Nerds Unite! Big Hero 6, Interstellar Take Off
By John Hamann
November 9, 2014
Going forward, Big Hero 6 should be in a good position to cash in over the Thanksgiving season and throughout the next seven weekends. Reviews were stellar. Big Hero 6 is currently 91% fresh at RottenTomatoes, with only 11 bad reviews out of a possible 118. That’s currently a better score than Wreck-It Ralph, which had an 86% fresh rating, and it was a few points better than Tangled, which finished with an 89% rating. Both Tangled and Wreck-It Ralph earned about four times their opening weekend domestically, and went on to earn $390 and $281 million respectively overseas. Big Hero 6 also earned an A Cinemascore, the same as Wreck-It Ralph, and just short of Tangled’s A+ score. My early prediction for Big Hero 6 is to earn $200 million domestically (it has no animated competition until Penguins of Madagascar on November 28th). It should also surpass $400 million overseas, given the Asian look and feel. Big Hero 6 already has $23 million in revenue from international venues.
Second is a silly word for Interstellar, but that’s where it is despite an expectedly huge opening weekend. The Christopher Nolan flick got started on Wednesday and Thursday on IMAX and large format screens, earning $2.2 million before the weekend began (Nolan is a huge IMAX fan). Then Friday hit, and Interstellar earned a stellar $17 million, but that contained some Thursday preview grosses. That’s just a little bit less than the $17.5 million first Friday for Gravity last year, but again, the Sandra Bullock Oscar-chaser did not have a Big Hero 6 lurking in the background. I have been extremely curious to see how this one was going to play over the remainder of the weekend. It's a long film with a running time of two hours and 49 minutes, and every review fights with itself (“deeply flawed but wholly absorbing,” “thrilling to watch but unmemorable” – and trust me, I could go on and on). Critics love it and hate it at the same time, and the response reminds me a lot of Steven Spielberg’s A.I. Artificial Intelligence.
The rest of the weekend for Interstellar was strong, but it couldn’t keep up with Big Hero 6. The animated film was a full hour shorter than the Chris Nolan flick, was out to 200 fewer venues, and had those rabid kids on its side. Still, the weekend number for Interstellar came in at $50 million, a very strong number for its running time. It becomes the eighth biggest second place film of all time, and given the critical response, should become the water-cooler discussion piece for the next few weekends.
For Chris Nolan, this is more of a Batman Begins type of opening weekend ($48.7 million opening), and is his first non-summer debut since The Prestige opened to $14.8 million in 2006. The Rotten Tomatoes score currently sits at 73%, but Interstellar earned a strong Cinemascore at B+. Keep in mind that Gone Girl earned a B Cinemascore and had killer legs. Interstellar will play well overseas as well. An apt comparison is Gravity, which earned $442 million from theaters outside of North America.