Disney Studio’s next animated feature film Big Hero 6 opened a little early in Russia… and bowled the Russians over. After opening to rave reviews at the Tokyo International Film Festival on October 23, 2014, Disney shuttled the film to Russia to take advantage of two weeks of school holidays in Russia in late October. Big Hero 6 brought in 5 million in the first two days, which is considered a very strong open in the Russia. The film opens to US audiences later this week, on November 7th.
As the long Thanksgiving holiday weekend winds to a close, Disney’s Frozen is freezing out the competition. Placing second for the extended weekend at the box office, both first place The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and Frozen beat the previous Thanksgiving box office record holder, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2. Within its own little world, Frozen blew away every previous record for an animated film opening from Disney. The animated musical grossed a gargantuan $26.9 million on Friday (this after earning $26.3 million on Wednesday and Thursday). The film will end at about $68 million over the weekend frame, which would give it about $97 million after its first five days in wide release.
Vancouver’s Vancity Theatre is bringing back its popular program of Academy Award-nominated short films in the categories of Best Animated Short and Best Live Action Short from Friday, February 8 to Thursday, February 21.
Here are the Oscar-nominated animated shorts to be shown in an 88-minute program:
Maggie Simpson in The Longest Daycare (David Silverman, U.S.A., 5 min.)
Maggie Simpson spends a day at the Ayn Rand Daycare Center, where she is diagnosed at an average intelligence level. Longing to be grouped with the gifted children, Maggie finds her destiny by rescuing a lonely cocoon from Baby Gerald, who is busy smooshing butterflies.
Adam and Dog (Minkyu Lee, U.S.A., 16 min.)
The story about the dog of Eden. What happened in those first days of Creation that made Man and Dog so inseparable? The dog, as he lives through this curious world, encounters a strange creature; a human being named Adam — and with that discovers a new-found connection to the world.
Fresh Guacamole (Adam Pesapane aka PES, U.S.A., 2 min.)
Learn how to transform familiar objects into Fresh Guacamole!
Head Over Heels (Timothy Reckart, United Kingdom, 10 min.)
After many years of marriage, Walter and Madge have grown apart: he lives on the floor and she lives on the ceiling. They live separate, parallel lives, never talking, barely even looking at each other. When Walter tries to reignite their old romance, it brings their equilibrium crashing down, and the couple that can’t agree which way is up must find a way to put their marriage back together.
Paperman (John Kahrs, U.S.A., 7 min.)
Paperman tells the story of a lonely young man in mid-century New York City, whose destiny takes an unexpected turn after a chance meeting with a beautiful woman on his morning commute. Convinced that the girl of his dreams is gone forever, he gets a second chance when he spots her in a skyscraper window across the avenue from his office. With only his heart, imagination and a stack of papers to get her attention, his efforts are no match for what the fates have in store for him.
And for your viewing pleasure… three shortlisted contenders that did not make the final cut:
Abiogenesis (Richard Mars, New Zealand, 5 min.)
In this breathtaking science fiction spectacle, a strange mechanical device lands on a desolate world and uses the planet to undergo a startling transformation that has profound implications for an entire galaxy.
Dripped (Leo Verier, France, 9 min.)
Jack is a strange character. He steals paintings from museums to eat them. He feeds himself with the artistic process of the painter. But one day, the museums are closed, and he will have to paint by himself to survive.
The Gruffalo’s Child (Uwe Heidschötter and Johannes Weiland, United Kingdom, 27 min.)
A little Gruffalo ignores her father’s warnings and tiptoes out into the snow in search of the Big Bad Mouse.
Screening dates and times:
Friday, February 8, 6:30 p.m.
Saturday, February 9, 8:45 p.m.
Sunday, February 10, 6:30 p.m.
Tuesday, February 12, 8:45 p.m.
Friday, February 15, 6:30 p.m.
Sunday, February 17, 6:30 p.m.
Wednesday, February 20, 8:45 p.m.
