Laika’s stop motion film ParaNorman opened last weekend in third place at the U. S. box office with $14.1 million. Despite opening in one thousand theaters more than Laika’s previous film Coraline, the film still didn’t match the $16.8 million opening of the earlier film. ParaNorman did, however, top last April’s $11.1 million opening of Aardman’s The Pirates! Band of Misfits.

ParaNorman‘s disappointing opening is a reminder that stop motion doesn’t generate the huge box office returns we’ve come to expect from major computer animated features. It’s debatable whether the lower grosses are attributable to the technique of stop motion, the type of stories that artists tell with stop motion animation, or the simple fact that no stop motion film has ever enjoyed the type of massive marketing push that accompanies the typical CG feature.

Ice Age: Continental Drift fell out of the domestic top ten, grossing $3 million in its sixth weekend. Its U. S. total is currently at $150.2 million, which will end up being the lowest grossing entry in the Ice Age franchise. But don’t take that as a sign of failure. The film has been an overseas phenomenon, grossing $646.3 million from foreign markets. Combined with domestic grosses, its global total will surpass $800 million this week, making it the sixth highest grossing animated feature of all time.

The overseas popularity of the Ice Age series is an outlier in the animation world. To put it into perspective, the latest Ice Age will gross more from foreign markets alone than Disney/Pixar’s Brave will gross domestically and foreign combined. Each new Ice Age film has increased its percentage of overseas share, as shown below:

Film % of Domestic Gross % of International Gross
Ice Age (2002) 46% 54%
Ice Age 2 (2006) 29.8% 70.2%
Ice Age 3 (2009) 22.2% 77.8%
Ice Age 4 (2012) 18.9% 81.1%

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