This weekend the $50 million-budgeted Fox/Reel FX film The Book of Life, opened in the United States with an estimated $17 million. It’s a similar opening to Focus Features/Laika’s The Boxtrolls, which bowed to $17.3 million last month. However, the Jorge Gutierrez-directed Book of Life opened in nearly 400 less theaters, giving the film a significantly higher per-theater average than Box trolls ($5,537 vs. $4,987).
The Book of Life opening, which was enough for third place at the U.S. box office, is quite respectable for an animated feature not produced by one of the Big Six (Disney/Pixar/DreamWorks/Illumination/Blue Sky/Sony Pictures Animation). It is remarkably difficult for a film not made by one of these producers and backed by their respective distribution machines to crack the $20 million mark, with only 4 films managing that feat in the last five years: Happy Feet Two ($21.2 million), The LEGO Movie ($69.1 million), Rango ($38.1 million), and Gnomeo and Juliet ($25.3 million).
Deadline Hollywood reported further on Book of Life’s box office performance: