‘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

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Why Olaf’s Frozen Adventure is Really Being Removed from Coco Screenings

Olaf’s Frozen Adventure, one of Disney’s less lauded short films, will soon be leaving theaters after screening in front of Pixar’s Coco, the animated film inspired by Mexico’s Day of the Dead. Yet while some have suggested it’s a direct response to poor audience reactions, EW has learned that isn’t the case.

Olaf’s Frozen Adventure was always promoted and scheduled as a limited run, EW has confirmed, with its theatrical play slated to conclude next week, as has recently been reported.

Mashable was the first to report that Olaf’s Frozen Adventure would end its theatrical run Dec. 8. The outlet reported that Disney had “directed theaters … to remove the deeply unpopular 22-minute Frozen short” from future screenings.

In addition, a user on Reddit, identifying as a movie theater worker, claimed to have received a note from Disney regarding the decision. “Please note that the run of Olaf’s Frozen Adventure playing before Coco will end after 12/7,” the alleged note stated. “Starting on Friday 12/8 no more Olaf shorts should be up on screen. With the extra 22 minutes of running time back, we would appreciate if you could get in an extra show if possible.”

In light of the information provided to EW, the alleged note appears to be more of a reminder and less of a notification of removal. “This was always promoted as a limited run so it’s not really a story — the end of our Olaf theatrical play is coming next week,” a Disneyrepresentative told EW. “All our ads and messaging called it as such.”

Featuring the return of Olaf (voiced by Josh Gad), the short — which is the first from Walt Disney Animation to be screened in front of a Pixar film — sees the snowman from Frozenon a search for holiday traditions for Anna (Kristen Bell) and Elsa (Idina Menzel). While most Pixar shorts run around 10 minutes, this Disney Animation work runs for more than 20 minutes.

Mashable called the pairing of Olaf’s Frozen Adventure with Coco, which received glowing reviews and recently won Best Animated Film from the New York Film Critics Circle, “culturally tone-deaf.” Other critics have echoed the sentiment.

“We are creatures of habit, and Olaf’s Frozen Adventure eventually feels like the grinning house guest who won’t leave, even though the party was supposed to clear out long ago,” reported The Washington Post. “As each successive song in the four-tune reel cues up, moviegoers’ reactions can be heard to switch from laughing irritation to growing mockery to outright anger.”

From MSN/Entertainment Weekly

Disney to Direct Theaters to Remove Frozen Featurette Next Week

Olaf’s Frozen Adventure has been put on ice.

Disney has directed theaters running Coco, Pixar’s latest, to remove the deeply unpopular 22-minute Frozen short that plays in front of each screening. The removal goes into effect on Dec. 8, sources familiar with the matter confirmed to Mashable.

The request from Disney also asks that theaters use the newly freed-up time to hold extra screenings of Coco each day.

Pixar movies generally open with a completely unrelated short film, usually running no more than 10 minutes. Olaf changed the game somewhat, between its length and its reliance on a Disney Animation Studios hit (Pixar’s shorts are generally homegrown).

The Frozen short has been especially problematic for a number of reasons. Length is the biggest issue, of course, since the actual movie doesn’t start until 40 minutes after the advertised time, between trailers, ads, and Olaf. That’s a lot of extra sitting around for an audience comprised primarily of kids expecting a story about music and family, set against the backdrop of Mexico’s Dia de los Muertos.

Some have also accused Disney of shameless self-promotion, for swapping in what is seen as an ad for Frozen 2 — which is out in Nov. 2019 — where there would usually be a Pixar creation. As Mashable’s Brittany Levine wrote last week, Olaf’s Frozen Adventure “felt like Disney was spitting in my popcorn for 21 minutes.”

From Mashable

‘Coco’ Gobbles Up ‘Justice League’ With $71.2M Thanksgiving Box Office

Pixar’s Coco is the latest title from the Disney animated empire to win the annual box-office turkey trot, posting a hearty five-day debut of $71.2 million from 3,987 theaters to score the fourth-best Thanksgiving opening of all time behind Toy Story 2, Frozen and Moana. That includes $49 million for the three-day weekend.

