If you didn’t hear about last weekend’s opening of Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return, don’t worry because no one else in America did either. Launching in 2,575 theaters, the film eked out $3.7 million, which is the worst opening ever for an animated feature in saturated release (over 2,500 theaters). The previous animation record holder in this dubious category was the 2011 Weinstein Company release Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil, which grossed $4.1M from 2,505 theaters.
Directed by industry veterans Will Finn and Dan St. Pierre, the L. Frank Baum-inspired Legends of Oz was the first-ever film distributed by two-year-old marketing and distribution company Clarius Entertainment. According to media reports, they had anticipated a low-teen millions opening. The film was produced by Summertime Entertainment, which claims that it spent $70 million on the production, although smaller production companies often inflate budgets to make a production appear more legitimate.
In other box office news, Rio 2 grossed $5M in its fifth weekend. Its U.S. total stands at $113.1M, which will fall short of the original film’s $143.6M total. But that’s not the whole story. The film also pulled in $14.1M from international territories, pushing its foreign total to $312M, and its global gross to $425.1M. With Japanese and Australian releases still ahead, Rio 2 will surpass the original film’s global gross of $484.6M. But even with that modest increase in revenue, the performance of Rio’s sequel suggests that the franchise doesn’t have the long-term sustainability of Blue Sky Studio’s signature Ice Age franchise.