‘Zootopia’ Opens Strong at Friday Box Office

     March 5, 2016


Disney’s Zootopia opened with an estimated $19.4 million from 3,827 yesterday, including $1.7 million from Thursday p.m. previews. That number is significant because it suggests that the PG-rated animated pic will claim a couple of box office records this weekend: highest March animated opening and biggest opening ever for an animated Disney film (aside from Pixar features, of course). The well-reviewed Zootopia should also become one of the top five March releases of all time, though still far below the $152.5 million that The Hunger Games boasts as the all-time March champion.

The current record for the biggest animated March debut belongs to Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax, which earned $70.2 million on this same frame in 2012. On its first Friday, The Lorax earned $17.5 million, which suggests that Zootopia is in line for about $73 million through Sunday. That number is a bit more than box office analysts were expecting and far exceeds Disney’s low-ball projection of $60 million. Zootopia’s Friday estimate also exceeds the opening days of 2014’s The LEGO Movie ($17 million) and Big Hero 6 ($15.8 million).

Zootopia is also sure to set a new opening record for a Disney animated release. When Pixar titles are taken out of the equation, the studio’s highest animated debut is Frozen with $67.3 million. It should be noted, however, that Frozen opened on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving rather than a Friday in March. While $73 million would be a great start for Zootopia, no one is suggesting the film is on its way to the box office heights of Frozen.

london-has-fallen-poster-butlerLondon Has Fallen opened in second place on Friday with an estimated $7.59 million. The film is the sequel to the surprise hit Olympus Has Fallen, which opened with $30.3 million in March 2013. London Has Fallen was not expected to hit the same level as its predecessor, so its current weekend of projection of $21 million seems about right.

After 21 consecutive days on top of the box office, Deadpool fell to third on Friday. The R-rated superhero pic also fell a bit short of crossing the $300 million mark yesterday, though it should reach $312 million through Sunday. That will make Deadpool only the third R-rated release ever to earn over $300 million domestically, after The Passion of the Christ ($370.7 million) and American Sniper ($350.1 million).

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot opened in fourth place with an estimated $2.4 million from 2,374 locations. Paramount was hoping their political comedy, starring Tina Fey, would reach at least $10 million this weekend, but it looks like $7 million will be its limit. That’s a bit more than the $6.1 million that Admission (starring Fey and Paul Rudd) earned on its debut frame in March 2013. But because Admission topped out with just $18 million and Whiskey Tango Foxtrot reportedly cost $35 million, that’s far from an encouraging comparison. We’ll have full details on the weekend box office tomorrow.

Here’s Friday’s top five films:

 Title Friday Total
1.  Zootopia $19,469,000 $19.4
2.  London Has Fallen $7,591,000 $7.59
3.  Deadpool $4,700,000 $299.4
4.  Whiskey Tango Foxtrot $2,434,000 $2.4
5.  Gods of Egypt $1,340,000 $19.1


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