‘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

Advertisements

Disney Announces Memorable New Story Elements that Add to the Fun at the Pixar Play Parade During Pixar Fest Celebration

Pixar Play Parade returns April 13 to the Disneyland Resort – this time, at Disneyland! Part of the limited-time Pixar Fest celebration, this delightful parade will bring even more of your favorite Pixar stories to life with the addition of three new story elements.

The parade will begin as all Pixar films have, with an appearance by the iconic and adorable Pixar Lamp. Rolling ahead of the famous lamp will be the familiar yellow Pixar Ball, making a cameo in Pixar Play Parade, as it has in many Pixar films.

Also joining the parade are characters from the beloved film, “Up.” Wilderness Explorer Russell will appear astride the colorful flightless bird, Kevin, with Carl Fredricksen and Dug following behind amid green foliage and snipe chicks, with Carl’s tethered house floating above.

Another popular Pixar story coming to Pixar Play Parade is “Inside Out.” Perched atop colorful memory orbs, Joy and Sadness take flight aboard Bing Bong’s rocket wagon, with Bing Bong himself cheering them on!

Don’t miss these new story elements and the return of Pixar Play Parade, beginning April 13 at Disneyland park.

From the Disney Parks Blog

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

‘Thor: Ragnarok’ Pushes Disney to $5 Billion Worldwide in 2017 Box Office

“Thor: Ragnarok” has pushed Disney past the $5 billion mark at the 2017 worldwide box office for the third year in a row.

Disney said Thursday that it’s become the first and only studio to have reached this threshold for three consecutive years. The current totals are $1.76 billion domestically and $3.24 billion internationally.

Disney-Marvel’s “Thor: Ragnarok” is expected to surpass $800 million globally on Thursday. Of the 17 films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it is the seventh to reach this milestone and the third to do so this year.

Disney also noted that it’s responsible for four of the top nine highest-grossing films of the year, including “Beauty and the Beast” with $1.26 billion ($504 million domestic and $759.7 million international); Marvel Studios’ “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” with $863.6 million worldwide; and “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” with $794.8 million worldwide.

Other major titles include Pixar’s “Cars 3” ($383.5 million global) and “Coco” ($178.9 million global) as well as two 2016 titles — Lucasfilm’s “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” with $309.3 million during 2017 and Walt Disney Animation Studios’ “Moana” with $252 million during 2017.

Disney’s final release of 2017 is “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” which is opening day-and-date in most of the world on Dec. 15. Early tracking has estimated that the ninth “Star Wars” movie will open at around $200 million domestically in its first weekend.

From Variety

 

‘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

Pixar Pier Bringing New Incredicoaster and More to Disney California Adventure

Summer 2018 will bring a transformed land for guests to experience at Disney California Adventure when Pixar Pier opens along the southern shore of Paradise Bay, with newly themed attractions, foods and merchandise throughout. This new, permanent land in the area that is now Paradise Pier will introduce four new neighborhoods representing beloved Disney·Pixar stories.

The first of the four themed neighborhoods guests will find is inspired by “The Incredibles.” Here, the new Incredicoaster, permanently transformed from the attraction that is now California Screamin’, will open with Pixar Pier in summer 2018. This new experience will feature a mid-century-modern-style loading area, new character moments and a new look for the ride vehicles. To prepare for this transformation, California Screamin’ will close Jan. 8.

The popular Toy Story Mania! will anchor the “Toy Story”-inspired neighborhood. A neighborhood inspired by “Inside Out” will be found on the western side of the boardwalk and will welcome a new family-friendly attraction, scheduled to open at a later date.

The fourth neighborhood will be a celebration of many of your favorite Pixar stories. In this neighborhood, Mickey’s Fun Wheel will have a new look, with each of the 24 gondolas featuring different Pixar characters and the iconic face of Mickey Mouse remaining on the Paradise Bay side of the wheel. At the Games of the Boardwalk, which already includes the Bullseye Stallion Stampede game, all of the midway games will be inspired by Pixar characters. Mickey’s Fun Wheel, Games of the Boardwalk and Sideshow Shirts will close Jan. 8 to begin this transformation.

