‘Coco’ Scores Box-Office Three-Peat as Disney Looks to Dominate December

In 2016, Disney won out the final six weeks of calendar box-office reports with a strategy for domination: End the year with a family-friendly animated film starring a young hero’s journey, followed by a “Star Wars” title.

Disney’s “Moana” topped the box office for three straight domestic weekends starting in November last year, immediately followed by the weekend three-peat of Disney/Lucasfilm’s “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” in December.

This year, Disney looks to have an identical finishing kick.

Disney/Pixar’s animated “Coco,” which opened during Thanksgiving week, won the North American box office for the third straight weekend, grossing $18.3 million, according to studio estimates Sunday. Final numbers are due Monday afternoon.

“Coco” has now grossed $135.5 million domestically and $389.5 million worldwide, including breakout numbers in China and Mexico. (The film, which centers on the Day of the Dead, has grossed nearly as much in China as in North America.)

Trailing “Coco” over the domestic weekend were “Justice League” ($9.6 million), “Wonder” ($8.5 million), “The Disaster Artist” ($6.4 million) and “Thor: Ragnarok” ($6.3 million).

Disney/Marvel’s “Ragnarok” was a two-time box-office champ in November, so if the forthcoming “Star Wars” film holds to recent franchise form, then Disney will have won eight of the year’s final nine weekends (interrupted only by “Justice League” in mid-November).

“Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” which opens on Friday, is expected to gross more than $200 million in its domestic debut. Disney already owns six of the seven biggest North American openings ever when not adjusting for inflation, led by 2015’s “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” ($248 million).

And “The Last Jedi” should rapidly put the entire “Star Wars” franchise over the $8 billion mark in worldwide box office.

From The Washington Post

‘Guardians of the Galaxy 2’ Zooms to $145M Debut

For the fifth year in a row, a superhero entry from Marvel and Disney has kicked off the summer box office in high style.

This time, the spoils belong to James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, which debuted to $145 million from 4,347 theaters over the weekend  — more than 54 percent ahead of the first film — for an early global total of $427.6 million. Males fueled the movie (56 percent), while 40 percent of ticket buyers were under the age of 25.

In its second weekend of play overseas, the quirky superhero sequel earned another $124 million from 55 markets for an early foreign total of $282.6 million. Among new territories, China led with $48 million, followed by South Korea ($13.3 million) and Russia ($11.6 million).

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 has pushed the Marvel Cinematic Universe past $11 billion in combined global grosses, according to Disney.

Gunn’s follow-up sees the return of Chris Pratt as Star-Lord/Peter Quill, who brings his team back together to fight off evil forces while he seeks to unravel the mystery of his parentage. Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista and Karen Gillan star along with Vin Diesel as the voice of baby Groot and Bradley Cooper as the voice of Rocket. Elizabeth Debicki, Kurt Russell and Sylvester Stallone join the cast for the new installment.

In early August 2014, Guardians of the Galaxy opened to $94.3 million, an impressive number for a lesser-known group of superheroes. The movie went on to earn $773.3 worldwide. Last summer, Warner Bros. and DC’s Suicide Squad, likewise based on lesser-known superheroes, opened to $133.7 million on its way to grossing $745.6 million worldwide.

Guardians Vol. 2 got the widest Imax opening ever, with 1,088 screens delivering $25 million worldwide.

Among holdovers, Universal’s The Fate of the Furious passed the $200 million mark domestically after grossing $8.5 million from 3,595 locations for a $1.16 billion cume globally. Universal’s Get Out, directed by Jordan Peele, also scored a victory in topping the $200 million mark worldwide (the movie has earned $173.9 million domestically and $30.5 million offshore).

Pantelion Films’ How to Be a Latin Lover placed No. 5 with $5.3 million from 1,203 cinemas for a 10-day total of $20.7 million. And Indian film Baahubali: The Conclusion continued to impress, earning $3.2 million from a mere 425 theaters for a total $16.2 million.

While no other film dared open nationwide against Guardians Vol. 2, there were plenty of new offerings at the specialty box office.

Despite a high-profile ratings dust-up, The Weinstein Co.’s transgender drama 3 Generationsbombed in its debut, grossing $20,100 from six theaters for a theater average of $3,353. The movie stars Elle Fanning, Naomi Watts and Susan Sarandon.

In comparison, A24’s The Lovers, starring Debra Winger and Tracy Letts, opened to $70,410 from four theaters for an average $17,603.

