Dreamworks Animation and Pearl Studio’s Abominable rolled up $650K from early Thursday night previews that began at 6PM in 2,950 theaters. That figure is $200K shy of the $850K made a year ago by another Yeti movie, Warner Bros.’ Smallfoot which went on to have a $6.4M Friday and $23M opening. Abominable is the only big studio wide entry this weekend.
Comscore reports that there’s 5% K-12 schools on break today, and because school is in session, you can’t expect much from animated feature previews at this time of year. Abominable‘s might will be truly realized tomorrow from matinees. DWA’s Home back in March 2015 did $650K off 7PM screenings via 20th Century Fox before chalking up a $15.7M first day and $52M opening.
The hope is that Abominable will bust $20M this weekend, though tracking has the Universal released title as low as $17M. Family animation has always been a fixture during the millennium at the late September B.O. with Hotel Transylvania 2 being the record opener with $48.4M in 2015, and its 2012 first installment Hotel Transylvania at $42.5M being the best start for an original feature toon. Estimated cost for Abominable per one source is $75M, with Pearl Studios’ (formerly Oriental Dreamworks, now owned by China Media Capital) funding the majority of that at around 60%. Most of the movie though was made at the DWA Glendale campus. Because Abominable is a Sino foreign co-production, Uni and Pearl will share 43% of the pic’s China box office versus the standard 25%. The production companies also share in ancillary markets whereas in a standard studio import, no Chinese ancillary revenue is shared. Pearl Studios is of course releasing the movie in China on Oct. 1, therefore the 18% distribution fee usually paid to China Film Group will not be taken off the top.
If Abominable falls to second, it will be because of Uni’s sister label Focus Features and the power of their senior femme-skewing pic Downton Abbey which could see $17M, -45%, in its second weekend. The movie has been kicking ass in its weekdays, with fans already seeing the pic two or three times. First week’s cume is at an estimated $44M.