When it comes to movies, don’t mess with Marvel. Just don’t. It doesn’t matter how unknown the property is or obscure the cast is or if the director is a sentient bunny. It doesn’t matter if the only superpowers in play are seasonal allergies. If someone sees fit to bring a Marvel property to the screen, just reserve the week’s box office crown for them.
Case in point: Big Hero 6. Did you know that was a Marvel property? I didn’t at first. The trailers made it look like a cute buddy movie featuring an inflatable robot. Only diehard Marvelites probably knew Big Hero 6 was actually a squadron of manga-inflected superheroes, but did that stop our cadre of Disney-animated do-gooders? Even against the might of the expensively gorgeous sci-fi flick Interstellar? Nah. Big Hero 6 motored to a $56.2 million estimated weekend to become the umpteenth team of Marvel superheroes to finish first at the box office. Sure, it didn’t exactly put up Avengers or Frozen numbers, but amongst 2014 animated movies, only The LEGO Movie performed better right out of the box.
Interstellar, starring Oscar winner Matthew McConaughey, still performed all right, all right, all right. It banked about $50 million over the traditional weekend, and pocketed more than another $2 million from its early IMAX screenings.
Oh, and for those keeping score, this marks only the fourth time that two films have crossed the $50 million mark in the same weekend. The other three examples? All featured animated movies. And all three times, the animated flick came out on top.
With two new releases cruising to more than a combined $100 million, there wasn’t much cash left over for anyone else. Gone Girl was the best of the rest, easing into third place with a rather underwhelming $6.1 million. Ouija took fourth place with around $6 million. And St. Vincent, Bill Murray’s quirky comedy, lost money (earning $5.7 million) but gained position, squeaking into the Top Five for the first time in its five-week run.
Final figures update: 1. Big Hero 6, $56.2 million; 2. Interstellar, $47.5 million; 3. Gone Girl, $6.2 million; 4. Ouija, $5.9 million; 5. Fury, $5.6 million; 6. St. Vincent, $5.4 million.