Laura Poitras’ Julian Assange documentary, Risk, also debuted this weekend, earning $75,179 from 35 theaters for a disappointing theater average of $2,211. In 2015, Poitras won the Oscar for best documentary for Citizenfour, about NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. Neon is distributing Risk.

From The Hollywood Reporter

‘Beauty And The Beast’ Ends Week Three With $920 Million

Another day, another Beauty and the Beast update. The Walt Disney blockbuster earned $3.2 million on its third Thursday, bringing its domestic total up to $407.3m in just 21 days. Presuming an over/under $25m fourth weekend, the film is looking at a 24-day total of slightly above $430m as it starts to lose theaters. But if that

But if that fourth-weekend drop is a little smaller than expected, it’ll be because 1,200 theaters will be getting a new Sing-Along version of the Emma Watson/Dan Stevens musical, just as Walt Disney did for Frozen and Moana.

Moana dropped just 8% on the weekend its sing-along version opened wide for a $2.4 million weekend. But, in that case, A) the film expanded by nearly 600 theaters and B) Moana was coming off a few Oscar nominations.

Back at the end of January 2014, Frozen fell just 2% on the weekend its “sing-along” version debut and bounced back from No. 4 to No. 2 in that weekend’s box office. It earned $8.9 million, outgrossing both new releases (That Awkward Moment and Labor Day) and giving it one final shot in the arm before The LEGO Movie blew into town. This time out, it’s one last ride before Fate of the Furious rolls into town.

So we’ll see how that plays out, as the Disney musical and DreamWorks Animation’s The Boss Baby fight it out for the (arbitrary) top spot. But either way, there isn’t that much more to offer until we get some solid weekend numbers as the $160 million-budgeted musical moves its way further up the all-time charts.

In terms of overseas muscle, the film earned another $6 million overseas to bring its foreign cume to $512.7m and its global cume to a whopping $920m thus far. As of this moment, it is the 22nd-biggest domestic grosser of all time (not accounting for inflation or 3D bumps) and the 41st-biggest global earner ever, just above Shrek 2 ($919m back in 2004 and in 2D).

There are no new overseas markets this weekend (South Africa is next weekend and Japan is the weekend after that), so it will need several more days to claw up to the $1 billion mark. Beyond that, it’s just a matter of seeing just how far it’ll go.

From Forbes

‘Beauty and the Beast’ Smashes Records With Towering $170 Million Debut

This is what makes Disney such a powerhouse.

“Beauty and the Beast,” the studio’s latest live-action update of a cartoon classic, waltzed its way to a towering $170 million debut this weekend, setting a new record for a March opening and solidifying the Mouse House’s status as the dominant player in the film business. No other company can match the streak that Disney is currently enjoying, thanks to a series of multi-billion acquisitions that put the likes of Pixar, Marvel, and Lucasfilm in its Magic Kingdom. Last year, the studio accounted for more than a quarter of all domestic ticket sales, and 2017 brings the release of sequels to “Guardians of the Galaxy,” “Cars,” and “Thor,” in addition to “Beauty and the Beast.”

“I don’t know if they made a deal with the devil, but Disney is an awfully potent empire right now,” said Jeff Bock, an analyst at Exhibitor Relations. “You continue to shake your head and roll your eyes, but they can do no wrong right now and that has all the other studios salivating.”

“Beauty and the Beast” represents another part of Disney’s branded strategy. It’s the latest fairy tale adaptation to hit screens. Others in the lucrative group include “Alice in Wonderland,” which picked up $1 billion worldwide; “Cinderella” with its $543.5 million global haul; and last year’s “The Jungle Book,” which racked up a mighty $966.6 million after finishing its run. Remakes of “Dumbo” and “Mulan” are already in the works, as Disney commits to putting a live-action spin on the bulk of its animated properties (Fans of “Treasure Planet” may be out of luck).

The latest fairy tale follows Belle, a bookish girl in France played by Harry Potter film veteran Emma Watson, who helps a tortured Beast (Dan Stevens of “Downton Abbey” fame) break out of his shell. In the process, she lifts a curse that’s left the Beast’s kingdom populated by talking household items. “Beauty and the Beast” didn’t muck about with the elements that made the 1991 film so beloved. Director Bill Condon kept the basic plot intact, while fleshing out a bit more of Belle’s backstory, and retaining a soundtrack that includes “Be Our Guest” and “Belle.” All those elaborate musical numbers and chatty cutlery don’t come cheap. “Beauty and the Beast” carries a hefty $160 million budget. It should make that money back manyfold after ticket sales are tallied and new lines of princess wear are whipped up to satisfy new generations of Belle lovers.