The movie, about the popular Mexican holiday Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead), was buoyed by a coveted A+ CinemaScore and a strong turnout among Hispanic moviegoers, who made up 36 percent of all ticket-buyers, according to comScore’s PostTrak. Caucasians made up 43 percent of the audience.

Overseas — where Coco has already become the top-grossing film of all time in Mexico ($53.4 million to date) — the animated event film took in another $30.7 million from 22 markets for an early foreign tally of $82.2 million and $153.4 million globally. That includes a China launch of $18.2 million, where Coco soared an unprecedented 25 percent from Friday to Saturday.

In October 2014, Reel FX Studios’ The Book of Life, likewise an animated film about Day of the Dead, opened to a muted $17 million.

“Pixar not only focused on telling a good story, they focused on making the film as culturally relevant as possible. I think that’s one of the things that makes the film feel authentic for all audiences, and particularly Hispanic audiences, although this is a story that resonates with everyone,” says Disney distribution chief Dave Hollis. “And the Pixar pedigree does so much for any movie. In a world where there are so many distractions, quality cuts through.”

Between them, Disney Animation Studios and Pixar claim the top six five-day Thanksgiving openings of all time, not accounting for inflation. Frozen (2013) is the record holder with $93.6 million; last year’s Moana sang its way to $82.1 million; Tangled took in $68.7 million in 2010; and The Good Dinosaur gobbled up $55.5 million in 2015. When adjusting for inflation, Toy Story 2 (1999) supplants Frozen with nearly $141 million (unadjusted, Toy Story‘s five-day debut was $80.1 million). Disney also claims the No. 7 spot with Enchanted ($49.1 million).

Directed by Lee Unkrich and co-directed by Adrian Molina, Coco tells the story of 12-year-old Miguel (voiced by Anthony Gonzalez), who sets out to become an accomplished musician like his idol, Ernesto de la Cruz (Benjamin Bratt). The trouble is, his family has banned music for generations. Miguel suddenly finds himself in the magical Land of the Dead, where he teams up with the trickster Hector (Gael Garcia Bernal) in hopes of unlocking the secret behind his family history.

Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment’s Justice League placed No. 2 in its sophomore outing, grossing $59.7 million from 4,051 theaters for the five-day holiday frame (Wednesday-Sunday) and $40.7 million for the three-day weekend, a 57 percent decline. The superhero mashup, whose domestic total through Sunday is $171.5 million, continues to trail well behind Thor: Rangarok.

Justice League is faring better overseas, where it won the weekend with $72.2 million from 66 markets to pass the $300 million mark and land at $481.3 million globally to date. Disney and Marvel’s Thor, meanwhile, raced past the $500 million threshold internationally for a global total of $790.1 million

Despite competition from Coco, director Stephen Chbosky’s Wonder continued to wow families. The  pic earned a strong $32 million from 3,172 theaters for the five days and $22.3 million for the three — a narrow 19 percent decline — bringing its 10-day domestic total to $69.4 million.

The $20 million film adaptation of R.J. Palacio’s acclaimed children’s novel tells the story of a young boy with a facial deformity who attends a mainstream school for the first time (the book spawned the “Choose Kind” movement). Lionsgate, Participant Media, Walden Media and Mandeville Films partnered on Wonder, which stars Julia Roberts, Jacob Tremblay and Owen Wilson.

Among the flurry of films vying for adult attention and awards love, Denzel Washington-starrer Roman J. Israel, Esq. got off to a slow start as it expanded nationwide on Wednesday. The legal thriller came in No. 9 with $6.2 million from 1,648 theaters for the five-day holiday frame, including $4.5 million for the weekend.

