Update: Thursday’s numbers just came in and Mutant Mayhem made another $4.9M, bringing it’s two-day box office $15.1M.
Nickelodeon Movies and Paramount Pictures’ Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem kicked off its domestic box office run with strong previews on Tuesday, a huge Wednesday, and could be looking at a $35-$45 million first five days in cinemas.
Wednesday marked the official opening day for Jeff Rowe’s Mutant Mayhem, and the film pulled in $10.2M, including $3.85 from Tuesday’s preview screenings. The film’s total was good enough for second place at the box office, just behind Warner Bros. Discovery’s cultural phenomenon Barbie.
Mutant Mayhem will undoubtedly be one of the year’s biggest animation success stories as it was made on a modest, by Hollywood standards, $70M budget, according to Variety. For context, that number is right around what Dreamworks spent on last year’s The Bad Guys, maybe even less. That film was a major box office success that grossed $24M over its debut weekend on the way to a $97.2M lifetime domestic haul. Nickelodeon and Paramount’s green good guys look like a sure thing to dwarf that tally by the time all is said and done.
Mutant Mayhem also set a franchise high-water mark for theatrical animation, making more on its opening day than TMNT did back in 2007.
We expect this film to have strong legs too, with very little competition anywhere on the horizon. Barbie notwithstanding, there aren’t many high-profile films in cinemas now or coming in the next several weeks that should be fighting for a similar audience to Mutant Mayhem.
Perhaps more importantly, the film is buzzing thanks to a smart marketing campaign, incredible word of mouth, and critical praise, giving audiences plenty of confidence that they’ll get their money’s worth if they make the trip to the multiplex.
This is all, of course, very good news for a feature animation industry which had experienced a hit-and-miss summer so far. Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse was a clear winner, Elemental struggled out of the gates but fought back and now looks likely to break even, but Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken flopped like a fish out of water. Mutant Mayhem overachieving will hopefully signal to studios that if they make decent films that are marketed well and capture audiences’ attention, there is plenty of money to be made in feature animation.