Tim Burton’s “Frankenweenie” was a bit of a dog at the box office, opening at a weak fifth place over the Columbus Day/Canadian Thanksgiving weekend.
The Disney release was screened in 3,005 North American theaters, but made just $11.5 million. It cost $39 million to produce.
Frankenweenie had a “slower start than we would have hoped,” acknowledged an unnamed Disney executive. However, audiences gave the black-and-white film about a boy who revives his dog a “B+” CinemaScore, which could lead to greater attendance figures.
But the movie won’t be seen in most foreign countries until the next six months.
Burton’s previous animated feature film, Corpse Bride, brought in $19.1 million in its first weekend of wide release in 2005. Like Frankenweenie, it employed stop-motion animation.
Disney believes that good reviews and positive audience response will give Frankenweenie legs even after Halloween.
“The movie itself is going to be its best selling tool,” said Dave Hollis, Disney’s head of distribution. “You have people coming out of the theaters, they’ve had a great experience, and they’re telling their friends.”
The box-office leader was 20th Century Fox’s live-action Taken 2, which took in $50 million in North America and another $55 million abroad this past weekend.
Way ahead of Frankenweenie, another tongue-in-cheek animated horror film — Sony Animation’s Hotel Transylvania – displayed great strength. It finished in second place domestically, just one rung below its opening weekend.
In its second weekend, the 3D film made between $26.3 million and $27.1 million at 3,352 venues, just 36% less than during the opening. Internationally, it made $13.1 million to place third overseas.
So far, Genndy Tartakovsky’s PG Hotel Transylvania has made $76.8 million domestically. The Sony movie has collected $29.3 million overseas for a worldwide total of $105.3 million.
In 10th place over its fourth weekend, Disney’s 3D re-release of Finding Nemo made $1.6 million on 1,746 screens for a cumulative domestic total of $39 million. It also made $600,000 overseas this past weekend.
Meanwhile, Rentrak estimated that Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted — with $23.3 million — was No. 2 on the list of weekend ticket sales overseas for films distributed by Hollywood studios. Ice Age: Continental Drift tied for eighth place with $5.7 million.
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at United States and Canadian theaters were released by Hollywood.com. Final domestic figures are scheduled for release Monday.