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Furry v superheroes; box office in early 2016

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batmanvjudy.jpgAccording to box office tracking site Box Office Mojo, Zootopia has just passed Deadpool to become the highest grossing movie of 2016. It's still early in the year, and Zootopia will most likely have relinquished the crown by 2017, but the beginning of the year has seen furries and superheroes battle it out for dominance at the box office.

As of press time, the current weekly box office champ, on its second weekend, is Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, a superhero showdown of franchise-launching proportions; when the dust settles, it will probably come out ahead of Zootopia, though some film pundits have sensed weakness. The film, while doing massive box office by any standards, has still underperformed compared to predictions both weeks, and has had massive box office drops both from day to day and week to week. Zootopia, while never as massive an opener, has sustained smaller drop-offs and consistently overperformed compared to box office pundit predictions.

But the story of 2016's box office hasn't just been Batman v Superman v Zootopia; as noted, the previous biggest box office of the year was Deadpool, while a look back at the weekly charts reveals its been furries versus superheroes since nearly the beginning of the year.

Two of the top five movies of the year are superhero movies, with Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Deadpool representing, and two are animated anthropomorphic animal movies featuring entirely furry worlds, with Zootopia and Kung Fu Panda 3 representing. In fact, these four movies have lead the North American box office all year; Batman v Superman ended Zootopia's three week streak at the head of the box office pack, which began with the end Deadpool's own three week streak, which ended Kung Fu Panda 3's two week streak. In fact, only one non-superhero, non-furry 2016 release has held the box office crown for a week, Ride Along 2, which is actually currently sitting at ninth on the year box office list. 2015 holdouts Star Wars: The Force Awakens and The Revenant account for the rest of the year's weekly winners.

The fifth movie to make the top five list for biggest box office so far of 2016 is (also arguably furry in a "if you really want to press the point" kind of way) The Mermaid, a Chinese production who's box office is negligible in America, but has taken off in its home country, which has become a major player in the battle for box office dominance. And if there is a battle between furries and superheroes, China is on team furry. Kung Fu Panda 3 is an American/Chinese co-production, while Zootopia was a rare American production to be given an extension to its month-long theatrical run in China (non-Chinese productions are normally only allowed 30 days to play in Chinese theaters). Meanwhile, China has not been so welcoming to Batman v Superman. Outside the top five, sixth place also goes to a Chinese production, Monster Hunt, which was also "furry enough" to gain a Flayrah review.

Beyond box office, furries are definitely winning the critics over. While Deadpool garnered a positive critical response (a "certified fresh" 83% on Rotten Tomatoes), it still lags behind Kung Fu Panda 3's 86%. However, it's the two more recent movies that the divide becomes even clearer; Zootopia has a pretty decent 99% (and reached "certified fresh" status before receiving a single "rotten" review), making it the best reviewed movie of the year so far, while Batman v Superman is a 29% rotten. The movie's apparent early box office success created thinkpieces wondering if critics mattered, which is a bit ironic given that Zootopia is currently both 2016's critical and commercial king.

It should be pointed out that April is early in the year; the final top ten for the year will probably look very different (beyond the top six, many of the movies currently in the top ten, such as Gods of Egypt and The Divergent Series: Allegiant are actually notable box office flops). However, barring Hardcore Henry becoming a surprise sleeper hit next week (admittedly, an experimental R-rated action movie is going to be hard to predict), the pattern should hold for the at least the near future; the movie most likely to dethrone Batman v Superman from the top of the weekly charts in two weeks' time? The Jungle Book.


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I expect The Jungle Book will do very well though I'm not personally excited for it. I hope Ratchet & Clank can make an impact at least, it doesn't seem to have any buzz. XP

The only movie I've seen this year was Kung Fu Panda so I guess I'll just keep waiting till something worth while comes out. Civil War isn't going to get me to the theater either. XP

I'm a different furry with different opinions.

Debut Album out now go stream it plz

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when the dust settles, it will probably come out ahead of Zootopia

I mean, I know that superhero movies are in right now, but wasn't that particular superhero movie, uh, bad?

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To quote Clint Eastwood's character in Unforgiven, when it comes to box office:

"Deserve's got nothing to do with it."

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So you're contrasting furries, people who imagine portray themselves as an anthropomorphic animal, dress up like animals and make puns and decorations revolving around animals, particularly whichever one they identify with, with a man who portrays himself as an anthropomorphic animal, dresses up with an animal theme and make puns and has decorations revolving around animal he particularly identifies with?

"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
~John Stuart Mill~

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Eh, looks like the big competition this week for BvS is The Boss, not Hardcore Henry (though I like Melissa McCarthy, I know where my money's going; mostly Zootopia, though Hardcore Henry will get a look); The Boss isn't predicted to win the weekend, but, as I pointed out, BvS has consistently failed to live up to predictions, though R-rated comedies are also hard to predict.

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General RT update:

The Boss is rottener than BvS, and it doesn't have the built in opening fanbase BvS does (unless I'm significantly underestimating the Melissa McCarthy fanbase), so it will probably lose to BvS (and more surprisingly, actually deserve it). Hardcore Henry is surprisingly critically liked for such a self-consciously mindless action movie, but, as I said in the article, who knows how that's going to go.

