Dreamworks Animation’s ‘Abominable’ froze out what little competition it had this weekend to take the #1 spot, with $20.85 million ($30M worldwide). That gives Universal a rare honor, with the most #1 movies of 2019, topping Disney, with eight. It is also the third #1 opening for an original movie, following ‘Us’ and ‘Good Boys’, both of which hailed from Universal.
This is the first Dreamworks Animation film to open in September. In a push for diversity, DWA employed a largely Asian American cast including ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s Chloe Bennet, Albert Tsai (‘Dr. Ken’) and Tenzing Norgay Trainor (‘Liv & Maddie’), as opposed to an all-star celebrity voice cast, as is the norm with DWA films. That could account for this so-so opening, which may have benefited by some more familiar voices.
Universal made a direct marketing push to appeal to Asian Americans, which included presenting the movie in Mandarin via the TheaterEars app, making this the first time an American film has been presented in theaters with a Chinese language option. (Even so, the majority of audiences were still Caucasian.)
$20.2M isn’t a massive opening, but ‘Abominable’ may benefit from word-of-mouth, as audiences are falling in love. It earned an A CinemaScore, and 4 stars via PostTrak. Critics are favorable overall– its Rotten Tomatoes score is 80%.
‘Downton Abbey’ is benefiting from repeat viewings from die-hard fans. The Top Five was rounded out by hold-overs ‘Hustlers’, ‘It: Chapter Two’, and ‘Ad Astra’.
- Abominable (Dreamworks Animation/Pearl/Universal) – $20.85M
- Downton Abbey (Focus Features) – $14.5M
- Hustlers (STX Entertainment) – $11.5M
- It: Chapter Two (Warner Brothers) – $10.4M
- Ad Astra (Fox/Disney) – $10.1M
The box office lull is coming to a close. ‘Joker’ opens next weekend and is expected to generate sales in the $80M range. After that comes Ang Lee’s ‘Gemini Man’ starring Will SmithX2, and ‘The Addams Family’. So the fall box office is starting to shape up.
Check back to see how things go.