Disney, be it through their traditionally animated works or especially Pixar, has had a stranglehold on the Best Animated Feature race at the Oscars. The category began in 2001. Of the 21 winners, 15 are from the Mouse Factory. That includes 9 out of the last 10 (the outlier is Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse).
The Disney domination appears fragile in 2022. Their adventure tale Strange World, focused on a legendary group of explorers, hits multiplexes over the Turkey Day weekend. Don Hall and Qui Nguyen direct with a voice cast including Jake Gyllenhaal, Dennis Quaid, Jaboukie Young-White, Gabrielle Union, and Lucy Liu.
With its review embargo up, the Rotten Tomatoes meter is at 72%. That’s pretty low for this studio’s product. The Pixar offering from earlier in the year, Turning Red, sits at 95%. Now that World has been seen, it appears Red is Disney’s strongest contender to take the Academy’s prize. In fact, Strange World could miss the top five altogether.
However, Red is expected to come up short to Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio from Netflix. We were waiting to see if Strange could present a challenge. It will not and my Oscar prediction posts will continue…
The last time Dennis Quaid and Jake Gyllenhaal played father and son, it was nearly 20 years ago in Roland Emmerich’s disaster epic The Day After Tomorrow. For the upcoming holiday, they’re family again in the Mouse Factory’s animated Strange World (out Wednesday November 23rd). Voicing a pair of explorers in the sci-fi themed adventure, Don Hall (who made Big Hero 6 and Raya and the Last Dragon) and Qui Nguyen direct. Other voices getting in on the action include Jaboukie Young-White, Gabrielle Union, and Lucy Liu.
Disney is no stranger to releasing high profile product over the long Turkey Day frame. Sometimes that’s Pixar material or traditionally drawn fare such as this. Frozen remains the gold standard. It debuted to $67 million for the Friday to Sunday portion of Thanksgiving weekend with $93 million when counting Wednesday and Thursday. Other Disney releases like Moana and Coco made off with $82 and $72 million over their respective first five. On the other hand, The Good Dinosaur grossed just under $40 million from Friday to Sunday in 2015 with $55 million for the extended period. Perhaps the best comp is last year’s Encanto. It made $27 million for the three-day with $40 million for the five.
The buzz seems strangely quiet considering the studio pedigree. I would argue Encanto had more heat before it opened. Strange could manage only a second place start behind the third outing for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (which does give Disney a one-two punch for the weekend). This might open a little closer to Dreamworks Animation’s Penguins of Madagascar from eight Thanksgivings ago at $25 million (Fri-Sun) and $35 million (Wed-Sun). It might even fall short of that.
Strange World opening weekend prediction: $19.3 million (Friday to Sunday); $26.7 million (Wednesday to Sunday)
The pitch is a rebooted cinematic version of the Charlie’s Angels franchise, but I suspect its opening gross will be far from perfect. Elizabeth Banks directs and costars with Kristen Stewart, Naomi Scott, and Ella Balinska in the three lead roles. The supporting cast includes Djimon Hounsou, Sam Claflin, and Patrick Stewart.
In the early 2000s, Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz, and Lucy Liu brought the 1970s TV hit to the big screen with McG directing. The first entry in 2000 took in $125 million while the 2003 sequel earned $100 million.
Expectations are not as high this time around. While Stewart has been making the rounds (including an SNL hosting gig), I believe this could fall victim to the franchise fatigue we’ve already witnessed in 2019 with the Men in Black and Terminator series, to name a couple.
I would anticipate a #2 debut behind Ford v Ferrari and I question whether Angels can handle a start of over $20 million… or even $15 million.
Charlie’s Angels opening weekend prediction: $14.2 million
Jack Black is back kicking it again as Po in Dreamworks Animation’s Kung Fu Panda 3, out next weekend. The threequel comes nearly five years after the second installment with a slew of famous faces voicing characters in the martial arts comedy toon. They include Angelina Jolie Pitt, Dustin Hoffman, Lucy Liu, Jackie Chan, Seth Rogen, Bryan Cranston, Kate Hudson, J.K. Simmons, and David Cross.
In 2008, the original Panda chopped its way to a fabulous $60 million opening on its way to a $215 million domestic haul. The inevitable 2011 sequel couldn’t quite match that performance with a $47 million premiere and $165 million take. Part 3, unlike its two predecessors, isn’t debuting in the summer so competition is less steep. That said, the five year old layover could lead to slightly dwindling returns once again.
Kung Fu Panda 3 will almost undoubtedly set one record: biggest animated opening of all time in January (it only needs to top the $19.4 million accomplished by The Nut Job two years ago). It should double that at least, but I’ll predict it has the lowest opening of the trio.
Kung Fu Panda 3 opening weekend prediction: $41.7 million
For my Fifty Shades of Black prediction, click here: