One of Hollywood’s big myths was debunked this weekend: the idea that multiple animated films can’t succeed simultaneously at the box office.
Sony Pictures Animation’s Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse and Disney-Pixar’s Elemental took the top two spots at the weekend box office. The films paced neck and neck for most of the weekend, with Spider-Verse finally edging out Elemental in the final tally. They are separated by less than a million in the current estimates: Spider-Verse at $19.3 million and Elemental at $18.4 million.
Remarkably, neither of these films even debuted this weekend. Spider-Verse was in its fourth frame and Elemental in its sophomore weekend. Their one-two finish was made possible in part by the tremendous collapse of last weekend’s top film, the vfx-packed WB superhero pic The Flash, which plummeted over 72% and ended up with just $15.2 million in its second weekend.
The last time two animated films took the top two spots at the box office was in late 2018, when Ralph Breaks the Internet and The Grinch held the top spots for two weeks in a row. That this phenomenon doesn’t happen more often isn’t due to the fact that animation doesn’t perform well, but rather that studios try to avoid releasing animated films in close proximity to other animated films. In the case of Spider-Verse and Elemental, the two films targeted different audiences, proving that there’s plenty of room for more big-studio animated releases at the box office so long as the offerings are sufficiently diverse.
Spider-Verse, directed by Joaquim Dos Santos, Kemp Powers, and Justin K. Thompson, hit the #1 spot for the first time since its debut weekend. Its domestic gross stands at $317M, and international at $243.2M, for a global total of $560.2M.
For the Peter Sohn-directed Elemental, a second-place finish is still reason to celebrate. That’s because the film dropped a relatively slim 37.6% in its second frame. With $65.5M domestic to date, the film is an undeniable disappointment for Pixar, but this second weekend offers a glimmer of hope that the film could continue playing strongly through the upcoming Fourth of July holiday. Elemental’s international total is now $55.6M, lifting its global cume to $121.1M.
This coming week, the animation barrage continues in the U.S. with the theatrical release of Dreamworks Animation’s Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken as well as the streaming release of Netflix’s Nimona. If this past weekend’s box office is any indication, audiences are hungry for more animation.
Box office figures are estimates. taken from Box Office Mojo and Comscore.