Disney’s Zootopia zoomed in with record-breaking fashion over the weekend box office. Bringing in an estimated $73 million in its opening weekend, the film is now the highest grossing animated feature in the month of March and, more significantly, the highest grossing opener for a Walt Disney Animation Studios film- Disney’s subsidiary Pixar has seen their films open higher, but the previous record holder from Disney itself was Frozen back in 2013 ($67 million).
Zootopia, which features the voice talents of Ginnifer Goodwin (Once Upon a Time), Jason Bateman (The Gift), Idris Elba (Beasts of No Nation) and Oscar winner J.K. Simmons (Whiplash), scored highly with critics as well with audiences- the film earned an “A” CinemaScore. The film also looks to benefit from the dearth of family-friendly offerings. The last animated feature was DreamWorks’ Kung Fu Panda 3 a month ago (sitting pretty with a take so far of $133 million) and next big one won’t arrive until April- Disney’s own revamped The Jungle Book.
So far, the 2016 box office has been characterized significantly by the unexpected high gross of Marvel’s anarchic Deadpool, which dropped to #4 on the box office chart in its fourth weekend of release; the Ryan Reynolds film has so far earned an insane $311 million at the domestic box office and stands a chance of becoming the highest grossing R-rated film of all time (only The Passion of the Christ and American Sniper have grossed more). Zootopia‘s success ensures the film will quickly enough become the years’ third film to join the $100 million club.
While Zootopia broke some significant records, it’s opening is only the fourth highest for the month of March. The first installment of The Hunger Games (2012) is still the champ as it ranked in $150 million. The second and third highest grossing openers of the month belong to Disney- Alice in Wonderland (2010) and Oz: The Great and Powerful (2013). The shuffling will likely change soon enough as Batman v Superman enters the fray later this month with preliminary tracking suggesting the superhero title may open as high as $140 million in its opening weekend.