Dan Gilroy (Nightcrawler) directed Roman J. Israel, Esq., which centers on a lawyer whose idealism is put to the test when he joins a large Los Angeles law firm. Sony, which rejiggered the movie after it premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival to tepid reviews, is counting on Roman Israel to argue its case throughout the year-end holidays and awards season.

Sony Pictures Classics’ Call Me by Your Name made headlines at the specialty box office after debuting Friday in four theaters in New York and L.A. Directed by Luca Guadagnino, the critically acclaimed film earned $404,874 for a screen average of $101,219 — the best since La La Land in December 2016. Call Me by Your Name stars Armie Hammer as a young academic who embarks on a love affair with his professor’s 17-year-old son (Timothee Chalamet).

Focus Features’ Winston Churchill pic Darkest Hour, directed by Joe Wright and starring Gary Oldman, debuted Wednesday in four theaters in N.Y. and L.A. The film grossed $248,000 for a five-day screen average of $61,944.

Bleecker Street’s The Man Who Invented Christmas, starring Dan Stevens and Christopher Plummer, also opened Wednesday in 626 cinemas and grossed $1.8 million.

From the Hollywood Reporter

Pixar’s ‘Coco’ Strums $2.3 Million on Tuesday Night

Disney-Pixar’s “Coco” has opened with a solid $2.3 million on Tuesday night.

The animated pic is on par with Disney’s “Moana,” which earned $2.6 million from previews during the same frame last year. It went on to gross $82 million over five days.

The family film has been on track to take in $55 million to $60 million at 3,948 venues during the Thanksgiving holiday period from Wednesday to Sunday. Estimates indicate that the costly “Justice League,” which has pulled in a disappointing $111.9 million in its first five days, will come in No. 1 again with about $60 million to $65 million.

“Coco” opens in nearly 2,800 3D locations, 106 premium large format screens, and 268 theaters offering the film in Spanish. Unlike “Justice League,” critics have embraced “Coco” (its Rotten Tomatoes score is currently 95%).

“Coco” is already a smash in Mexico with $48.8 million — the biggest opening of all time in that market — following its Oct. 20 premiere at the Morelia Film Festival. The central character, voiced by Anthony Gonzalez, is Miguel, a 12-year-old who dreams of becoming a musician. He meets Hector (Gael García Bernal) and sets off to explore his family history in the Land of the Dead.

Lee Unkrich (“Toy Story 3”) directed and Adrian Molina (story artist on “Monsters University”) co-directed the film. Other members of the voice cast include Ana Ofelia Murguía, Jaime Camil, Sofía Espinosa, Luis Valdez, Lombardo Boyar, Benjamin Bratt, Renée Victor, Edward James Olmos, Alanna Ubach, Selene Luna, Alfonso Arau, Herbert Siguenza, Octavio Solis, Gabriel Iglesias, Cheech Marin, and Blanca Araceli.

Disney-Pixar does not provide estimates of the production costs but industry sources say that the price tag is usually in the $175 million to $200 million range.

The Thanksgiving holiday period is prime time for moviegoing, particularly for opening Disney family titles. Disney’s “Frozen” set the record in 2013 with $93 million during the five days, followed by last year’s “Moana” with $82 million, “Toy Story 2” with $80 million, and “Tangled” with $68 million.

Lionsgate’s family drama “Wonder” will also be a factor. The Jacob Tremblay vehicle opened far above expectations with $27 million on its debut weekend and took in $5.7 million on Tuesday, up 44% from Monday, for a five-day total of  $37.2 million.

From Variety

Disney•Pixar’s ‘Coco’ Family Celebration Kicks Off This Weekend at Disney Springs

Disney Springs will be celebrating the upcoming release of Disney•Pixar’s “Coco” with a Coco Family Celebration.

