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Puss in Boots Puss in Boots

After another strong weekend at the global box office for Joel Crawford’s Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, NBCUniversal has all but locked up the top three spots at the global box office for fully-animated features released in 2022.

After a worldwide take of $39 million over the weekend – an estimated $13.1 in North America and $25.9 abroad – Dreamworks’ PiB is within a whisker of the $200 million mark, having grossed $197.5 million since releasing in most territories in late December. The film now only needs another $10 million to pass Warners’ DC League of Super Pets ($207.4 million) and another $30 million to pass Pixar’s Lightyear ($226.4 million) at the global box office, both of which should happen by the end of next weekend.

Universal’s other animated top grossers of 2022 are Illumination’s Minions: The Rise of Gru ($939.6 million) and Dreamworks’ The Bad Guys ($250.2 million).

The last time one studio occupied the top three animation spots at the global box office in one year (not counting hybrid films) was 2019 when Disney’s The Lion King, Frozen II, and Toy Story 4 managed the feat. And, while Universal has long been the strongest competitor to Disney at the global animation box office, this is the first time that the distributor has held the top three spots for a year.

PiB played in 78 territories over the past weekend but still hasn’t gotten a U.K. release, which will give it another boost when it lands there on February 3. Domestically, the film has proved to have impressive legs, only dropping 22% in its third week despite already being available on PVOD. In fact, its week three haul of $13.1 million is still higher than the film’s opening weekend box office of $12.4 million, which suffered due to severe weather conditions across much of the United States.

In December of last year, before PiB’s wide release, NBCUniversal boss Jeff Shell turned heads when he said that his company’s animation business was more attractive than Disney’s. The numbers from 2022 certainly back up that claim, and Universal’s next animated feature, The Super Mario Bros. Movie, looks primed to be one of 2023’s biggest box office hits.

Bolstering Universal’s case for a strong 2023, Trolls 3 will release on November 17, although there is almost no information about the film other than its debut date. That franchise’s first film grossed $347 million at the global box office, while the sequel performed strongly on PVOD amidst Covid restrictions, earning $95 million in rental fees over its first 19 days of release.

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