Blue Sky’s The Peanuts Movie couldn’t compete with the latest James Bond entry Spectre, but still managed to launch in a strong second place with an estimated $45 million.

The Steve Martino-directed film, which is the sixth-biggest animated debut this year, opened above Fox’s internal estimate of $40 million, but below the $50M+ predictions of box office pundits. Many had expected a bigger opening due to the built-in awareness of the Peanuts brand and Fox’s marketing and promotional campaign, including an extensive digital campaign that is documented in this Deadline post.

But the film’s launch is in line for the Blue Sky brand. The studio’s last two films have opened under $40 million — Rio 2 ($39.3M) and Epic ($33.5M) — and its last Ice Age entry Continental Drift opened with $46.6M. Peanuts also matches the exact amount of Martino’s last adaptative film, Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who! which launched with $45M in 2008.

Peanuts opened in limited release internationally with $4.6M, including a minuscule $3.1 million from China, which reflects the fact that Schulz’s creation is virtually unknown in that country. While Peanuts can afford to lose a major market or two, the real test of Peanuts’ box office stamina will be in a few weeks, when Pixar’s The Good Dinosaur opens.

Hotel Transylvania 2 passed the $400 million worldwide mark this weekend, pulling in $3.6 million from the United States (good for 6th place) and $15 million internationally. The film has now grossed $161.3M domestically and $242.9M abroad, which makes it Sony Pictures Animation’s second-highest grossing pic of all time, behind Smurfs.

Undoubtedly, Adam Sandler will take much of the credit for the film, which has now become the highest-grossing pic of his hit-and-miss career, but the animation community knows that the victory belongs to the film’s director, Genndy Tartakovsky, who was able to shape Sandler and company’s lackluster script into a decently entertaining family film.

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