'Big Hero 6' vanquishes 'Interstellar' to lead U.S. box office

Sun Nov 9, 2014 3:03pm EST
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By Ronald Grover and Chris Michaud

LOS ANGELES/NEW YORK (Reuters) - "Big Hero 6," Walt Disney Co's animated superhero film featuring a flying robot, clocked $56.2 million in U.S. and Canadian ticket sales to lead the weekend box office, topping director Christopher Nolan's space adventure, "Interstellar."

"Interstellar," starring Matthew McConaughey, opened on Wednesday and recorded $50 million over the three days from Friday through Sunday, and $52.2 million over its five-day run.

If the final figures hold up, it would be only the fourth time in history that two new films had hit the $50 million mark on the same debut weekend, the last time being June 2013 with "Monsters University" and "World War Z," box office tracking firm Rentrak said.

"Gone Girl," director David Fincher's hit starring Ben Affleck as a husband suspected of murdering his wife, was third with $6.1 million, according to estimates from Rentrak. It has taken in more than $145 million since opening on Oct. 3.

Inspired by a Marvel comic of the same name, "Big Hero 6" is set in a fictional futuristic metropolis called Sanfransokyo, in which a 14-year-old computer whiz kid fashions a team of superheroes out of students from a university robotics lab.

With the help of a waddling, 6-foot-tall (183-cm) personal healthcare robot called Baymax, the team defeats a masked villain who harnesses the power of microbots to wreck havoc on the city.

Dave Hollis, Walt Disney Studios' head of distribution, said the film got "a great response from kids, from parents and from non-parents," adding "you need to transcend the family audience in order to a get a number like this."

With the film "delivering general audience segments ... we're set up to do a great, long run," Hollis added.   Continued...

Directors of the animated movie "Big Hero 6" Don Hall (R) and Chris Williams pose for a portrait at Disney Animation Studios in Burbank, California September 29, 2014. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni