Disney's 'Zootopia' opens big with $73.7 million debut

Sun Mar 6, 2016 1:54pm EST
 
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By Brent Lang

LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - Disney’s “Zootopia” scored the fourth biggest March opening ever, debuting to $73.7 million over the weekend.

The animated story about a rabbit who joins the police force ranks as the biggest Disney Animation launch (though not the best Pixar debut), outstripping “Frozen,” the 2012 blockbuster that bowed to $67.4 million. With no major family film opening until “The Jungle Book” lands on April 15, “Zootopia” is well positioned to be the de facto choice for moviegoers with children for the next month.

“There’s an absence of competition,” said Dave Hollis, Disney’s distribution chief. “We are set up to have a big, big run.”

Disney did not release a budget, but most animated films cost in excess of $100 million. “Zootopia” screened in 3,827 locations.

Overseas, where “Zootopia” has been playing for three weeks, the film added another $63.4 million to its haul, pushing its global total to $232.5 million. The film continues a sterling comeback run for Disney Animation, which had reached a creative and commercial nadir in the early aughts with the likes of “Home on the Range” and “Treasure Planet.” Since Pixar’s Ed Catmull and John Lasseter took the reins following Disney’s 2006 acquisition of their company, the animation arm has roared back to life, fielding hits such as “Frozen,” “Tangled,” and “Wreck It Ralph,” and winning Oscars.

“They brought a focus on quality,” said Hollis. “They recognize that quality is the best business plan.”

Beyond the bunnies, Gerard Butler managed to wash out some of the sour taste in his mouth after “Gods of Egypt” flopped spectacularly. “London Has Fallen,” the Scottish actor’s followup to “Olympus Has Fallen,” opened solidly to $21.5 million from 3,490 locations for a second place finish. That does, however, trail the first film’s $30 million debut.

Focus Features fielded the picture, which carried a $60 million price tag. It played older, with more than 76% of the audience clocking in over the age of 25, while men made up 60% of ticket buyers.   Continued...

 
The characters of Judy Hopps and Nick Wilde pose at the premiere of "Zootopia" at El Capitan theatre in Hollywood, California February 17, 2016. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni