Kubo and the Two Strings, the fourth animated feature produced by Laika and first directed by studio president and CEO Travis Knight, launched over the weekend in fifth place with an estimated $12.6 million from 3,260 theaters.
Despite garnering the best reviews of any Laika film to date (96% positive among Rotten Tomatoes-tracked critics), the opening for the stop motion/vfx hybrid was the weakest ever for the Laika brand. The previous low had been Paranorman, which debuted in 2012 with $14.1 million.
Of greater concern, each Laika/Focus Features release has grossed less in the U.S. than the previous film—Coraline ($75.3m in 2009), Paranorman ($56m in 2012), The Boxtrolls ($50.8m in 2014). While Kubo’s opening weekend suggests the studio might continue this downward trend, the film earned an “A” Cinemascore among audiences, the only Laika film that has ever done so. Combined with the strong reviews, there’s still a chance that the film could find its audience and push past the $50m mark at the domestic box office.