The LEGO Batman Movie tops 55 million, Fiifty Shades Darker moves 2nd; Zootopia wins 6 Annie’s including best animated feature; Disney attributes 100 million for animation crisis

It’s great to be Batman! Gene Scallop here on this week’s box office report. The dark knight faces off against The Joker, but this time, he’s not alone. With 55 million smackers, with Robin and Batgirl by his side, it’s going to take a superhero team big enough to take down the clown prince of crime. Let’s check it out:

It was the best weekend at the 2017 box office so far, led by WB’s The LEGO Batman Movie along with fellow newcomers Fifty Shades Darker and John Wick: Chapter Two topping the box office in that order. But along with the new releases, five of the weekend’s holdovers, especially Lion, held on extremely well, dropping 35% or less compared to last weekend. Overall the weekend top twelve came in just a fraction below our overall expectation of $180 million as the top twelve combined for an estimated $176.9 million.
At #1, WB’s second film in their LEGO franchise, The LEGO Batman Movie, delivered an estimated $55.6 million, which is well below Mojo’s forecast and even a bit below the $60 million the studio was expecting. However, opening day audiences gave the film a strong “A-” CinemaScore, which plays well with the strong critical reception the film received. Of that audience, 48% were males vs. 52% females and 48% were over the age of 25.
Looking ahead, outside of Lionsgate’s acquisition of Rock Dog due in theaters in a couple weeks, there isn’t a lot of competition in terms of animated films in the near future and the extended holiday weekend next weekend should ensure LEGO Batman holds on nicely. As for its overall domestic performance, after a $69 million opening, The LEGO Movie delivered a $257.7 million domestic total. A similar performance for LEGO Batman would mean a $207+ million run, which means we’ll be keeping an eye out to see if this one can top $200 million.

