Wreck-It Ralph Destroys Competition, Makes $49.1M

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Wreck-It Ralph

Wreck-It Ralph

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.

Also abroad, Mada­gas­car 3 took in $7.9 mil­lion to reach #5, while Franken­wee­nie was 10th with $5.3 million.

The North Amer­i­can box office gross increased 21 per­cent over the same week­end last year.

Final domes­tic fig­ures are sched­uled for release Monday.


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About Paul Anderson

Paul is an old-timer here at BCDB- his contributions go back to before the site! Paul is widely regarded as a Disney historian, and is also on staff at the Disney Museum in San Francisco. Paul is also a contributing historian for D23, the Disney Club. Paul has published several books and magazine articles on Disney history, too. You are welcome to drop Paul a line here.

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