Ariel’s Grotto restaurant and the Cove Bar will be transformed into a new lounge and grill offering sparkling views of Paradise Bay and the new Pixar Pier. Both locations will close Jan. 8, with Cove Bar reopening briefly in April before closing again for its permanent transformation. Guests wishing to reserve “World of Color” dining packages after Jan. 7 may consider Carthay Circle Restaurant or Wine Country Trattoria.

The remaining areas of the land that is now Paradise Pier, including Paradise Gardens, Silly Symphony Swings, Jumpin’ Jellyfish, Goofy’s Sky School, Golden Zephyr and The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure, will become a new land called Paradise Park.

Pixar Pier will open during the limited-time Pixar Fest celebration, which begins April 13. The celebration will include the new “Together Forever – A Pixar Nighttime Spectacular” fireworks as well as the return of Pixar Play Parade and “Paint the Night” parade, and much more throughout the entire Disneyland Resort.

You can read more about what’s coming to Pixar Pier in the November issue of Disney twenty-three magazine, from our friends at D23: The Official Disney Fan Club.

From the Disney Parks Blog

 

New Disney Stores Bring Theme Parks to Shoppers

Disney unveiled Tuesday a prototype for its re-imagined retail store — as well as the shopDisney e-commerce site, which was previously DisneyStore.com.

The online store will sell more products featuring popular classic Disney characters and those in the hit movies from Disney-owned Pixar, Marvel and Star Wars.

The revamped stores, versions of which are currently open in Century City and Northridge in California, Nagoya, Japan and Shanghai, will also show a live broadcast of the famous parades that take place at Disney parks and a digital fireworks display each night before they close.

Disney is also partnering with brands like Coach, cookware company Le Creuset, apparel companies rag & bone, Spyder and others to sell more products geared at older parents (like me) — and not just their kids.

Some of the new things you’ll find online beyond toys and stuffed animals? A Darth Vader toaster, a Captain America popcorn maker and Mickey Mouse skinny jeans.

“Disney stores around the world will also be incorporating more product for guests of all ages, beyond their traditionally child-centric assortment,” the company said in its release.

The media giant continues to mint money from its movie division, theme parks and consumer products.

So the revamped stores, which seek to capitalize even more on the success of its Disney princesses, Marvel superheroes and Star Wars characters, makes a lot of strategic sense.

From CNN Money

“Cars 3” Tour Plans Schedules a Pit Stop at Disney Springs

The third installment of the popular “Cars” film franchise is set to arrive in theatres on June 16th in 3D, but fans can get an early glimpse of the story, which stars longtime favorite Lightning McQueen alongside new characters Cruz Ramirez and Jackson Storm, when the “Road to the Races” nationwide tour kicks off March 23-26, 2017 at Disney Springs Marketplace.

Expect fun activities for the whole family, plus an extended “sneak peek” of the film when the tour rolls into town. While I’m personally most excited for photo opportunities with the three life-size character cars, there are plenty of other ways to enjoy the event.

Alamo Rent A Car will sponsor a giant color mural; Coppertone will encourage guests to take part in a racer pit crew tire-changing activity and a fun photo opportunity; Crest and Oral-B will pass out prizes from the Piston Cup prize wheel (I hope I win a new toothbrush!) and will offer fans the chance to create a digital postcard with Lightning McQueen; at the Dole Refueling Station, you can sample high-octane smoothies; Mattel plans to present an interactive play area; and last, but not least, NASCAR will be on hand to share the history and science behind their iconic brand.

During your visit, keep an eye out for “Cars” merchandise and special menu items at select food and beverage locations, plus a DJ dance party with tracks that will make you want to rev up your engine.

Ready to race over to take part in the event? The tour, located at Disney Springs in the former Marketplace Bus Loop near Once Upon A Toy, opens to the public on Thursday, March 23 at 12:00 p.m. and will run until 7:00 p.m. that evening. On Friday, March 24, and Saturday, March 25, join the fun from 11 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. And on the final day, Sunday, March 26, guests can enjoy the experience from 11:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.