/174215419261527?ref=ts Moro Rogers

      Hey…Some females like gruesome rodents and lizards. What women really dislike is Gore Verbinski-style interminable action sequences. (Oh, wait, maybe it’s just me.=p)

  • http://youtube.com/user/Mesterius1 Mesterius

    “…the worldwide total for Tangled now stands at $538 million and is still rising. It is Disney Feature Animation’s second highest grossing animated feature ever behind only The Lion King, and it has surpassed the worldwide grosses of other recent animated pics like Despicable Me, Wall-E, Cars, and How to Train Your Dragon.”

    This is great to hear:) But, just curious, is that counting the inflation and the rise in ticket prices since 1994?

  • http://www.sneezemeaway.com/ RYan G

    I too recently saw The Illusionist, and was disappointed. To borrow a comment I overheard someone else make, it was a charming film with no reward. As others have mentioned before, the film has great character moments, but ultimately it goes nowhere. Beautiful artwork, and captivating animated sequences do not make up for the fact that there was no real conflict or motive to character, other than the base need to make a living. The girl was portrayed as a leech who learnt that being cute and looking good will get you anything you want. There was some golden setups between the manager and the magician that could have been possibly explored more for some extra conflict.
    Also, that 3D scene at the end was so distracting, that it pulled me completely out of the movie.

  • http://highlyrecommended.blogspot.com Satorical

    I loved The Illusionist. The protagonist wasn’t always rewarded for being good, and guess what? That happens in life. The movie is a mix of charm and wistfulness and the bittersweet; moments of pure joy and in-your-face brusqueness.

    There isn’t a single “correct” way to handle its central relationship. It’s Jean Reno to Natalie Portman in The Professional. It’s Frank Langella and his young admirer/user in Starting Out in the Evening. It’s Lost in Translation and it’s Harold and Maude and it’s even Lolita.

    These are inevitably slice-of-life pictures, even when they have a full story, because the young person still has so much life to live. They depict a point in time when an oddball relationship works. The conflict and distress come when the relationship becomes untenable. In The Illusionist, it was when the girl’s budding adolescence manifested as unconscious callousness.

    So, um, yeah, gotta see Rango…

    • Funkybat

      I think the relationship between Leon and Mathilda in “The Professional” was a lot richer than anything in “The Illusionist.” I know what they were going for, and I don’t really know if the fault lies with Tati, Chomet, or both. The problem for me was that the characters felt “real” to some extent, they acted like real people rather than stage-y cartoon characters, but they also felt shallow. I wanted to feel how The illusionist felt about his magic, does he love it when he is onstage? Does he resent it as a ball and chain that he carries because he doesn’t know anything else? What are his defining characteristics? The girl displayed youthful impertinence and curiosity, as well as some self-centered selfishness, but with her too, I wondered, “what is she all about? What are her dreams, other than ‘leaving the village’?”

      I felt like I spend two hours watching the lives of several quiet, lonely people play out, without ever getting to know them. And while I wasn’t looking for pathos, it would have been nice to feel some emotions other than vague disappointment or moderate momentary delight from the main characters. The characters in Belleville exhibited similar emotional shallowness, but at least there the bizarre story and artwork held my interest more.

      I appreciate the artistry of The Illusionist, it shows a great deal of draftsmanship and attention to detail. But it almost felt like some kind of Autism simulator, where you are made to be unable to empathize or read deep emotions from everyone you see around you. It was nice after the film ended to go back to the “real world” and feel things from people again.

      • TsimoneTseTse

        When I saw the first still it faintly resembled a scene from the Aristocats (hmmm). By the time the Illusionist “appeared” in my town I had read enough CB comments to figure that this was going to be an “art” film. Going in as a Tati fan I knew what pace to expect.

        I laughed at the broad slapstick (going up the staircase intoxicated, the fey boyband, the Scotsman) subtle comedy (spooning the soup for his rabbit, waiting for the band to leave the stage) & was deeply moved in someplaces (the stark reality of vaudevillians in 1959, going back to ? at the end) Yes, it takes its sweet time, but was a breath of fresh air, while the timing was reminiscent of Tati & Chaplin. As a parent I gathered nothing between the two but a caring, paternal relationship.

