Interstellar: Decent but not Great Reviews, Tough Competition from Disney Animation Big Hero 6

It was a fierce competition at the box-office this weekend, Nov 7-9, 2014.  Family audiences lifted Disney animation Big Hero 6 over Christopher Nolan’s space adventure, Interstellar, whoich depended on fanboys and girls admiring Matthew McConaughey.
“Big Hero 6″ topped the charts with $56.2 million from 3,761 locations, continuing Walt Disney Animation Studios’ recent hot streak. After the success of “Frozen” and “Wreck It Ralph,” the division is no longer the also-run to Pixar, its corporate partner.

“They have been on quite the roll,” said Dave Hollis, Disney’s distribution chief. “They’re in a creative renaissance.”

“Interstellar” scored a sizable $50 million from 3,561 locations, according to studio estimates. If “Interstellar’s” numbers hold, it will mark only the fourth time in history that two films have debuted to more than $50 million at the domestic box office, and each one of the previous occasions took place in the summer when ticket sales are at their highest.

Both films carry massive $165 million price tags, so in order to turn a profit, they must resonate with viewers across the globe. They also will need to demonstrate staying power. Nolan’s “Inception,” another trippy blockbuster, managed to become one of 2010’s biggest hits because it was a box office Energizer Bunny, holding on to first place on the charts for three consecutive weeks and dropping a meagre 32% and 35% in its second and third weekends.

Likewise, Walt Disney Studios’ recent global blockbuster “Frozen” refused to loosen its hold on audiences. Despite opening over Thanksgiving, it continued to generate impressive returns through February of 2014. Having a ubiquitous power ballad like “Let it Go” didn’t hurt matters.

Paramount Pictures released “Interstellar” domestically, while Warner Bros. handled the foreign rollout. “Interstellar” kicked off in few hundred Imax and film projection locations on Tuesday before expanding on Thursday evening. Its total is $52.1 million, with Imax comprising was $13.4  or 26% of its opening weekend gross, while and other premium large format screens were responsible for 10.5% of that figure.

“Interstellar” stars Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway and Jessica Chastain and centers on a group of space explores who leave an ecologically devastated earth to travel through wormholes in order to find a new home for humanity. Popular and critical response has been polarized — some hail it as visionary, others default it for being ponderous and sentimental.

“Big Hero 6″ has enjoyed warmer reviews ( a 91% “Fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes versus a 73% mark for “Interstellar). Loosely based on a Marvel Comics series of the same name, the film follows a science prodigy and his lovable robot as they stumble upon a criminal conspiracy. Co-directed by Don Hall (“Winnie the Pooh”) and Chris Williams (“Bolt”) the film’s voice cast features Scott Adsit, Damon Wayans Jr. and Maya Rudolph.

Opening weakend audiences were evenly split between males and females, with 36% of the crowd coming in under the age of 12. Hollis said he was pleased that 20% of the audience was between 26 and 34 and 16% was between 35 to 49.

“It works with older audiences,” he said. “It’s not just families and kids.”

“Interstellar” and “Big Hero 6’s” big grosses didn’t result in too many leftovers. “Gone Girl” scored third place with $6.1 million bringing its total to $145 million, while “Ouija” captured fourth place with $6 million, pushing its earnings to $43.5 million.