The Winter Soldier Freezes Rio 2
By John Hamann
April 13, 2014
While I am sure the studio is satisfied that their film opened to $39 million, the reality is that the news was a lot better yesterday than today. Still, North America is NOT the market Fox is concentrating on for Rio 2. The original Rio earned a decent $143.6 million stateside versus its $90 million budget, but in today’s movie world that is simply not enough to see a profit. A film like Rio - with its massive marketing spend - would need $250 million in North America alone for Fox to realize a profit, once marketing and other costs not associated with the production budget are included. Instead, the majority of the audience seeing the original film was not in North America, as it earned almost 2.5 times more overseas than it did in domestically. Overseas, Rio earned $341 million versus $143 million in the US and Canada. Rio earned $33.5 million in Brazil alone, and $26.6 million in Mexico.
Rio 2 fits the Fox/Blue Sky mold perfectly. These two companies worked on the Ice Age franchise together, and realized HUGE profits by catering to a worldwide audience. The original Ice Age earned $176 million domestically, and $206 million overseas, amounts that are fairly standard. The sequel, Ice Age: The Meltdown, popped overseas by earning a somewhat flat $195 million domestically, but $460 million abroad – more than double that of the original. The third Ice Age film, Dawn of the Dinosaurs, was exactly flat domestically with $196 million, but it earned $690 million internationally (more than three times the original’s overseas take). Ice Age 3 claimed a staggering worldwide gross of $886 million. Dawn of the Dinosaurs was the third biggest film globally in 2009. Finally in 2012, Continental Drift opened to $161 million stateside (its lowest domestic take in the franchise), but earned $716 million overseas. There is no reason to think that the Rio franchise will work differently. Overseas, Rio 2 has already earned $125 million over what should be an extended run of excellence.
Rio 2 cost $103 million to make, up about $10 million from the original. It didn’t receive great reviews for an animated product, coming in with a 49% score at Rotten Tomatoes. Critics call it too busy, but they aren’t 10-years-old. It received an A from the Cinemascore people, so word-of-mouth shouldn’t be an issue. Domestically, it has forever until real competition arrives in theaters. How To Train Your Dragon 2 isn’t out until June 13th, and I think Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return will only have an Oogiegloves experience on May 9th.
Third spot this weekend goes to the spooker Oculus, the low budget pick up being released domestically by Relativity Media. Made for $5 million but acquired up by Relativity for only $1.5 million (plus marketing), Oculus earned a decent $4.9 million on Friday and turned that into a weekend take of $12 million. While not a huge gross, given the pickup cost it should be a decent entry for the studio. Oculus had the best reviews for new films heading into the weekend at 70% fresh; however, it had a dreadful Cinemascore, as the company handed it a dismal C rating. I don’t see a franchise built out of this one, only a quick filler in the schedule.