Zootopia increases lead going into St. Patrick’s Day weekend; The innovators behind Zootopia; Hotel Transylvania 2 and Big Hero 6 win big at the 2016 Kids Choice Awards, SpongeBob bests Gumball for best animated TV show

Welcome to the St. Patrick’s Day edition of Gene Scallop’s entertainment report. Here’s what’s topping today!


Zootopia roared 50 million smackers this week as it continues increasing its lead. With spring break around the corner, this Disneytoon might just continue hopping with no interference from any other animated films. How’s the mouse’s juggernaut doing Angie?



Angie Angelfish (via Deadline Hollywood)- Disney’s family juggernaut  Zootopia keeps growing. We thought it was going to do in the $40Ms this weekend. Now, Disney has finaled its second weekend at $51.3M, down 32% from its opening weekend of $75M. Currently, B.O. analysts think it’s going to be a close third weekend between Zootopia and Lionsgate’s threequel The Divergent Series: Allegiant both of which are expected to make around $35M.


Zootopia together with Paramount’s new-comer 10 Cloverfield Lane, which finaled at $24.7M in second place, trounced the rest of the wide entries: Lionsgate’s The Perfect Match at $4.3M, Focus Features’ Young Messiah with $3.29M and Sony/Village Roadshow/LStar’s The Brothers Grimsby with $3.26M. Despite the mishaps, ComScore reports total weekend ticket sales at $134.7M, +2% from a year ago when — wow, when Cinderella opened in the top spot to $67.9M. Total domestic box office for 2016 is pacing ahead of the same frame in 2015 at 11% with $2.2B.

There was also a healthy round of holdovers this past weekend. 20th Century Fox’s Deadpool, still putting up double digit numbers with $10.9M in its fifth weekend. Also Gramercy/Focus Features’ London Has Fallen falling an even 50% with a 10-day cume of $39M. Even though Disney’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens comes out on April 5 on DVD, the film is still clearing over $1M in its 13th frame, raising its all-time domestic cume of $930.8M.


Said one distribution chief yesterday about those films that failed to launch in the current B.O. environment: “There’s a weekend-to-weekend trend going on in the marketplace. One movie will overperform its tracking and dominate the social conversation as the ‘it’ movie, while the top spots are continually populated by strong holdovers. As such, the other new movies can’t rise to a value proposition in a way that they should.” Essentially, Young Messiah, Perfect Match and Brothers Grimsby will be flushed from multiplexes, especially as bigger product such as Warner Bros’ Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice over Easter weekend encroaches on marquee space. This means that Lionsgate, Sony and Focus Features will have to wait a window before they can start making money back on VOD/DVD. It’s reasons like this weekend’s bombs that has some content providers — not all — raising the controversial suggestion for premium day-and-date VOD releases.

Through 10 days, Zootopia has amassed close to $144M, which is 31% ahead of Disney’s Oscar-winning Big Hero 6 (final domestic $222.5M), 53% ahead of Frozen (final $400M) and synced with Pixar’s Finding Nemo (domestic B.O. first theatrical release $339.7M). In fact, Zootopia‘s $75M opening weekend was $5M more than what Nemo made in its first FSS. The original Disney animated feature saw the best Saturday hike of all the titles in the top 10 with a 90% surge over Friday with $22.8M. As we mentioned last weekend, when a feature toon puts up this kind of numbers, it is making money hand over fist during evening showtimes too, not just matinees.


Paramount’s 10 Cloverfield Lane carries a production budget in the midteens with $16.3M in ad spend, per iSpot TV. And with 16% of K-12 schools off this week, business should continue to click for Zootopia and 10 Cloverfield Lane. That percentage will only getting bigger as we head toward Easter at the end of March.

What’s odd here with 10 Cloverfield Lane is that there’s a huge gap between the upbeat reviews and general audiences’ final grade: Rotten Tomatoes gave it a 91% fresh grade, while CinemaScore crowds have the J.J. Abrams sci-fi thriller production at a B- (that’s the type of grades horror films receive). Some Oscar bloggers are screaming for an awards campaign for John Goodman, who is continually overlooked by the Oscars (hey, Mary Elizabeth Winstead was pretty amazing, too). ComScore PostTrak audiences gave 10 Cloverfield Lane a 66% very good/excellent. Here’s the reason for the discrepancy: As audiences watched the movie, they came up with their own conceit of how it should end, so that when 10 Cloverfield Lane takes a big turn in the third act, there’s a love-it-or-hate-it attitude toward the movie. ComScore PostTRak reports that close to half of the audience is sharing the good word of mouth with their friends. That’s good enough for Paramount moving forward. Also, 10 Cloverfield Lane didn’t play like a horror thriller at the box office. Typically, horror aficionados come out on opening day, and business drops from there, but 10 Cloverfield Lane made $9.7M on Saturday, +8% over Friday. In terms of the audience turnout, the Goodman-Winstead pic remained predominantly male just like the first 2008 title at 61%, but the fanbase grew older: 55% were under 25 for Cloverfield, while this time that crowd dwindled to 32%. The spinoff’s CinemaScore carries a 2.7 multiple, which means 10 Cloverfield Lane will pave its way to about $68M. Imax runs rang up $3.1M with six of the top 10 engagements in the U.S. belonging to the large format’s hub.


Paramount used the first-quarter TV season, considered to be a fertile ground for viewing, to launch teasers for 10 Cloverfield Lane. The film’s trailer played on 13 Hours and went on to clock 11.4M online views in its first 24 hours. Then there was the $1M Super Bowl kickoff TV spot on February 7, followed by a co-branding with the February 14 Walking Dead premiere. In addition, the TV spot aired during such shows as the Academy Awards Pre-Show, The Voice premiere, the Agent Carter finale, Super Tuesday coverage, American Crime finale and the Bates Motel premiere. Paramount always has made a point to link up with burgeoning social media platforms and the studio was Snapchat’s launch partner on a new ad that allowed users to swipe up and watch the entire trailer. In addition, there was a deep augmented-reality game around Goodman’s doomsday-fanatic character.


We went through the bloody entrails of Sacha Baron Cohen’s latest comedy yesterday (see related link above). Said Sony domestic distribution chief Rory Bruer on Sunday in regards to Brothers Grimsby: “Sacha Baron Cohen and Sony’s marketing team worked really hard on this movie. It was a film that was difficult to convert, but we love this movie.” Another factor contributing to the lackluster performance of Young Messiah and Perfect Match was that they were limited releases — in 1,761 and 925 theaters, respectively — hence their P&A was significantly smaller than the average wide release.


In the specialty market, Bleecker Street’s drone thriller Eye in the Sky chalked up a near $23K per-theater average (the best of the weekend) at five New York and L.A. locations for a total FSS of $114K. Bleecker reports that some matinee and evening shows over the past two days sold out. The pic will expand again this Friday. It carries a 95% fresh score. Helen Mirren’s  arthouse crossover last spring, The Woman in Gold, played to $33.3M and that was off a 53% rotten score. Roadside Attractions/Sony’s Stage 6 film’s Sally Field dramedy Hello, My Name Is Doris about a sixtysomething woman who falls for a younger man drew the second best theater average of the weekend with $21,246 at four NY and LA locations and a near $85K weekend. The film also will widen to the top markets by this Friday. Doris is also a hit with critics at 89% fresh and RSA has been drumming up word-of-mouth through various advance screenings.  IFC’s doc City of Gold which follows food critics Jonathan Gold pegged the third highest PTA of the frame with over $15K.


That brings us to our next headline this week, How did Zootopia get popular and how was it made? Tell that to these 4 women who made it possible. Danny took a behind the scenes look of the unstoppable Disneytoon.




Danny Angelfish (via Animation World)- Walt Disney Animation Studios’ newest feature film, Zootopia, now in theaters, draws upon a rich legacy of Disney films with animals at its center, ranging from The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad (1949) to Bolt (2008). But audiences will see for the first time in Zootopia technical advances in how these animals come to life on screen. Never before has it been possible for animators to visualize such a vast array of animals so realistically, with fur that’s more lifelike than any other Disney animated film. This innovation is made possible through Disney’s XGen procedural geometry instancing tool.


Michelle Robinson


Michelle Robinson, one of Zootopia’s look development supervisors, explains, “We can’t hand-place every hair — and we don’t even necessarily want to place every hundredth hair. XGen is a system by which, through a set of controls, either painting on the character or placing a few specific hairs, it can then interpolate and generate all the rest of the hair by proxy.”

