In other U.S. box office news, the Mexican animated feature Un Gallo Con Muchos Huevos (A Rooster with Many Eggs) scooped up $28,765 in its sixth weekend, which was enough to push it across the $9 million mark.
The film becomes the third foreign animated feature this year to gross over $8 million in the United States, following Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection F ($8M) and Shaun the Sheep Movie ($19.3M). Have three foreign animated films ever grossed $8M a piece in a single year? It doesn’t appear to have happened in the last decade, and it’s a major accomplishment, especially considering that two of the films were specialty releases targeted at niche audiences.
In its second weekend, Shadowmachine’s feature debut, the R-rated Hell and Back, earned a measly $2,673 from 23 playdates, or just $95 per theater. That means less than a dozen people saw it at each theater throughout the weekend. The Tom Gianas and Ross Shuman-directed film opened in 411 theaters last weekend, picking up $104,374 for a still-depressing $254 per-theater average. The film has grossed $156,166 to date.
Regardless of Hell and Back’s quality (I haven’t seen it so it could be great for all I know), when the numbers are this ridiculously low, the distributor — Freestyle Releasing — has to shoulder much of the blame for its grim performance. They lived up their “freestyle” moniker and decided to push the film into 400-plus theaters with virtually no fan or media outreach. (Cartoon Brew received a single email that touted the movie’s poster from a PR firm representing the distributor.) Releasing indie animation is rarely lucrative, but with proper effort and commitment, the results can be at least modestly respectable. Take GKIDS, whose recent release of Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet has accrued $337,381 to date even though it has never played more than 40 theaters on a single weekend.
The Disney/Pixar film Inside Out launched in China with $11.7M over its first six days. That hardly compares to the Chinese bow of Minions, which made $18.8M in a single day. However, Deadline reports that the film is the number one debut for an original, non-sequel Pixar movie in China.
Inside Out generated an additional $22M globally this week, for an $818.8M global gross. That figure now puts it ahead of Shrek the Third as the 10th highest grossing animated movie of all time.