In terms of critical and commercial success, Disney has always managed to garner a reputation as one of the most prolific Hollywood studios in existence. Their efforts can often be described as painstaking – particularly when it comes to its animated offerings — and as such have resulted in Disney’s preeminence in the ongoing evolution of animated filmmaking.
This distinction was once again confirmed at the 88th Academy Awards, where the Mouse House and Pixar took home the Best Animated Feature Oscar for their wildly successful Inside Out. Mere days after bringing this trophy home, Disney released its latest animated effort, Zootopia.
As it stands, things are already look promising for Zootopia. The tale of rabbit cop Judy (Ginnifer Goodwin) and crafty fox Nick (Jason Bateman) working together to solve a case, has already scored the best opening weekend ever for a Disney Animation film, taking in $73.7 million. In addition to this, the film has the distinct honor of being the best-reviewed movie of 2016 thus far (currently sitting at 99% on Rotten Tomatoes).
Disney Animation’s previous record for best three-day opening was technically held by Big Hero 6 (which brought in $56 million), though Frozen grossed $67.4 million when it went into wide release in 2013 (after opening in NY/LA markets a week earlier). Beyond this achievement, Zootopia has also claimed the top spot for a March animated opening, knocking the previous champ – Universal’s 2012 adaptation of Dr Seuss’ The Lorax, which had brought in $70 million – out of the top spot. Internationally, the film secured Disney Animation its biggest opening ever in Germany, India, Russia, and China, meaning the film’s current worldwide gross stands somewhere around the $232.5 million mark.
At this point, Disney is sure to be feeling quite confident with this title. Such positive and powerful returns so early on will likely only continue, meaning Zootopia will be one of the studio’s standouts in 2016. At present there isn’t much in the way of animated competition at the box office, which may mean Zootopia will have some serious legs in terms of its earning potential. It is important to note, however, that a big March opening isn’t a guarantee of success – The Lorax scored big in its initial days and while it was hardly a failure, when compared to other successful animated titles, the film didn’t quite manage to soar as high as its opening weekend would have suggested.
All talk of staying power aside, Disney’s potential domination over animated box-office returns looks secure for 2016. Zootopia’s current success could end up looking like little more than an opening act for Pixar’s upcoming Finding Nemo sequel, Finding Dory, followed by the release of the Disney animated musical Moana this fall. Who knows, all three of those animated films may wind up dominating this year’s box office and next year’s awards season.
Zootopia is now playing in 2D, 3D, and IMAX 3D theaters.