LAIKA’s ‘Missing Link’ Disappoints in Opening Weekend
LAIKA’s new animated comedy-adventure, Missing Link, got off to a rough start at the box office in its opening weekend, generating just $5.8 million, according to Box Office Mojo estimates. Tracking estimates had put the film between $10-$15 million, which while modest, still proved highly inaccurate and overly optimistic. However, with a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 89%, and a slew of positive reviews, the film, billed as the studio’s first “comedy,” seemed poised to reach a broader audience than their previous efforts. But, like with Aardman’s recent comedy, Early Man, which opened to a dismal $3.1 million last February on its way to a paltry worldwide total of $54.6 million, audiences don’t seem nearly as enamored with stop-motion features as they did in years passed.
Missing Link’s debut marks the studio’s worst opening ever, a significant drop off from their last film, the Oscar-nominated Kubo and the Two Strings, which scored $12.6 million in its August 2016 opening weekend, eventually generating almost $70 million worldwide. LAIKA’s fifth feature film, Missing Link was written and directed by Chris Butler, who also wrote and directed the studio’s 2012 effort, ParaNorman, which opened with $14 million on its way to a $107 million global cume. Missing Link also is the first studio film distributed under a new deal with Annapurna and United Artists – previous films had been released through Focus Features.
Elsewhere at the box office, Warner Bros.’ and New Line’s Shazam! continued it’s run atop the pack, generating another $25.1 million for a domestic total of $94.9, with an additional $126.3 million overseas. A superhero comedy that has appealed to both fans and critics, Shazam! easily beat out newcomer Hellboy, an R-rated reboot that scored unfavorably both with critics and paying theatre-goers, bringing in only $12 million in its theatrical debut.
Tim Burton and Disney’s live-action remake of animated classic Dumbo continued its mediocre run, generating $9.1 million in its third week in theatres for a domestic haul of $89.9 million and a worldwide total of $266.9 million. With a reported budget of $170, Dumbo seems unlikely to come close to making money for the studio, and represents another rough Disney live-action effort, coming on the heels of less than stellar results for their previously released Mary Poppins Returns ($171.9 million domestic / $349 million worldwide), The Nutcracker and the Four Realms ($54.8 / $173.9), Disney’s Christopher Robin ($99.2 / $197.7) and A Wrinkle in Time ($100.4 / $132.6).
However, the studio’s Marvel offerings continue to come up huge with fans around the world, with Captain Marvel generating another $8.6 million for a worldwide cume of $1.06 billion. With Avengers: Endgame hitting theatres in less than two weeks, Marvel’s 2019 seems destined for continued greatest at the box office and in the hearts of fans around the world. Endgame is currently tracking to generate the biggest theatrical opening of all time, which based on Marvel’s track record, may actually be an understatement.
Source: Box Office Mojo
Dan Sarto is Publisher and Editor-at-Large of Animation World Network.