Tuesday, December 8, 2015

"The Good Dinosaur" Looks to Be Pixar's First Flop

As people are already starting to compile their "Best of 2015" lists, it seems like one name is cropping up more often than not: Inside Out. Earlier this year, Pixar released one of their strongest films in quite some time - both critically and financially. However, it doesn't seem like the love is sticking around for another particular oddball: The Good Dinosaur. It's the first time in the company's history that they have released a second movie in one year. What should've been a gimme during the Thanksgiving weekend (as well as correlating with the 20th anniversary of Toy Story) ended up as a different rarity for the studio. The Good Dinosaur "bombed." Well, not bombed necessarily. It opened with one of the lowest debuts in their history. It's only a few weeks later, and it very well may become their lowest grossing film ever, as subsequent sales haven't been so hot.

There's a lot going against The Good Dinosaur at this point. For starters, it is opening up with some stiff competition. Having opened the week after The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 (which still remains atop the box office), it didn't exactly have the best shot at being the top dog. However, its opening still feels low considering the lack of young children entertainment out there. In its second weekend, The Good Dinosaur dropped by 60% with a current total of $131.3 million according to Variety. Beyond having a low box office within Pixar's history, there's another factor to include: it needs to gross AT LEAST $500 million in order to get a profit. Considering that the average Pixar film drops by less than 50% in subsequent weeks, that's looking pretty faulty and placing The Good Dinosaur on track to be the lowest grossing film since A Bug's Life, which made $363.4 million.

The one silver lining is that it hasn't opened in every market. The second most profitable country, China, has yet to have the film released. Still, it has opened in 59% of its international markets. Things could easily turn around. There's also hope that it will experience a resurgence as the Christmas season rolls on, as there's very little family alternatives out there - save for Alvin and the Chipmuks: Road Chip

Of course, there's less of a chance with next week's other big opener Star Wars: The Force Awakens. It's a film that's already broken presale ticket sales and even has the likes of Steven Spielberg predicting it to be the biggest film of all time. To be honest, everything else in December is likely to be sucked into the black hole that is Star Wars much like how nothing seemed to beat Avatar for its first few months. So as much as you're likely expecting Joy or The Hateful Eight to be big money makers, you may not get your wish entirely. Either that, or we're in for a very interesting box office season.

This isn't the first film to bomb during this Oscar season. Another noteworthy example is director Danny Boyle's underrated Steve Jobs. It's a film that has gotten flack for being about an unappealing subject (with Silicon Valley workers detesting the film at every turn) and not really having much to say on it. While I personally loved the film, I can understand why it wasn't the biggest money maker. I cannot say the same for The Good Dinosaur, which may be one of the less critically praised films in Pixar's canon, but is still a Pixar film nonetheless. I do hope things turn around for the film and that everything this month will not be as doomed by Star Wars as we think.

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