In the film, aspiring musician Miguel teams up with charming trickster Héctor on an extraordinary journey through the Land of the Dead. At Disney Springs, guests will get a taste of the bright and vibrant world of “Coco” through a medley of themed music, food, and décor daily from 6 PM to 10 PM

With a flurry of colorful papel picados planned and décor depicting scenes from the movie, Exposition Park will be a lively cornucopia of family-friendly fun. On weekends (Friday, Saturday and Sunday), there will also be face-painting and activities for kids. Hungry for more? Springs’ Street Tacos Food Truck will serve up vanilla flan for a limited time, alongside their signature taco offerings.

Disney•Pixar’s “Coco” Family Celebration will take place daily from October 27 through to November 26, and Disney•Pixar’s “Coco” opens in theaters on November 22.

Walt Disney Animation Studios and Pixar Animation Studios Announce Panels for D23 Expo

The creative minds behind your favorite animated films are back at D23 Expo for a weekend full of amazing announcements, presentations, displays, and giveaways.

You can find Pixar Animation Studios and Walt Disney Animation Studios on the show floor all weekend long in one amazingly animated booth, featuring artist demonstrations, autograph signings with top filmmakers, fan giveaways, and unbelievable interactive displays celebrating the latest films, including Cars 3, Coco, Olaf’s Frozen Adventure, and Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2.

And of course, both studios will take the stage throughout the weekend in several can’t-miss panels:

John Lasseter at Expo

Friday, July 14

Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios: The Upcoming Films, Hosted by John Lasseter (2:30 p.m., Hall D23) –– Join host John Lasseter, chief creative officer of Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios, as he presents Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios: The Upcoming Films. Watch never-before-seen footage from Pixar’s upcoming feature Coco and Walt Disney Animation’s Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2, and be prepared for surprise announcements, musical performances, and appearances by star voice talent. Cell phones, cameras, and all recording devices will be checked for this presentation.

Disney Princesses at Expo

Saturday, July 15

The Power of the Princess (10:30 a.m., Stage 28) –– Join hosts Walt Disney Animation Studios animators Amy Smeed and Kira Lehtomaki as the voice actresses behind some of your favorite Disney heroines––Jodi Benson (Ariel), Ming-Na Wen (Mulan), Anika Noni Rose (Tiana), and Auli‘i Cravalho (Moana)––take the stage to share stories from the sound booth and beyond.

Creating the Worlds in Pixar’s Universe (12:15 p.m., Stage 28) –– Pixar production designers and artists will literally take guests behind the scenes on a visual tour of the amazing worlds created in Pixar films––from oceans and outer space, to mountain tops and “monstropolises.”

Olaf’s Frozen Adventure: A Sneak Peek at the New Frozen Short Film (2:30 p.m., Stage 28) –– Be among the first to see exclusive and behind-the-scenes footage from Walt Disney Animation Studios’ newest Frozen holiday short film event, the highly anticipated Olaf’s Frozen Adventure. The film, which features the talents of the original Frozen cast, as well as brand-new songs, is directed by the Emmy®-winning team Stevie Wermers-Skelton and Kevin Deters (Prep & Landing) and produced by Oscar®-winning producer Roy Conli (Big Hero 6, Tangled).

The Evolution of Pixar’s Characters (6 p.m., Stage 28) –– Pixar characters are full of personality––from the waves in their hair to the shoes on their feet. Join some of the legendary Pixar artists behind its most memorable characters as they share what it’s like to draw these loveable characters to life.

Bambi

Sunday, July 16

Bambi’s 75th Anniversary (11:30 a.m., Walt Disney Archives Stage) –– Celebrate the 75th anniversary and Walt Disney Signature Collection release of Bambi with personal stories from the voice cast, anecdotes behind the making of this film and its exquisite hand-drawn artwork, and much, much more.

Pixar’s Reveals Cast, Plot Details for Coco

The world of Pixar is expanding in a big, dead, musical way in November 2017.

Coco is Pixar’s next original movie, and it’s the sole novel film for the studio over the next few years as production ramps up for Cars 3 (due in June 2017) and, later, The Incredibles 2 and Toy Story 4.

