The domestic box office received a much-needed boost this weekend with the release of Warner Bros.' Tom & Jerry. While the film is also available to stream on HBO Max for the next 31 days, it still managed to bring in $13.7 million in North American ticket sales.
That's the second-best weekend opening amid the COVID-19 pandemic after Wonder Woman 1984, which made $16.7 million over the Christmas holiday in late 2020, despite receiving a hybrid rollout as well. As Variety notes, most major releases of the health crisis era have not been able to cross the $10 million-mark in their debut weekends — not even Tenet ($9.35 million) or The Croods: A New Age ($9.7 million). Internationally, Tom & Jerry netted $25 million for a global total of $38.8 million. Definitely not a bad start for a movie that only cost $79 million to produce and further proof that audiences are willing to brave movie theaters for lighter entertainment that takes their minds off the current state of the world.
“There’s undoubtedly an element of cabin fever among parents and kids at play with these successful family movies during the pandemic, but I also think we’re looking at the beginnings of a larger trend,” Shawn Robbins, Chief Analyst at Box Office Pro, told Variety. “As virus cases decline, vaccines roll out, and more mainstream films start releasing, families are growing more comfortable with the idea of going back to the movies while practicing safe health measures such as mask-wearing and social distancing.”
Another optimistic development is the fact that New York governor Andrew Cuomo is allowing Manhattan theaters (key locations in the U.S.) to reopen at limited capacity.
Disney could see a similar box office outcome next weekend when Raya and the Last Dragon simultaneous opens in theaters and on Disney+. "Tom and Jerry’s ability to exceed expectations despite a day-and-date streaming release and without the biggest markets open signals yet another positive step forward for the industry as a whole," Robbins added.
Directed by Tim Story — perhaps best-known for helming Fox's first two Fantastic Four projects — Tom & Jerry takes the Roger Rabbit approach BY bringing the animated cat and mouse duo into our flesh-and-blood reality. The narrative unfolds at a lavish hotel in New York City, where Tom is hired to get rid of Jerry ahead of an upcoming wedding. Chloë Grace Moretz, Michael Peña, Ken Jeong, Rob Delaney, Colin Jost, and Christina Chong co-star. As of right now, the flick holds a 25% on Rotten Tomatoes.
With a new competitor in town, The Croods sequel fell to the No. 2 slot with $1.2 million in North America. After fourteen weeks in theaters, the prehistoric adventure has made $52 million domestically and $103 million internationally for a global total of $154.3 million. Wonder Woman 1984, on the other hand, took fourth place with an added $710,000 in domestic sales. Its Stateside total now stands at $43.6 million, with a sizable an overseas take of $117.4 million boosting the sequel's global tally to just over $160 million.
(DreamWorks Animation & SYFY WIRE are both owned by NBCUniversal)