Modern animation has come to increasingly rely on the left brain/right brain balance between creativity and animation, and Robinson is part of an ever-expanding group of women working at WDAS who work on the tech side of the filmmaking process. Women go as far back in Disney animation, of course, as the famed Ink and Paint “girls” — who were pioneers for their time — but today’s class of women at WDAS are as likely to have studied architecture or computer science in college as they are to have emerged from art schools.



Kira Lehtomaki


The line between technology and art is no longer as defined as it used to be, Zootopia animation supervisor Kira Lehtomaki, who graduated with a degree in computer science but went on to realize her lifelong dream of working as a Disney animator, stresses. “Having come from a technical background, I so strongly believe that a lot of the technology and software people — those people are ‘creatives.’ You have to be so creative in order to come up with those elegant solutions that work well and efficiently. A lot of times people think of it as one side of the brain or the other — the whole process is a creative process.”

Lehtomaki credits the Internet for presenting a wider range of possibilities on the technical side. “That openness of information and technology is no longer just available to an exclusive group of people that were kind of niche and have the same kind of backgrounds and interests. That training can now be available to anybody,” she points out.



Heather Pritchett


At Disney, Zootopia technical director Heather Pritchett — a 20-year veteran of the Company — recalls, “When I started there were a lot of women in my peer group, but I didn’t see a lot of women who had been here a long time.” She can now look around the Animation Building and see a range of talent, from newly hired trainees to women who came on board with her years ago. “It’s really nice to see that history represented in one place and know that even if you’re just starting today, you can see where you’ll be in 20 years.”

Mentorship and collaboration are important parts of the culture at WDAS that benefit everyone, Ying Liu, part of Disney’s XGen leadership team, says. “We started to embed technology people with the production people so that we can talk together — not necessarily formally — to come up with ideas on how we can make the workflow easier for the artists and drive the software to grow, too. That collaboration is so important.”


Ying Liu


“The people who ended up mentoring me were the people I describe as having shaped my childhood,” Lehtomaki stresses. Robinson concurs that this is woven into Disney’s legacy. “There are always people available to guide you through that path in your career. There’s always someone ahead of you who has done that and can teach you. And I think that women supporting women is an important part of that.”

Pritchett is grateful for having pursued a broad course of study, and encourages students who visit WDAS to get a solid art education or a solid computer education. She tells them, “You will be so much stronger because of it and so much more able to keep up with shifts in the industry when you need to.”

For Liu, who grew up in China, the possibility of working for Disney seemed “so far away” — both literally and figuratively. She was inspired to join the Company as a software developer after coming on a tour of the Studio and remembers thinking, “This is so impressive. I’d like to do that.” The message of Zootopia speaks to her, and is advice that she passes along to the next generation of innovating women: “Always go after what’s in your heart and don’t be intimidated by anything. Anyone can be anything.”


Disney/Pixar’s Inside Out continued streaking since their win at the Oscars. The Feelings team took a break last week to make way for the Emmys. It was sliming season once again at the KCA’s as one of its box office hits (now eclipsed by Zootopia) and another box office sequel from the Drac Pack were chosen well. Meanwhile, the Sponge was up against Gumball for Favorite TV Show. Did he overpower the Watterson’s Jim?


Jim Fish (via The Wrap)-Sliming season is upon us again, as Nickelodeon presented the 2015 Kids’ Choice Awards on Saturday live from The Forum in Inglewood, Calif.


Host Nick Jonas serenaded the crowd at the top of the show, which  saw additional performances from Iggy Azalea and Jennifer Hudson and teen sensation 5 Seconds of Summer.

Top honors went to “Hunger Games” star Liam Hemsworth, Emma Stone for “The Amazing Spiderman” and Angelina Jolie, who brought daughters Zahara and Shiloh, to claim Favorite Villain for “Maleficent.”



Read the complete list of 2015 Kids’ Choice Awards Winners:

Favorite Talent Competition Show*
“America’s Got Talent”
“American Idol”
“America’s Next Top Model”
“Dancing with the Stars”
“So You Think You Can Dance”
The Voice *WINNER 

Favorite Family TV Show*
“Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”
“Modern Family” *WINNER
“Once Upon a Time”
“The Big Bang Theory”
“The Flash”


Most Addicting Game*
Angry Birds Transformers
Candy Crush Saga
Disney Infinity 2.0
“Mario Kart 8
Minecraft *WINNER
Skylanders: Trap Team

Favorite New Artist
5 Seconds of Summer
Fifth Harmony *WINNER
Iggy Azalea
Jessie J
Meghan Trainor