        My personal opinion – This is how animation of the human form should look. Nary will you see the animation textbook study of arm flailing, headbobbing talking/laughter etc, goofy walks or any other over the top movement that has defined human animation from mugging animators for the past 70 years. Chomets animation direction displays true grace.
        (An apples & oranges comparison – look what happened when Disney combined cartoon characters with uber-photorealism in Hunchback)

        When I think of Chomet’s Illusionist I hear Claire de Lune, Chaplin’s Smile & Newman’s Ragtime score.

        I am stirred by this piece of Art and saddened to hear there may not be enough appreciation ($) for him to further his artistic vision.

        We could only wonder what Notre Dame de Paris would have looked like if he had made it.

  • John

    Those Singapore animators did a good job on this film!

  • Matt Sullivan

    Glad to hear it. Anything that keeps animators employed. because of course, had RANGO flopped this weekend, the artists would have been the first to be blamed.

  • PeteR

    rango was a miserable cartoon. Too juvnile for adults, and too boring for the kids. And it has got to be tthe ugliest cartoons ever made.

    • http://incohent-thought.blogspot.com vincent

      Could not disagree more.

      • Was My Face Red

        Yep, PeteR’s definitely in a minority on that one, but that doesn’t stop him stating his opinions like they were facts.

  • http://www.segaltoons.com Steve Segal

    This proves that a 3D film need not be presented in 3D to be a hit. Rango is the first animated CG film since Astro Boy not shown in stereoscopic 3D.

  • tony mccarson

    glad to hear about this!

    but disney’s rapunzel movie still must have a better name!

  • Patch

    Sorry to be a pedant, but isn’t this film made with the same performance capture tech that was used for Cap’n Squidface in Pirates of the Caribbean 2? I believe that the vomit inducing term for it is “Emotion Capture”. And wouldn’t this mean that it isn’t actually animated, but rather merely a fancy way of rendering live action- a sort of sophisticated “Waking Life”? As a film I didn’t mind it- it had some nice touches- but discussing it as if it were animation- or indeed if it’s success will help our industry is pretty pointless. I fear if it is a success producers will see this tech as a way of establishing control over animation -by making something that looks like animation without actually sullying itself by being animated- and, without having to deal with those pesky “wrists” and their confounded attachment to “Art” and “Quality”

    • http://tlsaz.tumblr.com Tom

      Gore Verbinski simply filmed the actors performing in a room together and had the animators base their characters’ performances on that. This is 100% an animated film.

  • http://elblogderg.blogspot.com Roberto

    Rango is a quite unusual film so I’m glad it’s working with audiences because of the Depp factor.

    I think animated films should use unusual and strange characters and visuals more often than they usually do and it’s surprising that it took a life action director and writer, and a special effects company, to make something more surreal and cartoony-in spirit, not so much in the animation-than most of the stuff produced by other well known animation studios.

    In fact I’d have liked it more if the whole movie had been as weird as the first thirty minutes, but I guess that’s still too much for the average moviegoer.

  • http://hand-drawn-animation.blogspot.com David Nethery

    That’s really sad about the low numbers for “The Illusionist” .

    The film has never received a wide release and the advertising in the U.S. has been minimal (aimed at the “art house” movie crowd) , and there was never really a chance that this kind of art house movie would catch the attention of mainstream American movie audiences, but even so those box-office numbers are depressing. Worldwide the film has only made $4,757,525 million , against a production budget of $17 million.

    (however, kudos to the animation crew on The Illusionist for putting that kind of quality up on the screen for “only” $17 million. For a feature film with such lush, full animation that’s not a very large budget , but they made it look great.)

  • JD

    Great call in getting Depp to voice the character. It must have helped the marketing team since Pirates is coming in May. Timing is everything huh? Well…almost.

  • fish

    Rango is being embraced by adult movie goers everywhere. Let me place emphasis on the word “adult”. Make no mistake, children will dislike this movie immensely. I took my 2 children to it (I really should have done more research before wasting the BO $ on them) on Saturday and my 10 year old, who is no dummy, just didn’t understand it, and continued to express it to me throughout the film. She really tried to watch it and enjoy it, none of this “I don’t get it, so I’m gonna hate the rest of it” kind of attitude. It was just plain too weird for her – bottom line. She’s no different from any other typical kid looking for fun when watching an animated movie at the theater. I can only assume that the rest of the kids in the theater on Saturday afternoon had a similar experience to her. There was a lot of head scratchin’ goin’ on. My son, who is 3, barely sat through the first 2/3 of it and was bouncing off the walls during the last 1/3 trying to do anything other than watch Rango.