Outside of North America, LEGO Batman brought in an estimated $37 million from 60 overseas markets for a combined, $92.6 worldwide opening. Some highlights include an estimated $9.3 million opening in the U.K. along with openings in Mexico ($2.6m), Germany ($2.3m), Russia ($2.2m), Brazil ($2m), France ($1.6m), Spain ($1.5m) and Italy ($1.2m). Looking ahead, the film opens in China on March 3 followed by openings in Australia (March 30) and Japan (April 1).
In second position is Universal’s Fifty Shades Darker, which topped the box office on Friday and held on well over the weekend, finishing with a slightly stronger than expected $46.79 million from 3,710 theaters. Opening day audiences gave the film a “B+” CinemaScore and of that audience 70% was female vs. 30% male. The age breakdown saw 56% of the audience coming in under the age of 30 and 34% of the audience was Caucasian, 21% Hispanic and 14% African American.
Looking ahead, while this opening is nearly $40 million less than 2015’s Fifty Shades of Grey, that was to be expected and how it plays this week with Valentine’s Day on Tuesday and next weekend’s four-day holiday weekend will be the true test as Fifty Shades of Grey dipped a massive 74% in its second weekend while Darker should play a little more traditionally. What does that mean? Well, proportionally, Fifty Shades Darker’s opening compared to Fifty Shades of Grey is spot on when compared to the performance of Sex and the City to its sequel, which dropped 60% in its second weekend, ending its run just shy of $100 million, a number that would appear to be the bar to keep an eye domestically with $125 million looking like the ceiling for this release.
Overseas, Fifty Shades Darker delivered an estimated $100.1 million from 57 markets, the fourth largest international opening weekend ever for an R-rated film, behind Fifty Shades of Grey ($157.1m), Deadpool ($132.2m) and The Matrix Revolutions ($117.6m). Top markets include Germany ($11m), U.K. ($9.7m), France ($8.7m), Brazil ($7.5m), Russia ($6.7m), Italy ($6.5m), Australia ($5.9m), Spain ($5.6m) and Mexico ($2.7m). The film has four more territories in which it will be released, the last of which being Japan on June 23.
Third place belongs to Lionsgate’s John Wick: Chapter Two, which more than doubled its predecessor’s opening with an estimated $30 million from 3,113 theaters. Heading into the weekend we were wondering if the R-rated actioner could manage to cross $30 million and with estimates it appears it just barely made it. Opening day audiences scored the film with an “A-” CinemaScore (the first received a “B”) to go along with its 76 Metacritic score (the first received a 68). The opening day audience was 64% male vs. 36% female, identical to the first film.
Looking ahead, the question now is to wonder if John Wick 2 can approach $90 million domestically. The first film delivered a 2.98x multiplier, which would suggest a nearly $90 million domestic run for the sequel. Based on the CinemaScore, opening weekend and R-rating a run closer to $73 million would trend closer to the average, but don’t be surprised if Wick 2 crosses $80 million if not a little bit higher.
Internationally, John Wick 2 debuted in 41 markets with an estimated $10.6 million of which Russia was the only major market release where it brought in an estimated $2.5 million, just $100,000 shy of the first John Wick feature in the country. Other openers included estimated results in the Philippines ($1.3m), Taiwan ($775k), Malaysia ($754k) and Hong Kong ($525k). The next major markets set to release later this week are Brazil and Germany on February 16 and the UK a day later.
Universal’s Split finished in fourth, dropping just 35.4% for an estimated $9.3 million as its domestic cume climbs to $112.3 million. The film will soon pass The Village’s $114.2 million domestic total to become M. Night Shyamalan’s fourth largest domestic release.
Rounding out the top five is the continued strong performance of Hidden Figures with an estimated $8 million, dropping just 21.5% in its eighth week since its limited, Christmas Day debut. Its domestic cume now stands at an impressive $131.4 million, currently the highest grossing domestic release of the 2016 Best Picture nominees.
Elsewhere in the top ten, Lionsgate’s La La Land grossed an estimated $5 million (-32.2%) for a total domestic cume of over $126 million. Additionally, the film brought in an estimated $11.5 million internationally bringing its worldwide total to an estimated $294.3 million through Sunday.
The best holdover in the top ten was the Weinstein’s Lion, which saw a 9% bump compared to last weekend despite dropping 68 theaters. The Oscar contender delivered an estimated $4 million this weekend as its domestic cume now stands at $30.3 million since its limited bow 12 weeks ago.
Outside the top ten, other new openers include FIP’s Jolly LLB 2, which brought in an estimated $780k from 173 theaters ($4,509 PTA); Magnolia’s release of The Oscar Nominated Short Films 2017 brought in an estimated $660k from 184 theaters ($3,587 PTA); China Lion’s Duckweed debuted in 27 theaters with an estimated $160k ($5,926 PTA); Fox Searchlight’s A United Kingdom delivered an estimated $70k from four theaters ($17,500 PTA) and Sony Classics’ Oscar contender Land of Mine debuted with an estimated $15,758 from three theaters ($5,253 PTA). Lastly, Oscilloscope’s Kedi delivered the best per theater opening average of the year so far as it brought in an estimated $40,510 from one theater this weekend.
Additional highlights this weekend include the release of xXx: The Return of Xander Cage, which brought in a whopping $61.9 million in China this weekend from 6,600 locations. It’s the largest opening for a Hollywood film in February and with $6 million it delivered the second largest IMAX February opening in China behind The Monkey King 2. The film’s international cume now stands at an estimated $186.5 million for a worldwide total nearing $230 million, placing it second to 2002’s xXx within the franchise. Return of Xander Cage will release in Japan on February 24.
This weekend also saw Illumination and Universal Pictures’ Sing top $500 million worldwide as it brought in an estimated $7.5 million from 61 overseas markets this weekend bringing its overseas cume to $235.5 million. Combined with $265.3 million domestically the film’s worldwide cume stands at $500.8 million.
Next weekend sees the release of Universal’s The Great Wall into 3,200+ theaters on the heels of the film already grossing $224.6 million internationally. Other openers include the WB comedy Fist Fight into ~3,000 theaters and Fox’s A Cure for Wellness into 2,700 theaters.
For a look at this weekend’s estimated results click here and we’ll be updating the charts with weekend actuals on Monday afternoon.
Until next bat time, let’s see if the dark knight’s plan pays off.
Zootopia’s been on a roll since their Golden Globe win. The flick scored big time at the Annie’s last week. Let’s see if their winning streak continues.

Disney’s ‘Zootopia’ wins best animated feature at the 44th Annie Awards.

