Box Office Report

Box Office: ‘Spark’ Fails To Ignite At The Box Office

It’s no surprise that Spark: A Space Tail didn’t perform well, but this is box office bomb of historic proportions.

According to weekend estimates, the Aaron Woodley-directed film grossed an estimated $112,352 from 365 theaters, a per-theater average (PTA) of $308. To put into perspective how little that amount is, The Lost City of Z outgrossed Spark this weekend with $112,633, and that film was playing in just four theaters.

Spark had a PTA of only $72 on Sunday, which works out to around eight tickets per theater. Assuming that there were four to five screenings per day, most showings of the film played to empty (or nearly-empty) houses. Any way you break it down, it is among the weakest launches in the history of cg animation in the United States.

Of its 37 films that Open Road Films has released to date, Spark ranks as the distributor’s all-time worst launch based on PTA. Open Road, a joint-venture between cinema chains AMC and Regal, was clearly hoping to replicate the success of its earlier hit, The Nut Job, which had been produced by the same production companies. The monkey-in-space sci-fi genre even has a proven track record at the box office: Space Chimps grossed $30 million back in 2008. Instead, they ended up with a Delgo-level flop that will be remembered for all the wrong reasons.

Open Road will try again — and hope for better results — with The Nut Job 2 in August. The film is co-produced by the same team that made Spark: Korean studio Redrover Co. Ltd, Canada’s Toonbox Entertainment, China’s Shanghai Hoongman Technology Co., and Gulfstream Pictures.

While Spark is a certifiable flop in the United States, it’s important to remember that for foreign producers, U.S. box office doesn’t mean everything and the film could still perform well in other parts of the world. Double Dutch International (DDI), the international sales agent for Spark, successfully sold the film based on the reputation of The Nut Job and Spark’s celebrity voice cast, which included Jessica Biel, Hilary Swank, Patrick Stewart, and Susan Sarandon. DDI CEO Jason Moring told Screen Daily last November, “With the recent announcement of Open Road theatrically releasing Spark in the U.S. combined with the track record of these great animated producers and strong voice talent, we fully expect Spark to be sold out soon.”

Rights for Spark have been snapped up by Kaleidoscope (U.K.), California Films (Latin America), Eagle Films (Middle East), Fox International (pan-Asia pay TV), Captive Entertainment (Philippines), MVP Films (Vietnam/India), Sam Films (Iceland), Roadshow (Australia), Scanbox (Scandinavia), Baltic Top Film (Russia/C.I.S.), Best Film (Poland), Five Stars (Israel), Blitz (ex-Yugoslavia), and ATM Film (West Indies). China and South Korea also have distribution planned.

Other U.S. box office notes:

Dreamworks’ The Boss Baby slipped to second place, surrendering pole position to The Fate of the Furious. The movie has overperformed and continues to hold up well with $15.5M in its third weekend. It has banked $116.3M in the U.S. and $122.6M abroad for $238.9M global — and more to come.

Disney’s Beauty and the Beast passed $1 billion in global gross at the box office last week. The film dropped to third place in the U.S. with $13.6M. Its total is now $454.6M stateside and $588.4M abroad for a grand total of $1.043 billion.

Sony Picture Animation’s Smurfs: The Lost Village dropped from third to fourth place in its second weekend, achieving just $6.5M. Its two-week total is $24.7M. Not counting the two Aardman films that SPA co-produced, Smurfs will end up as Sony Animation’s weakest film ever in the United States. The film has earned $70.3 million internationally, and has a global total of $95M.

GKIDS launched the American indie My Entire High School Sinking Into the Sea by comic artist Dash Shaw in three theaters, pulling $15,215. The film had a decent $5,072 per theater average.

Funimation’s U.S. release of Makoto Shinkai’s Your Name did not report weekend totals.

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