Favorite Kids TV Show
“Austin & Ally” *WINNER
“Dog with a Blog”
“Every Witch Way”
“Henry Danger”
“Nicky, Ricky, Dicky & Dawn”

Favorite TV Actor
Benjamin Flores Jr., “The Haunted Hathaways”
Charlie McDermott, “The Middle”
Grant Gustin, “The Flash”
Jack Griffo, “The Thundermans”
Jim Parsons, “The Big Bang Theory”
Ross Lynch, “Austin & Ally” *WINNER

Favorite TV Actress
Chloe Bennet , “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”
Debby Ryan, “Jessie”
Jennifer Morrison, “Once Upon a Time”
Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting, “The Big Bang Theory”
Kira Kosarin, “The Thundermans”
Laura Marano, “Austin & Ally” *WINNER

Favorite Cartoon
“Adventure Time”
“Phineas & Ferb”
“SpongeBob SquarePants” *WINNER
‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”
“Teen Titans Go!”
“The Fairly OddParents”

Favorite Reality Show
“American Ninja Warrior”
“Cupcake Wars”
“Dance Moms” *WINNER
“MasterChef Junior”
“Shark Tank”

Favorite Movie
“Guardians of the Galaxy”
“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”
“The Amazing Spider-Man 2”
“The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1” *WINNER 
“Transformers: Age of Extinction”

Favorite Villain
Angelina Jolie , “Maleficent” *WINNER
Cameron Diaz (Annie)
Donald Sutherland  “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1”
Jamie Foxx, “The Amazing Spider-Man 2”
Lee Pace, “Guardians of the Galaxy”
Meryl Streep, “Into the Woods”

Favorite Movie Actor
Ben Stiller, “Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb” *WINNER
Hugh Jackman, “X-Men: Days of Future Past”
Jamie Foxx, “The Amazing Spider-Man 2”
Mark Wahlberg, “Transformers: Age of Extinction”
Steve Carell, “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day”
Will Arnett, “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, The Lego Movie”

Favorite Movie Actress
Angelina Jolie,  “Maleficent”
Cameron Diaz , “Annie)
Elle Fanning, “Maleficent”
Emma Stone, “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” *WINNER
Jennifer Garner, “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day”
Megan Fox, “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”

Favorite Animated Movie
“Big Hero 6” *WINNER
“How to Train Your Dragon 2”
“Penguins of Madagascar”
“Rio 2”
“The Lego Movie”
“The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water”

Favorite Male Action Star
Andrew Garfield, “The Amazing Spider-Man 2”
Channing Tatum, “Jupiter Ascending”
Chris Evans, “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”
Chris Pratt, “Guardians of the Galaxy”
Hugh Jackman, “X-Men: Days of Future Past”
Liam Hemsworth, “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1” *WINNER

Favorite Female Action Star
Ellen Page, “X-Men: Days of Future Past”
Evangeline Lilly, “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies”
Halle Berry, “X-Men: Days of Future Past”
Jennifer Lawrence, “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 and X-Men: Days of Future Past” *WINNER
Scarlett Johansson, “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”
Zoe Saldana, “Guardians of the Galaxy”

Favorite Music Group
Fall Out Boy
Imagine Dragons
Maroon 5
One Direction *WINNER

Favorite Male Singer
Blake Shelton
Bruno Mars
Justin Timberlake
Nick Jonas *WINNER
Pharrell Williams
Sam Smith

Favorite Female Singer
Ariana Grande
Katy Perry
Nicki Minaj
Selena Gomez *WINNER
Taylor Swift

Favorite Song Of The Year
“All About That Bass” Meghan Trainor
“Bang Bang” Jessie J, Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj *WINNER
“Dark Horse” Katy Perry
“Fancy” Iggy Azalea feat. Charli XCX
“Problem” Ariana Grande feat. Iggy Azalea
“Shake It Off” Taylor Swift

Favorite Book
Diary of a Wimpy Kid series *WINNER
Divergent series
The Heroes of Olympus series
Percy Jackson’s Greek Gods
The Fault in Our Stars
The Maze Runner

 1,509 fans are currently on the board on the Penguins tally as we count down to spring.



Be sure to have luck on your side tomorrow night with Clarence, Teen Titans Go, We Bare Bears, and Nexo Knights. See you soon on the next edition of Gene Scallop’s entertainment report.

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