By Daniel Garris
Disney's Zootopia was off to a terrific start this weekend a $75.06 million debut. The critically acclaimed 3D computer animated film from Walt Disney Animation Studios registered the fourth largest opening weekend ever in the month of March (behind only 2012's The Hunger Games, 2010's Alice in Wonderland and 2013's Oz: The Great and Powerful). Zootopia represents another very strong performer for Walt Disney Animation Studios and topped the $67.39 million opening weekend of 2013's Frozen to generate the largest opening weekend ever for the animation studio (though it should be noted that the opening weekend performance of Frozen was deflated from opening on a Wednesday). Compared to the most recent film from Walt Disney Animation Studios, Zootopia opened an impressive 33.5 percent ahead of the $56.22 million start of 2014's Big Hero 6. A strong marketing campaign, having the current family marketplace largely to itself and exceptional critical reviews all contributed to the strong start for Zootopia this weekend.
Zootopia opened with $19.50 million on Friday (which included an estimated $1.7 million on Thursday evening), increased 62 percent on Saturday to take in $31.64 million and decreased just 24 percent on Sunday to gross $23.93 million. That placed the film's opening weekend to Friday ratio at 3.85 to 1. Zootopia had clear four-quadrant appeal this weekend, as the film's audience skewed towards female moviegoers (53 percent) and towards moviegoers 25 years and younger (54 percent). Family audiences represented 73 percent of the film's overall audience. Early word of mouth looks to be especially strong for Zootopia, as the film received an A rating on CinemaScore and currently boasts a 96 percent Flixster audience score. Given its strong word of mouth and the relative lack of competition for family audiences it will continue to face throughout March, Zootopia is very likely to hold up well going forward.
London Has Fallen debuted in a distant second place with $21.64 million. The action thriller sequel from Focus and Gramercy opened in line with pre-release expectations. London Has Fallen did debut 29 percent below the $30.37 million start of 2013's Olympus Has Fallen, but had been widely expected to debut below its predecessor. Instead, the film opened closer to the $24.85 million debut of 2013's White House Down. London Has Fallen was likely helped out a bit this weekend by the ongoing poor performances of both Lionsgate's Gods of Egypt and Open Road's Triple 9.
London Has Fallen started with $7.54 million on Friday (which included an estimated $850,000 from Thursday evening shows), was up 13 percent on Saturday to gross $8.52 million and is estimated to decline 34 percent on Sunday to gross $5.58 million. That gave London Has Fallen an opening weekend to Friday ratio of 2.87 to 1. The audience breakdown for London Has Fallen skewed towards male moviegoers (60 percent) and heavily towards moviegoers 25 years and older (76 percent). London Has Fallen received a healthy A- rating on CinemaScore and has a current Flixster audience score of 64 percent, which suggest that the film is going over better with moviegoers than it has with critics.
After leading the weekend box office for each of the past three frames, Fox's Deadpool fell to third place this weekend with $16.73 million. In the process, the Ryan Reynolds led blockbuster antihero film surpassed the $300 million domestic mark, which made it the first X-Men universe film ever to do so (without adjusting for ticket price inflation). Deadpool decreased 46 percent from last weekend's performance, as the film took a hit from the added presence of both Zootopia and London Has Fallen in the marketplace. The 24-day total for Deadpool stands at a massive $311.48 million. That is an extremely impressive 51 percent stronger than the $206.26 million 24-day take of 2014's X-Men: Days of Future Past.
Paramount's Whiskey Tango Foxtrot debuted in fourth place with $7.44 million. The R-rated comedy starring Tina Fey opened below expectations and registered one of the lower debuts of a wide release staring Fey to date. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot opened 36 percent below the $11.56 million start of 2014's This is Where I Leave You and opened just 21 percent above the $6.15 million debut of 2013's Admission. At the end of the day, being a war comedy made Whiskey Tango Foxtrot a much tougher sell than most of Fey's previous films.
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot opened with $2.42 million on Friday, increased a sizable 32 percent on Saturday to take in $3.20 million and fell 43 percent on Sunday to gross $1.82 million. That gave Whiskey Tango Foxtrot an estimated opening weekend to Friday ratio of 3.07 to 1. The film skewed towards female moviegoers (56 percent) and heavily towards moviegoers over the age of 25 (89 percent). Whiskey Tango Foxtrot received a modest B rating on CinemaScore and has a current Flixster audience score of 64 percent. With word of mouth appearing to be mixed, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot is unlikely to hold up as well as Fey's films have tended to do in the past.
Meanwhile, Gods of Egypt rounded out the weekend's top five with $5.20 million. Lionsgate's expensive action fantasy film was down a very sharp 63 percent from last weekend's already soft debut. Gods of Egypt has grossed just $23.05 million in ten days, which is especially disappointing with both the film's price tag and the action fantasy genre in mind.