For many moviegoers, this past Thanksgiving weekend included a colorful journey to the land of the dead, alongside a young Mexican dreamer and aspiring musician accompanied by his faithful dog.
Yes, I’m talking about Pixar’s latest feature-length film Coco, which debuted over the five-day weekend at $71 million domestically. This puts Coco at the fourth highest grossing movie to ever open Thanksgiving weekend, behind recent animated Disney hits like 2013’s Frozen ($94 million) and last year’s Moana ($82 million).
Coco is proving successful in international markets as well. The film reached a total of $53.4 million in Mexico, where it opened three weeks ago, making it the country’s highest grossing release of all time. It also garnered an impressive $18.2 million in China over three days, and is set to roll out in France, Germany, and Spain next.
At its heart, Coco is the story of Miguel, a young boy who dreams of becoming a musician like his ancestors, set against the backdrop of the Mexican holiday The Day of the Day/Día de los Muertos. Veteran Pixar composer Michael Giacchino created the score for Coco, and there are a number of original songs, most notably “Remember Me,” written by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez.
The film’s creators made great efforts to ensure Coco would be culturally authentic with the help of cultural consultants. Coco is also one of the biggest U.S. productions to feature a predominantly all-Latino cast, and this representation is credited as one of the reasons for Coco’s opening weekend success.
Disney also positioned the short, 21-minute film Olaf’s Frozen Adventure to play before Coco in U.S. theaters this weekend, for a limited time, which may have brought in some die-hard Frozen fans.
These impressive box office numbers come despite last week’s allegations of sexual misconduct against Pixar co-founder and Disney Animation Chief Creative Officer John Lasseter, who announced he is taking a six-month leave of absence.
With minimal animated competition currently at the theaters (most notably The Star) and the epic blockbuster of Star Wars: The Last Jedi still several weeks out, Coco has a good shot of riding at the top of the box office for a while longer.