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Weekend Box Office: Big Hero 6 Edges Out Interstellar for the Win

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By Chris Kavan - 11/09/14 at 11:15 PM CT

Two huge films opened over the weekend and, should current numbers stands, it will be only the fourth time in history that two films open to above $50 million in their first weekends (also of note - each other time that has happened it has also been an animated film vs. a live action movie). It was a nice rivalry leading up to the weekend, and it didn't leave much room for anyone else, as the holdovers from previous weeks were very quiet. Still, it was a great lead-off to November and hopefully a sign of good things to come.


While Interstellar had the early edge on Friday, with families showing up in force, it was Disney's Big Hero 6 that claimed the top spot at the box office with a nice $56.2 million opening. That was the second-best opening for any animated film in 2014, topping How to Train Your Dragon 2 ($49.2 million). It also eclipsed Wreck-It Ralph's opening of $49 million. It came at a good time - families were obviously itching for something good to watch - as they made up 72% of the audience. They were also appreciative of the film, awarding it an "A" Cinemascore. Critics were also enthused, as it sits with a 91% Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Given the warm response, the film should play quite well in the coming weeks - especially with little in the way of competition - and, if it follows the same path as Ralph, should wind up with over $200 million easily by the end of its run.


It was an uphill battle for Christopher Nolan to take the top spot - but Interstellar still came away with a nice second-place showing at $50 million. It could fall just south of that mark by the time final numbers are in - but it's still a good, if slightly lower expectation, for the big-name director. Taking into account the early opening, Interstellar sits at $52.1 million. It opened below like-minded space opera Gravity ($55.8 million) as well as below Nolan's Inception ($62.8 million). It drew a mostly older audience (75% over 25) and was evenly split between men and women. Older audiences tend not to rush things, so this also has a good chance of having a nice run. It earned a solid, if unremarkable "B+" Cinemascore. Of note is that IMAX accounted for $13.4 million of the total grossed - that 26% is the largest percentage total in that format for a first-run movie. That also means Interstellar only made $37 million in regular screenings, which is a bit concerning. Given its somewhat longer run time (169 minutes) coupled with the somewhat mixed critical response and audience reaction, the movie might not exactly make out-of-this world bucks, but it should wind up around $175 million or so.


David Fincher's Gone Girl continued to show incredibly strong legs - rising from the 4th back to the 3rd spot in its 6th weekend out. Gone Girl took in $6.1 million, bringing it to a new total of $145.4 million. The film dropped a very light 28% and is on track to easily close above $160 million - maybe even approaching $170 million. It's a pretty amazing result for an R-rated crime/thriller and just goes to show that the right mix of popular material, great cast and exceptional direction will lead to good things.


With Halloween and October in the rearview now, Ouija took a 44% hit, dropping from second to fourth place in the process. The horror film took in just over $6 million, giving it a new total of $43.4 million and it should cross the $50 million mark within the next two weeks.


Here's a new film that has been gaining a nice bit of steam and thus managed to rise from 7th to 5th place in its fifth weekend. The Bill Murray-helmed St. Vincent had a good limited release run and dropped just 21% this week (the lowest drop out of any film in the top 10) and added $5.7 million to its total, which now stands at $27.3 million. The movie has obviously clicked with audiences, and should near $40 million in the coming weeks.

Outside the top five: The Theory of Everything, with some awards-season buzz surrounding Eddie Redmayne, opened in five theaters to $207,000 for a nice per-theater average of $41,400. It will expand in the coming weeks.

Other limited release films given a bump include Birdman, which fell just outside the top 10 in 11th place with $2.3 million. It doubled its theater count to 462 theaters - but did dip about 4%. It will finally expand nationwide (800+ theaters) next weekend.

Also seeing some love was Whiplash, the jazz drumming drama starring Miles Teller and his uncompromising professor played by J.K. Simmons - rose 35.2% (adding 27 theaters to 88 total) and brought in $347,000 and has a total of $1.55 million to date.

Next week sees another film that has been getting a lot of awards attention in the form of Foxcatcher, with Steve Carrell in a career-defining role, along with Channing Tatum, Sienna Miller and Mark Ruffalo. To lighten things up, there is also Dumb and Dumber To (which to me, lives up to its title) once again reuniting Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels and the dim-witted dynamic duo.


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