Since Coco’s announcement in 2012, little has been known about the film other than its central themes — it takes place in Mexico on the annual holiday Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead — and its filmmakers: Toy Story 3 director Lee Unkrich and producer Darla K. Anderson, and co-director Adrian Molina). But here’s the Coco content you’ve been waiting for: EW took a recent trip to Pixar and can now reveal a few additional details about the music-packed-but-not-quite-“musical” film.

First, the voice cast: Benjamin Bratt and Gael García Bernal will lead Coco alongside newcomer Anthony Gonzalez, who will voice the film’s main character, a 12-year-old Mexican boy named Miguel. Gonzalez was hired after serving as Miguel’s scratch voice during early development, proving himself indispensable to both the filmmakers and the character. Character actress Renée Victor also joins the cast as Abuelita, Miguel’s grandmother.

However, to understand whom Bratt and Bernal are voicing, it helps to get a little context. What’s Coco even about?

Coco follows the secret musical ambitions of Miguel, who resides in a lively, loud Mexican village but comes from a family of shoemakers that may be the town’s only music-hating household. For generations, the Riveras have banned music because they believe they’ve been cursed by it; as their family history goes, Miguel’s great-great-grandfather abandoned his wife decades earlier to follow his own dreams of performing, leaving Imelda (Miguel’s great-great-grandmother) to take control as the matriarch of the now-thriving Rivera line and declare music dead to the family forever.

But Miguel harbors a secret desire to seize his musical moment, inspired by his favorite singer of all time, the late Ernesto de la Cruz (Bratt). It’s only after Miguel discovers an amazing link between himself and De la Cruz that he takes action to emulate the famous singer and, in doing so, accidentally enters the Land of the Dead.

In the beautiful underworld, it’s not long until Miguel encounters the souls of his own family — generations’ worth of long-dead but no less vivacious Rivera ancestors, including great-great-grandmother Imelda. Still, given the opportunity to roam around the Land of the Dead, Miguel decides to track down De la Cruz himself. He teams up with another friendly (and skeletal) spirit — a trickster named Hector, voiced by Bernal — to find De la Cruz, earn his family’s blessing to perform, and return to the Land of the Living before time runs out.

Phew.

“It was important to us from day one that we had an all-Latino cast,” says Unkrich, who with producer Anderson shepherded Toy Story 3 to become the world’s second highest-grossing animated film. “It focused us, and we ended up with a fantastic mix of people — some from Mexico and some from Los Angeles.”

Bratt was cast relatively early on — Unkrich says he was the first, in fact — but Bernal took some more internal legwork. “Gael was someone we were considering early on, but I didn’t know if I’d be able to sell him [to Pixar chief John Lasseter] because he’s done so many films I’ve loved through the years, but he hadn’t really done comedy,” Unkrich tells EW. “Thankfully, our casting director said, ‘Have you seen this new show that Gael’s in?’ And it was Mozart in the Jungle, and I started watching and thought, ‘Oh my God, he’s so funny, he’s so charming, and he’s perfect.’ So, thank God for Mozart. It didn’t take any convincing on John’s part.”

Meanwhile, Gonzalez is a newcomer triple-threat who does all his own singing in the movie and came to the filmmakers’ attention during a nationwide search for Miguel — and not just as the character’s final voice, but his scratch (or temporary) one. “We actually had another kid doing scratch for Miguel who’s now 17 or 18, which should tell you how long we’ve been working on the movie, but his voice changed long ago, and it was actually in trying to find a new voice for the scratch that we found Anthony,” says Unkrich.

From Entertainment Weekly

Disney•Pixar Announces Release Dates Through 2019

Disney_Pixar

Disney•Pixar fans, rejoice! We’ve finally gotten release dates for the upcoming films, including a few hotly anticipated sequels—Cars 3, Toy Story 4, and Incredibles 2—and Coco, a new story about a spirited 12-year-old boy named Miguel, who somehow finds himself in the fantastical realm of dead.

Disney-Pixar-slate-through-2019

Let the countdown begin.