Thu | Jul 27, 2017

Marvel-ous opening for Big Hero 6

Published:Monday | November 10, 2014 | 11:00 AM
Baymax and his prodigy pal Hiro star in 'Big Hero 6'. Contributed Photos
Actress Anne Hathaway stars in 'Interstellar', with Matthew McConaughey.
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LOS ANGELES (AP): A team of animated Marvel characters rocketed past a group of wormhole-bound astronauts at the box office over the weekend.

Disney's animated adventure Big Hero 6, featuring the inflatable robot Baymax and his prodigy pal Hiro from the Marvel comic book, debuted in first place with US$56.2 million, according to studio estimates yesterday. Paramount's space saga Interstellar, starring Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway as astronauts, took off in second place with US$50 million, according to the estimates.

Before launching in more than 3,500 cinemas this weekend writer/director Christopher Nolan's Interstellar played last Wednesday and Thursday in about 250 cinemas equipped to project the movie on film - The Dark Knight filmmaker's preferred method of showcasing his creations.

Interstellar opened below Nolan's previous film, the mind-bending thriller Inception, which conjured up US$62.8 million when it debuted in 2010. Nolan's sci-fi odyssey also wasn't in the orbit of last year's US$55.8 million opening for Paramount's previous space epic, Gravity.

hefty running time

Interstellar has a hefty running time of 169 minutes, while Gravity clocked in at 91 minutes.

"The difference is Interstellar isn't in 3D - and certainly the running time on our film does change the play pattern in that you lose an evening show," said Megan Colligan, Paramount's head of Domestic Marketing and Distribution. "Given those factors, we did spectacularly well. Gravity also opened by itself. We had another big film in the marketplace."

If the estimates hold up, this weekend will mark the fourth time in box office history that a pair of films both opened with US$50 million or above. The previous matchups were Monsters University and World War Z in 2013; Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted and Prometheus in 2012; and WALL-E vs Wanted in 2008.

In each instance, the animated option came out on top.

"Both movies were able to do well without cannibalising each other's audiences," said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for Rentrak. "By opening a diversity of product against each other the industry can expand the marketplace. It's a perfect example of counterprogramming. It paid off for the industry and it just doesn't happen that often."

Dergarabedian noted the box office total was down about seven per cent, compared with the corresponding weekend last year when the Disney superhero sequel Thor: The Dark World opened with US$85.7 million.

Following are estimated ticket sales for Friday to yesterday at United States and Canadian cinemas, according to Rentrak. Final domestic figures will be released today.

1. Big Hero 6, US$56.2 million

3. Interstellar, US$50 million

3. Gone Girl, US$6.1 million

4. Ouija, US$6 million

5. St Vincent, US$5.7 million

6. Nightcrawler, US$5.5 million

7. Fury, US$5.5 million

8. John Wick, US$4 million

9. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, US$3.5 million

10. The Book of Life, US$2.8 million.