Cartoons at the box office: “Peabody” is awarded second place

Mr. Peabody and ShermanThis weekend’s box office saw “Mr. Peabody and Sherman” debut in second place, earning $33 million. This is behind “300: Rise of an Empire”‘s $45 million first place debut, unfortunately. Since I disliked the original “300,” I was hoping “Peabody” would beat it at the box office, but apparently that wasn’t the case. In “Peabody”‘s case, it also had strong competition from the other animated films at the box office this weekend, plus it’ll have new competition in “Muppets Most Wanted” coming out in a few weeks.

I saw “Peabody” yesterday and enjoyed it… it seemed reasonably faithful to the original, while updating some aspects. For instance, more minorities are seen in historical eras visited, including what I assume was Jackie Robinson’s first major-league baseball game, as well as with Sherman’s friends at school. There’s also an increased emphasis on their “unusual” family situation, maybe as an analogy to the treatment by some of same-sex parents? Yes, there’s more father-son emphasis here, versus the original’s “dog and his pet boy”/”the Doctor and his traveling companion” scenario.

However, “Peabody” cost $145 million (almost the same budget as “Frozen”), plus its debut is one of the lowest-ranking ones for a DreamWorks film. As others have noted, it’s also based on a fairly old and, nowadays, minor cartoon that kids/younger adults might not’ve seen or heard of, “Rocky and Bullwinkle” (and its “Peabody’s Improbable History” segment). Still, I’m guessing this won’t discourage DreamWorks from producing the proposed all-CGI “Rocky and Bullwinkle” film (or maybe a “George of the Jungle” or “Dudley Do-Right” film). They didn’t buy Classic Media (and the Jay Ward library with it, among other shows) for the heck of it, after all.

As for the aforementioned competition, “The Lego Movie” came in fourth place with $11 million, for a total to date of $225 million. Meanwhile, “Frozen” is still, well, frozen, in eighth place, earning $3 million for a total of $393 million to date.

Next week sees a “Fast and the Furious”-like film come out (“Need For Speed”), as well as a new Tyler Perry film, “Tyler Perry’s The Single Moms Club.”

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