ToonBox/Red Rover’s The Nut Job scored the biggest opening weekend gross for an animated film released in January, but let’s face it, that wasn’t a hard record to break.
The Nut Job‘s $25.7 million opening actually bests the opening weekend grosses of smaller-scale animated releases like Escape from Planet Earth and Free Birds, so the film’s success may make January a new home for animated features of the lower budget variety. Maybe even some of the big budget endeavors.
January, usually considered a dumping ground for movies in general, wasn’t exactly a go-to place for animated features. Duds like Happily N’ever After and the like usually got released during this month, though February is now something of a new spot for profitable/successful animated features: Coraline, Gnomeo & Juliet, Escape from Planet Earth. The Lego Movie should make it the new go-to month for animation. Paramount Animation has their SpongeBob SquarePants movie sequel set for February 2015, and Illumination’s original feature is going to hit theaters in February 2016.
But one thing’s for certain, The Nut Job is sure to turn a profit before The Lego Movie arrives and leaves it in the dust. This is actually distributor Open Road Films’ biggest opener. Maybe it could convince other small distributors (Relativity released Free Birds, though it wasn’t successful) to invest in small-scale animation, maybe even foreign films and give them wide releases here in the states. Tons of features are just waiting for that.