LOS ANGELES — Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Zootopia takes the top honor as Best Animated Feature at ASIFA-Hollywood‘s 44th Annual Annie Awards, Saturday evening at UCLA’s Royce Hall. Zootopia also received an Annies trophy for Outstanding Storyboarding – Dean Wellins; Outstanding Character Design – Cory Loftis; Outstanding Voice Acting – Jason Bateman as Nick Wilde; Outstanding Writing – Jared Bush & Phil Johnston; and Best Directing – Byron Howard & Rich Moore. Best Animated Feature – Independent was presented to the film, The Red Turtle (Studio Ghibli/Wild Bunch/Why Not Productions).
LAIKA’s Kubo And The Two Strings garnered three Annies for Outstanding Achievement in Character Animation, Production Design and Editorial; Best Animated Special Production was awarded to Pear Cider and Cigarettes (Massive Swerve Studios and Passion Pictures Animation); Best Animated Short Subject Piper (Pixar Animation Studios); Best Animated TV/Broadcast Commercial Loteria ‘Night Shift’ (Passion Pictures Ltd.); Best General Audience Animated TV/Broadcast Production for Preschool Children Tumble Leaf – Mighty Mud Movers/Having a Ball (Amazon Studios and Bix Pix Entertainment); Best Animated TV/Broadcast Production for Children Adventure Time – Bad Jubies (Bix Pix Entertainment, Cartoon Network, Frederator Studios); Best Animated TV/Broadcast Production for a General Audience Bob’s Burgers – Glued, Where’s My Bob? (Bento Box Entertainment); and Outstanding Achievement for Character Animation in a Live Action Production: The Jungle Book (Walt Disney Pictures).
“It was a big year for animation all around. We saw a huge number of projects, great diversity of subjects and styles and increasing international participation,” remarked Frank Gladstone, Annie Awards executive producer. “Animation’s positive impact on communities worldwide was evident throughout the evening. It was a great night.”
Presenting the coveted Annie trophies this year were Lakers basketball legend, Kobe Bryant; actress Jenna Elfman; animator and film director, Patrick Osborne; Auli’l Cravalho – voice of Moana; animator, author and illustrator, Glen Keane; actor and comedian, Tom Kenny; Paige O’Hara – 25th Anniversary of Beauty and the Beast; actor & director, James Hong; directors Travis Knight – Kubo and the Two Strings and Michael Dudok de Wit – The Red Turtle; comedian Stephen Kramer Glickman and actress Chelsea Kane, along with ASIFA-Hollywood President, Jerry Beck and Executive Director, Frank Gladstone.          
ASIFA-Hollywood was thrilled to have all three Winsor McCay recipients in attendance. The Winsor McCay recipients this year are legendary animator Dale Baer; independent animation champion Caroline Leaf; and influential anime director Mamoru Oshii for career contributions to the art form. The Ub Iwerks Award was presented to Google Spotlight’s Virtual Reality Platform for technical advancement; and the Special Achievement Award was presented to Life, Animated, a documentary about animation’s effect on one young autistic man’s journey. The June Foray Award was presented to Bill & Sue Kroyer for their career-long benevolent and public-spirited influence within the animation community. Certificate of Merit awards were presented to ASIFA-Hollywood volunteer coordinator Leslie Ezeh, and ASIFA-Hollywood’s office manager Gary Perkovac.
The Annie Awards honor overall excellence as well as individual achievement in a total of 36 categories from best feature, best feature – independent, production design, character animation, and effects animation to storyboarding, writing, music, editing and voice acting, and have often been a predictor of the annual Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. The ceremony was live-streamed again this year at where animation enthusiasts and those unable to attend the event, could watch the show.
The complete list of winners at the 44th Annual Annie Awards is shown below:
Best Animated Feature

Directing in an Animated Feature Production

Byron Howard, Rich Moore


Walt Disney Animation Studios
Directing in an Animated Television/Broadcast Production

Patrick Osborne


Google Spotlight Stories/Evil Eye Pictures
Best Animated Feature-Independent

The Red Turtle 

Studio Ghibli – Wild Bunch – Why Not Productions
Best General Audience Animated Television/Broadcast Production

Bob’s Burgers 

Episode: Glued, Where’s My Bob?

Bento Box Entertainment
Best Animated Television/Broadcast Production For Children

Adventure Time

Episode: Bad Jubies

Bix Pix Entertainment Cartoon Network Frederator Studios
Best Animated Television/Broadcast Production For Preschool Children

Tumble Leaf

Episode: Mighty Mud Movers / Having a Ball

Amazon Studios and Bix Pix Entertainment
Writing in an Animated Feature Production

Jared Bush, Phil Johnston


Walt Disney Animation Studios
Writing in an Animated Television / Broadcast Production

Lizzie Molyneux, Wendy Molyneux

Bob’s Burgers

Episode: The Hormone-iums

Bento Box Entertainment
Voice Acting in an Animated Feature Production


Auli’i Cravalho as Moana


Walt Disney Animation Studios


Jason Bateman as Nick Wilde


Walt Disney Animation Studios
Voice Acting in an Animated Television / Broadcast Production

Carlos Alazaraqui as Ponce de León

The Mr. Peabody & Sherman Show

Episode: Ponce de León

DreamWorks Animation Television
Best Animated Television/Broadcast Commercial

Loteria, “Night Shift”

Passion Pictures Ltd
Best Animated Special Production

Pear Cider and Cigarettes

Massive Swerve Studios and Passion Pictures Animation
Production Design in an Animated Feature Production

Nelson Lowry, Trevor Dalmer, August Hall, Ean McNamara

Kubo and the Two Strings

Pearl production design winner Tuna Bora gets a play-off after dropping her Annie trophy, having a nice recovery and, as a first-generation immigrant “from a predominantly Muslim country,” hails inclusion in the animation community. It’s clear that President Trump doesn’t have many if any fans here tonight.
Production Design in an Animated Television / Broadcast Production

