Disney-Pixar’s “Coco” has opened with a solid $2.3 million on Tuesday night.
The animated pic is on par with Disney’s “Moana,” which earned $2.6 million from previews during the same frame last year. It went on to gross $82 million over five days.
The family film has been on track to take in $55 million to $60 million at 3,948 venues during the Thanksgiving holiday period from Wednesday to Sunday. Estimates indicate that the costly “Justice League,” which has pulled in a disappointing $111.9 million in its first five days, will come in No. 1 again with about $60 million to $65 million.
“Coco” opens in nearly 2,800 3D locations, 106 premium large format screens, and 268 theaters offering the film in Spanish. Unlike “Justice League,” critics have embraced “Coco” (its Rotten Tomatoes score is currently 95%).
Just before “Coco” began its Tuesday night previews, news broke that animation guru John Lasseter would be taking a six-month leave from the company over allegations of inappropriate behavior toward women. Lasseter, who runs both Pixar and Disney Animation, apologized in an email to those “on the receiving end of an unwanted hug or any other gesture they felt crossed the line.”
It was the latest development in Hollywood’s sexual harassment scandal, but it’s probably not going to have a significant impact on the box office during the holiday time frame.
“Coco” is already a smash in Mexico with $48.8 million — the biggest opening of all time in that market — following its Oct. 20 premiere at the Morelia Film Festival. The central character, voiced by Anthony Gonzalez, is Miguel, a 12-year-old who dreams of becoming a musician. He meets Hector (Gael García Bernal) and sets off to explore his family history in the Land of the Dead.
Lee Unkrich (“Toy Story 3”) directed and Adrian Molina (story artist on “Monsters University”) co-directed the film. Other members of the voice cast include Ana Ofelia Murguía, Jaime Camil, Sofía Espinosa, Luis Valdez, Lombardo Boyar, Benjamin Bratt, Renée Victor, Edward James Olmos, Alanna Ubach, Selene Luna, Alfonso Arau, Herbert Siguenza, Octavio Solis, Gabriel Iglesias, Cheech Marin, and Blanca Araceli.
Disney-Pixar does not provide estimates of the production costs but industry sources say that the price tag is usually in the $175 million to $200 million range.
The Thanksgiving holiday period is prime time for moviegoing, particularly for opening Disney family titles. Disney’s “Frozen” set the record in 2013 with $93 million during the five days, followed by last year’s “Moana” with $82 million, “Toy Story 2” with $80 million, and “Tangled” with $68 million.
Lionsgate’s family drama “Wonder” will also be a factor. The Jacob Tremblay vehicle opened far above expectations with $27 million on its debut weekend and took in $5.7 million on Tuesday, up 44% from Monday, for a five-day total of $37.2 million.