Thursday, February 21, 6:30 p.m.
Vancity Theatre is at 1181 Seymour Street. Call the Film Info Line at (604) 683-FILM (3456) or visit www.viff.org for the latest info and listings.
Six of the 20 highest-grossing North American films of 2012 were completely animated pictures, including Pixar’s Brave, which was seventh overall with $237,262,307.
Others in the top 20 were Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted (#10; $216,391,482), Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax (#11; $214,030,500), Wreck-it Ralph (#13; $175,990,019), Ice Age: Continental Drift (#14; $161,990,019) and Hotel Transylvania (#16; $145,321,690).
In total, the animated films in the Top 20 delivered grosses of $1,150,135,597.
Although Rise Of The Guardians made much less than predicted, its North American box office gross is expected to exceed the $100 million mark sometime next week.
Almost all other films in the Top 20 had considerable amounts of special effects CGI, including the year’s top performer, The Avengers ($623,357,910). Others using CGI were The Dark Knight Rises, The Hunger Games, Skyfall, Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2, The Amazing Spider-Man, The Hobbit: The Unexpected Journey, Ted, Men In Black 3, Snow White and the Huntsman and Prometheus.
Using little or no animation were the 17th, 18th and 19th finishers, Taken 2, 21 Jump Street and Lincoln.
20th Century Fox’s computer-animated “Ice Age: Continental Drift” was the studio’s top foreign box-office hit of 2012, garnering a ginormous $718.1 million.
That’s far above the second- and third-place finishers for Fox, the live-action Titanic 3D ($291.9 million) and Prometheus ($277.6 million).
The studio’s foreign box office jumped 21%, with a total $2.725 billion this year compared with $2.160 billion in 2011.
Disney’s motion-capture John Carter had a sad performance mirroring its North American results. It made just $208.2 million overseas, although Marvel’s live-action The Avengers helped make up for this by making a fantastic $892.4 million abroad.
Disney made $2.080 billion at the foreign box office, down 6% from 2011.
Distributor Paramount’s top-earning film overseas this year was DreamWorks’ Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted. The threequel brought in $525.5 million.
Paramount’s overseas grosses dropped 51% over last year, making $1.562 billion this time around. Last year, it made $3.198 billion, a foreign record for the company.
“Rise of the Guardians” went past the $100 million benchmark at the foreign box office over the weekend.
A distant second at the movies, the DreamWorks Animation movie made $20.1 million in its fifth overseas weekend overseas from 7,400 venues in 59 countries. The total foreign gross now stands at $119.4 million.
Distributed by Paramount, Rise of the Guardians opened in second place in Australia, collecting $3.7 million from 259 locations.
Budgeted at $145 million, the animated fantasy features the voices of Alec Baldwin and Hugh Jackman. This week, it’s opening in India.
As in North America, the live-action The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey topped the foreign box office. It made $138.2 million at 18,200 screens in 56 countries.
Meanwhile, the Disney 3D family animated film Wreck-It Ralph brought in $4.7 million in its seventh week in 29 countries. It’s made $57.7 million in foreign countries so far. Strong North American results mean a worldwide total of $226.5 million.
Sony Animation’s horror comedy Hotel Transylvania, grossed $1.9 million at 1,755 screens in 50 overseas countries. Its total foreign gross has reached $162 million.
Though it had tepid results in North America, DreamWorks Animation’s Rise of the Guardians collected $40 million in 56 foreign countries over the weekend.
Distributed by Paramount, Rise of the Guardians was in second place abroad, surpassed only by the live-action Twilight: Breaking Yawn, Part 2, which gathered $48.4 million from 74 countries.
Apparently, the DWA movie will be No. 1 in 20 countries. France was the leader, with $4.7 million, followed by Mexico, where it garnered $3.7 million.
After two weeks, the foreign total for Guardians is $57 million. Worldwide, it’s grossed almost $106 million so far.
In North America, the movie tied with Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln for third place at the box office. Each film made $13.5 million.
Disney’s Wreck-It Ralph was tied for sixth place domestically with Killing Them Softly, directed by and starring Brad Pitt. Each brought in $7 million.
Such childhood heroes as the Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus save the world in Rise of the Guardians, but they didn’t stop the movie from opening in fourth place over the five-day Thanksgiving weekend.
Featuring the voices of Chris Pine and Alec Baldwin, the DreamWorks Animation movie made $32.6 million since opening Wednesday, including $24 million over the weekend itself.
That’s a far cry from the $64 million made by teen vampire sequel The Twilight Saga: Breaking Yawn – Part 2 in its second weekend.
Rise of the Guardians was produced by DWA for about $145 million. Distributor Paramount Pictures had expected it to gross $35 million in its first five days, according to Box Office Mojo.
Based on children’s author William Joyce’s book series The Guardians of Childhood, the film is the last being distributed by Paramount will release for DWA. Next year, DreamWorks Animation movies will be distributed by Fox.
Observing “the great parent reactions we’ve seen” to the film, Anne Globe, Dreamworks’ chief marketing officer, said it was one of the few choices for families through the end of the year. The studio is “hoping for very long legs through the holidays,” she added.
In sixth place was Disney’s Wreck-It Ralph, which brought in $23 million. It was in fourth place the previous weekend. So far, Wreck-It Ralph has made $149.5 million domestically.
The North American box office for the Thanksgiving weekend (Wednesday to Sunday) reached $290 million, beating the previous holiday weekend record of $273 million set in 2009, when The Twilight Saga: New Moon was the leader.
Weekend ticket sales in the United States and Canada were compiled by the box office division of Hollywood.com.
“Wreck-It Ralph” topped the box office at $49.1 million to achieve the highest-grossing opening weekend in Walt Disney Animation history.
Following superstorm Sandy, there actually was an increase in theater attendance in areas affected.
In a distant second place was Denzel Washington’s live-action Flight, which sold $25 million in tickets at United States and Canadian theaters, according to studio estimates Sunday.
Wreck-It Ralph had been predicted to earn grosses in the mid-$40 million range this weekend, said Paul Dergarabedian, president of the box office division of Hollywood.com.
Last weekend, the box office was lukewarm as the U.S. East Coast prepared for Sandy.
Weekend ticket sales at international theaters for films distributed abroad by Hollywood studios put Wreck-It Ralph in fourth place at $12 million.
Movie attendance in areas affected by the storm was “very healthy,” according to Dave Hollis, executive vice-president of film distribution at Walt Disney Studios. School closures Friday boosted matinee screenings, he added.
“In a nice way, Wreck-It Ralph, in areas affected by the storm, ended up actually becoming an opportunity to relieve yourself from the reality that might be going on around you. We saw the theater business around areas affected by the storm very healthy,” Hollis said.
“The storm and its impact — I don’t know if it was a function of cabin fever or just escaping by getting into a movie theater, but there was definitely a gravitating-towards-the-theater phenomenon.
“Wreck-It Ralph became something of a distraction and an opportunity for families to do something separate of the storm. Schools being shut down on Friday also played a role as parents were looking for things to entertain the kids and keep them out of the cold,” Hollis added.
Over a decade in development, Wreck-It Ralph cost an estimated $165 million to produce. It was made by the team behind Disney’s animated movie Tangled, which set the previous highest opening weekend gross with $48.8 million in 2010.
“The Disney movie would benefit from school being out in a large number of big urban and suburban eastern markets, they were always going to have a very good opening, I think they got a little help on Friday,” acknowledged Don Harris, president of distribution at rival studio Paramount Pictures.
Hotel Transylvania was in seventh place at the North American box office with $4.5 million and third overseas with another $13.7 million.
The North American box office gross increased 21 percent over the same weekend last year.
Final domestic figures are scheduled for release Monday.