The launch is, in fact, very similar to the recent My Little Pony: The Movie, which opened with $8.9M from 2,528 locations, for a $3,515 per-theater average. But whereas MLP has petered out around $22M – a weak animation box office multiplier of around 2.5x – The Star should get a boost from the ongoing holiday season and potentially surpass $30M.
The upside here is that the Timothy Reckart-directed film should end up being a minor success for Sony, especially once it hits streaming services and home video. That’s because the film was made on a fraction of the budget for a typical Sony Pictures Animation film – around $20 million according to Box Office Mojo.
Pre-production for The Star was handled at Sony Pictures Animation in Culver City, California, followed by production at Cinesite Studios in Montreal, Canada. Cinesite, traditionally a vfx shop, has made an aggressive entry into feature animation. They’ve also animated the upcoming Gnome Alone, while its Vancouver division (the former Nitrogen Studios) is making a cg version of The Addams Family.
Here’s a more impressive box office story: Good Deed Entertainment continues to reap solid numbers from Loving Vincent, the Oscar-contending oil-painted film that is a co-production from the U.K. and Poland. In its 9th weekend, the film about the mystery surrounding the death of Vincent van Gogh grossed $393,247 from 212 theaters, lifting its overall total to $4.6M. (The film is currently at its peak theater count.)
Loving Vincent will hit $5M in the next week or so, and when it does it will become only the fourth animated feature rated PG-13 or R in the last five years to earn $5 million-plus in U.S. theaters. The other three films are Sausage Party, Un Gallo con Muchos Huevos, and The Wind Rises.
Cartoon Saloon and GKIDS’ much-buzzed-about The Breadwinner opened in 3 theaters in LA and NYC with $19,530, a $6,510 per-theater average. It’s too early to make guesses about how the film will perform in the U.S., but for comparison, Loving Vincent in its second weekend played in four theaters with a significantly-higher per-theater of $13,869.