Big Hero 6 claimed the top spot in the domestic box office over Interstellar this weekend with an estimated $56.2 million from 3,761 theaters.
This is only $6.2 million more than Interstellar, Christopher Nolan’s newest film starring Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway, which came in slightly behind expectations with $50 million from 3,561 theaters. These numbers come after a five-day debut for Interstellar, which opened two days early in 250 theaters at Nolan’s request.
Big Hero 6, inspired by Marvel characters, is another win for Disney Animation Studios. Continuing their winning streak after Frozen and Wreck-It Ralph, this new animation chronicles the special bond that develops between a plus-sized inflatable robot, Baymax (Scott Adsit), and robotics prodigy Hiro Hamada (Ryan Potter). The film depicts Hamada as he transforms Baymax and his adrenaline-seeking friends into a hand of high-tech heroes determined to help the city of San Fransokyo.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, if Sunday’s estimates hold, this weekend will be added to a historical trend.
“This weekend will be only the fourth time in history that two films sharing the marquee have opened to $50 million or more,” wrote Pamela McClintock. “In all three previous instances, they were an animated and live-action movie – Monsters University and World War Z; Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa and Prometheus, and Wall-E and Wanted – and in all three cases, the animated offering won.”
Interstellar chronicles a group of explorers who make use of a newly discovered wormhole to surpass the limitations on human space travel and conquer the vast distances involved in an interstellar voyage.
Paramout and Warner Bros partnered to make Interstellar. The film marks Nolan’s lowest domestic opening since The Prestige in 2006 and is the first of his films since Insomnia in 2002 not to come in No. 1 in the domestic box office.
Despite these less-than-ideal numbers, Paramount vice chairman Rob Moore believes the film will be played for a long time, comparing it to Nolan’s Inception.
“Interstellar received a B+ CinemaScore, just like Inception. Christopher Nolan doesn’t make the most straightforward movie,” said Moore. “They are compelling and sophisticated and our assumption is that, similar to Inception, this movie will play for a very, very long time.”
Both Interstellar and Big Hero 6 cost $165 million to make so they need to do well globally to make a profit.