Box Office Spotlight is a weekly column, appearing Monday mornings, that contains in-depth analysis of a single new release's box office performance the previous weekend.
The Movie: Disney's 'Tangled,' directed by 'Bolt''s Byron Howard and first-time director Nathan Greco – a CGI animated film designed to look like traditional cel animation, albeit in 3D. As is standard practice for both Disney and Pixar, the filmmakers didn't bother too much with names above the title: the movie stars Mandy Moore, Zachary Levi from the TV show 'Chuck', and Ron Perlman.
The Target Audience: Families headed to the mall over Thanksgiving; those with kids too young for the latest, darkest 'Harry Potter' installment.
The Competition: See above. Disney certainly threw 'Tangled' into the frey; not only did the 'Potter' juggernaut continue over the holiday weekend ('Deathly Hallows Part 1' picked up another $76 million over the five days), but Dreamworks' 'Megamind' was still going fairly strong in its fourth week of release. It turns out to have been a canny move, as there were enough family audiences to go around despite the glut of releases. For the full details of the Thanksgiving box office, check out Moviefone's Box Office Report.
The Number: $49 million for the three-day weekend; $69 million for the five-day weekend -- a very strong showing. Disney's had a (non-Pixar) animated release each November for the last three years. 'Tangled' handily outdid both 'The Princess and the Frog,' which followed a hype-building limited release with an extremely disappointing wide roll-out, and 'Bolt,' which opened to around $25 million the weekend before Thanksgiving and then held on to that number over the holiday.
In fact, Disney sort of has the Thanksgiving market cornered: a look at the chart for the all-time best Thanksgiving openings shows Disney owning eight of the top 10 spots for both 3-day and 5-day numbers (with 'Tangled' at number two on both charts, behind 'Toy Story 2'). Not all of these are family films, either; 'Unbreakable' sits at number five.
Staying Power: Well-reviewed family films tend to hold up better than average, as evidenced by, for example, Megamind, which has grossed $130 million in four weeks – nearly three times its $46 million opening number – and is far from done. $200 million would be a stretch for 'Tangled' -- there will be a lot of family-oriented competition in the coming weeks, including a 'Narnia' installment, 'Yogi Bear,' and 'Gulliver's Travels' -- but doable.