The latest film to get an impressive 3D makeover from Disney, “Finding Nemo,” posted a solid second-place in opening weekend domestic box-office of $16.7 million behind the newest original 3D release, the fifth episode of Sony’s franchise, “Resident Evil: Retribution,” with $21.1 mil.
“Resident Evil,” which enjoyed 48% of its grosses from premium-priced 3D movie tickets, also had the benefit of the added IMAX and other large screen format ticket premiums, which accounted for a combined 18%. But 96% of ticket sales netted by “Nemo” were from 3D showings, which is typical of converted re-releases, according to BoxOfficeMojo.com.
“Nemo’s” three-day tally was only a tail fin below the Jan. 13 opening weekend of Disney’s 3D re-release of “Beauty and the Beast,” which also waltzed to second place with $17.8 mil. and “Titanic 3D” in April with $17. 3 million. “Beauty” charmed its way to $23.5 mil. over the four-day holiday weekend, 97% of which came from 3D, before topping out at $47.6 mil. “Titanic” was a splash better with $58 mil. domestic. “Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace” had $22 mil. in February but appeared to Jar Jar Binked when it fizzled quickly to a final total of $43.5 mil. All four were significantly under the industry-shocking opening weekend of a 3D conversion of “The Lion King” last September, which grabbed $30.2 mil. and went on to collect a total of $94 mil. at the domestic box-office and $177 mil. worldwide. “Titanic 3D” rode a foreign wave to a whopping $286 mil. outside the U.S. (including more than $100 mil. from the film’s first release in China) for a huge global haul of $344 mil. worldwide.
“Nemo,” with $865.6 mil. in global box-office before this weekend, is the second-biggest Pixar movie of all-time behind “Toy Story 3,” according to Hollywood.com/BoxOffice. That movie was initially released in 3D following tepid ticket sales for a double-bill re-release of 3D conversions of “Toy Story” and “Toy Story 2″ that topped out at about $30 mil. in 2009.
The 3D presentation for “Nemo” is one of the strongest yet for the studio, which tends to play the format pretty conservatively. The inherent underwater visuals in “Nemo” provide a panoply of opportunities for showcasing dynamic depth between all the fish — individual and in schools, as well as the reefs and other aquatic lifeforms. It also gives the dark and scary scenes a more palpable sense of fear. Preceding the release is the latest Toy Story Toons 3D short called “Partysaurus Rex,” which offers a clever concept and a flotilla of new characters in bathtub toys. Although it is not carried out with as much humor as one might expect, the 3D opportunities abound and are exploited fairly well.