“Beauty and the Beast’s” appeal cut across the generations, while its feminist heroine, a brainy, headstrong villager who refuses to conform, resonated with younger women. Sixty percent of ticket buyers were female, while families accounted for half of the opening weekend audience. Children under 12 made up 22% of the crowd, while people between the ages of 26 and 34, the same demographic reared on the animated film, comprised 21% of the audience.

“The elements came together to make this into a can’t miss event,” said Dave Hollis, Disney’s distribution chief. “There was massive nostalgia for the original film. Parents loved the movie and they wanted to show this one to their kids and share that experience.”

Most major studios steered clear of “Beauty and the Beast.” The only other new release of note, “The Belko Experiment,” debuted to $4.1 million, which its backers say is success given its model. The film boasts a unique distribution strategy. “The Belko Experiment” opened in 1,341 locations, roughly a third of the theater count for a major studio offerings. The theaters are chosen because they are more popular with horror fans. Orion, an MGM label, backed the film and is distributing it with BH Tilt. That label is overseen by “The Purge” and “Insidious” producer Blumhouse. It’s trying to find more cost-efficient ways to bring smaller films to the masses. “The Belko Experiment” follows a group of American corporate types, who are locked in a high-rise office in Bogotá, Colombia. They are ordered by a voice on the intercom to kill one another in a gray flannel-version of Social Darwinism.

With “Beauty and the Beast” dominating ticket sales, last weekend’s champ, “Kong: Skull Island,” fell 53% to $28.8 million. That pushes the monster movie’s domestic haul to $110.1 million. Warner Bros. and Legendary Entertainment teamed up to produce the remake of King Kong.

Fox’s “Logan” took third place, pulling in $17.5 million and bringing the R-rated superhero tale’s stateside total to $184 million. Universal and Blumhouse’s “Get Out,” a thriller about a black man whose girlfriend’s white family holds a sinister secret, nabbed fourth position. It made $13.2 million, bringing its gross to $133.1 million. With a budget of $4.5 million, the film is one of the year’s most profitable. Lionsgate’s “The Shack” rounded out the top five generating $6.1 million and pushing the faith-based drama’s earnings to over $42.6 million.

In limited release, “T2 Trainspotting,” a sequel to the 1996 cult comedy about a group of heroin addicts, opened in five locations, earning $180,000. Ewan McGregor reprises his role as a drug-addict Scot. The actor also has a supporting turn playing Lumiere, a candlestick, in “Beauty and the Beast.” Sony is releasing “T2,” which is heavily geared towards European audiences. The drama has already made $34 million overseas.

From Variety

‘Maleficent’ is the Top Grossing Non-Super Hero Movie of the Year

Maleficent

Movie-going audiences don’t seem to be growing weary of super hero movies, since they keep turning out in droves to see movies like ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’ and ‘X-Men: Days of Future Past’.  One fierce contender though managed to distinguish herself from the spandex fest, Angelina Jolie as Disney’s classic evil fairy ‘Maleficent’.  The movie has now crossed the $600 million mark, making it the highest grossing, non-super hero movie of 2014 so far, besting hits like YA adaptations ‘Divergent’ and ‘The Fault Of Our Stars’ and even the well-received ‘Godzilla’ reboot.

‘Maleficent’ has hung in there and continued to draw viewers while other movies have come and gone.  Keep in mind, grosses are drawn from all territories, which could point to Angelina Jolie being one of the few movie stars that is guaranteed to draw viewers, world wide.  Internationally, a lot of films rely on bankable stars to drive ticket sales.  Is Jolie’s undeniable star power the only factor?  Perhaps not.  The story of ‘Maleficent’ builds upon Disney’s popular classic ‘Sleeping Beauty’.  Surely that helped sell the film to many, just as Disney’s ‘Once Upon A Time’ draws viewers to that hit show by drawing from Disney’s vault of popular hits.

The film’s writer, Linda Woolverton is certainly benefiting.  It seems highly likely that Disney will be building on ‘Maleficent’ with additional films and will probably turn to Woolverton to script them as well, just as she is currently working on a follow-up to 2010′s Tim Burton-directed ‘Alice In Wonderland’ entitled ‘Through The Looking Glass‘.