Animated films continued their month-long domination of the U.S. box office with the arrival of Sony Pictures Animation’s groundbreaking Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.
Not only did Spider-Man launch in first place, but it had virtually no impact on the two other major animated films in the market — The Grinch and Ralph Breaks the Internet — which took the no. 3 and 4 slots, respectively.
Spider-Man topped the box office with an estimated $35.4 million. The film outperformed Sony’s own expectations, which had been in the low-30 million range. Still, it’s somewhat surprising that the best-reviewed animated film of 2018 would have the fifth-best animation launch of the year. Further, it was only the fifth-best launch in Sony Pictures Animation history, trailing 2011’s The Smurfs and all three Hotel Transylvania films. Spider-Man’s opening weekend audience was 63% male, which is close to the average for superhero releases.
Looking at it from another perspective, Sony’s superhero film does rank as the best-ever opening for an animated feature in December, squeezing past Illumination’s Sing, which scored a three-day launch of $35.2 million in 2016 (albeit, Sing’s total was part of a $54.9 million five-day holiday opening). Movies that open in December often have more robust multipliers than movies that open during other times of the year, so Spider-Man has the potential to leg it out well into January. Sing, for example, ended its run with $270.3 million, a great box office multiplier of 7.6, and last year’s Jumanji, which opened with a $36.1 million three-day, concluded with $404.5 million, an amazing multiplier of 11.2.
The bigger box office story that will almost certainly be overlooked by the mainstream entertainment press is that three animated films held the top four box office spots, a historic first in box office history that upends conventional Hollywood thinking about how much animation audiences can handle.
In its sixth weekend, Universal-Illumination’s The Grinch continued to show terrific strength, earning third place while while overtaking the newer animation release, Disney’s Ralph Breaks the Internet. The Grinch’s estimated weekend of $11.5 million lifts the overall cume to $239.2 million.
Combined with its international total of $133.4 million, The Grinch now has a worldwide take of $372.6 million, making it the highest-grossing Dr. Seuss movie project of all time. The previous record holder was Illumination’s own animation project The Lorax, which had a global gross of $348.8 million.
Meanwhile, Ralph Breaks the Internet slipped from first to fourth place with an estimated $9.5 million. The film has now grossed $154.4 million domestically. A foreign total of $130.7 million results in $285.1 million worldwide.