Monday Morning Quarterback
By BOP Staff
April 4, 2011
It would have been more fun if the bunnies had been evil.Kim Hollis: Hop, the latest major animated release from Universal, opened to $37.5 million. Do you see this as a good, bad or middling result for a non-franchise release from someone other than Pixar/DreamWorks?
Josh Spiegel: Hop looked stupid. I mean, really, really horrible. What's more, the reviews reflect that my perception of the movie isn't far off from the film's quality. So I see this as a win. I'm not sure that it'll hold up as well as something like Alvin and the Chipmunks, but with the biggest (or one of the biggest) names involved in the film doing the voice of an animated rabbit, I think Universal should be happy with a result nearing $40 million.
Reagen Sulewski: This is the reason why studios keep throwing out animated releases, even after they've saturated the market - there might be the occasional world beating bomb like Mars Needs Moms, but very often you're going to catch people by surprise with something like Hop. It's worth the risk. My overall take is that it's a triumph of character design - the main characters are extremely cute and appealing to young children, and the movie is reasonably timely. Score one for pandering, I guess.
Edwin Davies: I think this is a good result in terms of Universal building themselves as a brand like Pixar or DreamWorks. Aside from playing on the obvious appeal of the main character - rabbits are, with the exceptions of Watership Down and Monty Python and The Holy Grail, never not adorable - the marketing really hammered home that this was a film from the people behind Despicable Me, and I think that at least part of the reason why this one broke out was because of the residual goodwill from that film.
David Mumpower: Edwin touches upon a key aspect of this. When Despicable Me was released, we debated the intrinsic value of the heavy Minions tie-ins at Best Buy and in some other unique venues. Hop is the moment when all of those plans make more sense as the popularity of those creatures allows a form of identity when they are used to introduce the commercials for Hop. The end result is that a product every bit as heinous as Josh describes winds up being one of the biggest openings of 2011 to date. Reagen is correct in noting that the fuzzy looks of the creatures is a huge boon in this regard ("It's so fluffy!!!"), which means that in addition to stealing a lot of unjustified box office revenue, Hop will make a fortune in merchandising tie-ins. Stuff like this is why we all grow cynical.
Coming soon: Syntax Highlighting - The MovieKim Hollis: Source Code, Duncan Jones's follow-up to BOP fave Moon, opened to $14.8 million. Is this a good result for a Summit sci-fi release starring Jake Gyllenhaal?
Josh Spiegel: Honestly, for any Summit movie that isn't a Twilight film, this is a good result. The movie had a simple enough hook (and combines elements of movies as diverse as 12 Monkeys and Groundhog Day), and Gyllenhaal looks much more appropriate here than he does in something like Prince of Persia. And I'm also glad the movie did so solidly for Summit, as it will prove that Duncan Jones can continue making compelling sci-fi films. Of course, it'd be nice if the numbers for Hop and Source Code were reversed, but that is too much to ask of the American public.