7:37 AM PST 3/4/2016 by Pamela McClintock
The movie — yet another win for Disney Animation Studios — will steal the No. 1 spot from ‘Deadpool’; elsewhere, Gerard Butler’s ‘London Has Fallen’ is pacing behind ‘Olympus Has Fallen,’ while Tina Fey’s ‘Whiskey Tango Foxtrot’ struggles.
Disney’s Zootopia roared to a $19.5 million Friday at the North American box office, where it now looks likely to earn a record $70 million-plus for the weekend.
Zootopia is all but assured of besting Frozen to score the biggest three-day debut of all time for Disney Animation Studios, as well as scoring the top March opening for an animated film, not to mention one of the top starts for any pic in the month.
That’s no small feat, considering Zootopia is original content. And in 2013, Frozen had the advantage of launching over the Thanksgiving holiday when grossing $67.4 million during its first weekend in nationwide release.
Zootopia — sporting a rare 99 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes and earning an A CinemaScore from audiences — is playing in 3,
Overseas, the film is also roaring loudly, crossing the $100 million mark on Friday. Zootopia began rolling out internationally two weeks ago, and this weekend lands in another round of major markets including China, Germany and Russia.
Zootopia is set in a city of anthropomorphic animals, where a rookie bunny cop teams up with a fugitive fox to uncover a conspiracy. Byron Howard and Rich Moore directed the animated film, which features the voices of Ginnifer Goodwin, Jason Bateman, Idris Elba and Jenny Slate.
The family film will easily come in No. 1, ending Deadpool‘s three-week reign. Deadpool still has plenty to celebrate, including crossing the $300 million mark at the domestic box office on Friday.
Among other new titles on the marquee this weekend, Gods of Egypt actor Gerard Butler is returning to theaters in London Has Fallen, the sequel to 2013 hit Olympus Has Fallen.
London Has Fallen earned $7.6 million Friday from 3,490 locations for a projected $21.3 million weekend, behind the $30.4 million debut of Olympus Has Fallen.
Babak Najafi directed the sequel for Millennium, with Focus Features handling distribution duties. Angela Bassett, Aaron Eckhart and Morgan Freeman return alongside Butler. Friday’s gross includes $850,000 in Thursday-night previews.
Tina Fey’s dramedy Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, in which she stars as a war correspondent, grossed $2.4 million from 2,374 theaters Friday for a projected $7 million, one of the lower starts for a Fey film. Based on prerelease tracking, Paramount had hoped for a debut in the $10 million to $12 million range.
Directed by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot is based on Kim Barker’s memoir, The Taliban Shuffle: Strange Days in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Margot Robbie, Martin Freeman and Alfred Molina also star in the pic, which earned a B CinemaScore.
March 4, 12:30 p.m. Updated
March 5, 12:30 a.m. Updated.