    Visually it was striking, the textures, the world … it all felt very tangible and real. The animation was stellar, the voice acting was entertaining. But I left the theater wishing for a more family friendly animated film; feeling a little bad that I made my kids sit through it all. Oh, and there were waaay too many “hell”‘s and “damn”‘s for my liking in a “family friendly” film too.

    • http://www.enigmation.de slowtiger

      I beg your pardon, but since when does a child of 3 belong in a movie theatre?

      • Joshy B

        When i saw Inception I sat in-front of a couple who had brought their 3 kids all under 5 to the 9:30pm session =_=

        I guess when almost all animated films in the US are aimed at kids it’d be easy to assume Rango wouldn’t be any different. Just a quick look at the trailers indicates that that it’s definitely aimed towards the teenager and older market.

      • Nick Swift

        yeah, but they marketed it to children. it being produced by Nickelodeon, and advertised on their station, i can’t blame people assuming that its for children. There is no way that they made it not thinking that its going to draw in a younger crowd.

      • Erin Siegel

        With jokes like “gun lotion” apparent in the trailers (a joke that wasn’t even IN the film) I can’t understand why any parent would think it was a good idea to bring them. I absolutely LOVED this film, but I’m in fervent agreement that it’s not for kids. Rattlesnake Jake would’ve given me fierce nightmares if I were a little kid watching this while the rest is making too many callbacks to previous films for a young child to fully get (much the same way that I, when I was very young, didn’t understand the pop culture jokes the Looney Tunes were making). Even the theme of the film can go over kid’s heads: existential crisis combined with becoming a mature adult who has to face tough decisions and messages about personal integrity and hardship? You could grasp it if you’re twelve (that kind of existentialism is just starting to enter your brain then) but not when you’re younger.

        To me though, that’s a ringing endorsement. There’s so so so many mainstream animated films for the younger audience or “general audiences” that swing towards the kiddie mindset and fail to ask hard questions. It’s refreshing to watch a film that dares to be ugly and be bigger than the usual “I want” story. Imagine if this same story had been tackled by Disney using the same tired formula. It would be big epic romances and songs and adorable animals. The little black…whatever that girl was would’ve taken center stage and the female lead, Beans, would’ve been this svelte girlish thing that would’ve existed more as a romantic interest than the only fully aware sharp character in the cast. And chameleon jokes…sad tired chameleon jokes.
        (I’m big on biology, so it pisses me off to see chameleons portrayed as octopus-level color shifters when their repetoire is so limited, and so not related to camoflauge. Rango pleased me by having ONE gag that wasn’t a huge departure from their normal abilities anyway)

      • fish

        slowtiger …
        I beg YOUR pardon, but you haven’t been to many animated films “specifically marketed to children”(thank you Nick Swift), in the theater have you? IF you had you would notice a peculiar trend … that of adults sitting with children clustered around them, those children ranging in ages of 18 months to 12 years.

        Go figure …

    • Karen

      “Rango is being embraced by adult movie goers everywhere”

      Funny way to describe one of the most juvenile cartoons made yet. And adults are not “embracing” it with a “C” Cinema Score. It’s an awful, childish cartoon that happens to not have been made with any particular audience in mind.

  • Justin

    Rango, Rango, Rango.

    It is really pushing the limits of the PG rating.

    by the character design.
    story
    and humor. (they snuck a lot of adult themed jokes under the radar.)

    But I really liked it. and I personally want the art book. While most of the characters make me want to puke I want to know how the developed them.

  • Michael

    *fewer people…

  • Eero

    It’s a shame to hear about the Illiusionist’s poor numbers but I guess judging by both very positive and very negative reviews it’s not a film for everyone..

    I found it to be a breath of fresh air, compared to almost all feature animation made during the last decade, that so fully on obnoxious comic dialogue and unoriginal visual puns, whereas animation has so much to explore in creating atmospheres and finding magic in reality.

    I thought the Illusionist was like watching a beautifully animated picture book, I took so much joy in watching all the little details, and the story didn’t bore me at anytime. The relationships between the characters felt authentic and I their motives and actions were really really clear considering the story was told with almost no dialogue.

    Even if you didint enjoy the film, I think it should be applauded for aiming to achieve something different from most animated feature films.