Tuna Bora


Google Spotlight Stories/Evil Eye Pictures
Character Animation in an Animated Feature Production

Jan Maas

Kubo and the Two Strings

Character Animation in an Animated Television / Broadcast Production

Mike Chaffe

DreamWorks Trollhunters

Episode: Becoming, Part 1

DreamWorks Animation Television
Character Animation in a Live Action Production

Andrew R. Jones, Peta Bayley, Gabriele Zucchelli, Benjamin Jones

The Jungle Book

Walt Disney Pictures
Character Animation in a Video Game

Jeremy Yates, Almudena Soria, Eric Baldwin, Paul Davies, Tom Bland

Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End

Naughty Dog
Word games with presenter Kobe Bryant is getting laughs, but the real score is how good his onstage delivery is.
Character Design in an Animated Feature Production

Cory Loftis


Walt Disney Animation Studios
Character Design in an Animated Television / Broadcast Production

Victor Maldonado, Alfredo Torres, Jules Rigolle

DreamWorks Trollhunters

Episode: Win, Lose or Draal

DreamWorks Animation Television
Music in an Animated Feature Production

Hans Zimmer, Richard Harvey, Camille

The Little Prince

Netflix and On Animation Studios
Music in an Animated Television / Broadcast Production

Scot Stafford, Alexis Harte, JJ Wiesler


Google Spotlight Stories/Evil Eye Pictures
Animated Effects in a Live Action Production

Georg Kaltenbrunner, Michael Marcuzzi, Thomas Bevan, Andrew Graham, Jihyun Yoon


Marvel Studios
Animated Effects in an Animated Feature Production

Marlon West, Erin V. Ramos, Blair Pierpont, Ian J. Coony, John M. Kosnik


Walt Disney Animation Studios
Best Animated Short Subject


Pixar Animation Studios
Best Student Film


Director: Andreas Feix  

Filmakademie Baden-Wuerttemberg
Editorial in an Animated Feature Production

Christopher Murrie

Kubo and the Two Strings
Editorial in an Animated Television / Broadcast Production

Illya Owens

Disney Mickey Mouse

Episode: Sock Burglar

Disney Television Animation
Storyboarding in an Animated Feature Production

Dean Wellins


Walt Disney Animation Studios
Storyboarding in an Animated Television / Broadcast Production

Hyunjoo Song

DreamWorks TrollhunteEpisode: Win, Lose or Draal

DreamWorks Animation Television
Winsor McCay Awards

Dale Baer

Caroline Leaf

Mamoru Oshii.
Ub Iwerks Award

Google Spotlight’s Virtual Reality Platform
June Foray Award

Bill & Sue Kroyer
Special Achievement Award

Life, Animated documentary feature
The animation crisis has gone on since 2014 and it looks like Disney has come up with a few smackers to cover it. Let’s check out how much:
Disney has agreed to a $100 million settlement in the class-action lawsuit filed in December 2014 claiming that it and other Hollywood studios violated antitrust laws by conspiring to suppress the wages of animation and VFX artists.

According to a report by Variety, the settlement — which was disclosed in a court filing on Tuesday — covers Disney, Pixar, Lucasfilm and Two Pic MC, formerly known as ImageMovers. The Disney settlement follows a $50 million settlement with DreamWorks Animation, $13 million with Sony Imageworks and $5.95 million with 20th Century Fox-owned Blue Sky coming out of the same legal action.
The class-action lawsuit alleges that Disney, Pixar, DreamWorks Animation and other studios violated antitrust laws by conspiring to suppress the wages of animation and VFX artists via non-poaching agreements. The complaint filed by lighting artist Georgia Cano, character effects artist Robert Nitsch and production engineer David Wentworth accuses the studios of suppressing wages since 2004 by refraining from cold-calling employees and sharing news of job offers.
The suit contends that the roots of the anti-poaching agreements go back to the mid-1980s, when George Lucas and Ed Catmull, the president of Steve Jobs’ then-newly formed company Pixar, agreed to not raid each other’s employees. Other companies later joined conspiracy, the suit alleges, including Sony ImageMovers, Lucasfilm and Blue Sky Studios.
Arrangements to freeze wages and not poach employees were the subject of a separate investigation and lawsuit by the U.S. Justice Department in 2010. Several companies agreed to a prohibition against enforcing anti-poaching pacts for a period of five years, which ended the DOJ review, but in 2011, a class-action lawsuit was brought against Pixar, Lucasfilm, Apple, Google, Adobe and Intuit. The first two companies settled claims for $9 million while the other companies have gone to an appeals court after Koh rejected a $325 million settlement as insufficient.
The U.S. District Court in San Jose has scheduled a hearing on the Disney settlement for March 9th, 2017.

And with that said like Batman, let’s stay inside the shadow next time on Gene Scallop’s box office report.

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