Which means The Jungle Book is probably the one to beat. And, oh, look, it's on a near identical trajectory as Zootopia; it's average rating is a bit lower than Zootopia is and was at this point, but, damn, Disney.

Finally, Zootopia is ranked as number 20 on the all time best reviewed movies list on Rotten Tomatoes; however, just to show how subjective this all is, rival review congregation site Metacritic only ranks Zootopia as the 22nd best reviewed movie ... of 2016. So, grain of salt and all. Oh, and Zootopia did pick up it's third rotten review, like, literally minutes after I posted this story (every time I brag on its behalf about RT scores, somebody posts a new rotten review; this is all my fault, obviously), but though the movie's score did drop to 98 for a while, it reached the big 200 total reviews and was right back up to 99 (even though technically I guess they're rounding up and it's really 98.5).

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It's all your fault

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No, it's Wilbur's fault.

In the early 1940s, Rube Goldberg drew a short-lived newspaper comic strip called "Blame It On Wilbur", in which he "proved" that everything that went wrong in the world should be blamed on Wilbur -- whoever Wilbur was.

This comment has been an effort to keep old obscure pop references alive. So's your old man! Twenty-three skidoo! The cat's pajamas and the bee's knees! I wouldn't give a lazy deuce for it!

Fred Patten

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I now know something more about the creator of Rube Goldberg machines.

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It's looking like Batman v Superman doesn't belong in the same room as Zootopia. Billion dollar status seems out of the question for the superhero showdown; looks like its a three way race between Zootopia, The Jungle Book and Captain America: Civil War for 2016's first billion dollar baby (so, Disney's probably not too worried about bankruptcy or anything in the near future). Zootopia, if it makes it (it's a few million shy of $100 million away), will most likely crawl across the finish line; it just opened this week in Japan, but it's basically just replacing the box office it lost from the Chinese moratorium rather than giving it a final spurt. The directors have apparently announced there will be some sort of "surprise" if it does pass a billion; I'm hoping its the announcement that Disney'll push it for Best Picture come Oscar season, but probably more people are expecting announcement of a sequel (and, as vague as the "promise" is, maybe Byron will draw a cute pic and post on Twitter, and that's it).

The Jungle Book, meanwhile, is going to have to sprint for it before Captain America sucks all the air out of the room; Captain America, meanwhile, will almost certainly cross a billion. The question is will It's Really Avengers 2.5 be 2016's first, second or third?

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Looks like the pattern will continue (well, mostly; I'll get to that in a moment) with The Jungle Book three-peating this week only to be knocked off by another superhero movie with Captain America expected to basically embarrass the ever-loving crap out of BvS's opening next week. The "three weeks superhero/three weeks furry (or at least talking animals)/three weeks superhero/three weeks furry" pattern would be holding if BvS didn't suck so hard it lost to The Boss in its third week (way to go, DC).

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Holy crap, never mind Zootopia, Batman v Superman actually lost to Kung Fu Panda 3 in the international box office this weekend!

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It's becoming increasingly clear, while superheroes are still winning the opening day battle, they lack the staying power of the furry movies; it's kind of weird to say Captain America or BvS well-north-of-100-million opening weekends are disappointing, but they both are or were well below expectations (while movies like Zootopia and The Jungle Book, while lower box office openers, outperformed expectations and have had higher holds week to week).

In fact, it's looking like Captain America isn't the slam dunk, well-here-comes-a-billion it was supposed to be. It had a smaller Friday than BvS, and since it is the start of summer, it will actually have competition, though, it should be pointed out, BvS still lost to The Boss in its third week when it should have blown it away, which kind of messed up my "three weeks superhero, three weeks furry" pattern, though it's basically held since.

I'm wondering if we're not seeing the "superhero bubble" bursting so much as, to change the metaphor slightly, a superhero balloon slowly deflating (a deflation that began when "ha ha, nothings going to stop Avengers 2 at the box office" became "well, look at that, Jurassic World nut punched it there, didn't it?"); the only superhero movie this year to "overperform", prediction-wise, is Deadpool, and it had the weakest competition and when the best prediction-to-performance movie of the genre is not a straight, but parody example of the genre, and is in fact often times "anti-" superhero conventions, well, can it really be described as a healthy sign for the genre?

And, interestingly, looking at the schedule, the big players are still furries and superheroes for the first couple months of summer, before other types of movies start to appear; The Secret Life of Pets is kind of wait and see (it's Illumination, who have a box office history, but on the other hand, that is mostly the Despicable Me/Minions franchise), but there's also Finding Dory, and also, maybe, Angry Birds. Meanwhile, superhero-wise, actually, it's mostly just X-Men: Apocalypse, while Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows is probably a minor player (and kind of a hybrid).

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This Tweet from a Variety editor just about summed it up:

(This is in a reply to another Tweet noting Zootopia will re-pass BvS this weekend; it's talking about domestic US/Canada box office, not international.)

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Canada is part of the U.S.? How do the Canadians feel about this?

Fred Patten

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As a Canadian I can healthcare. :D

I'm a different furry with different opinions.

Debut Album out now go stream it plz

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It is when they add up box office; whenever you read "domestic box office" on, like, Box Office Mojo or the Hollywood Reporter or wherever, they mean the U.S. and Canada.

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I was asked in 2001 to write a chapter on American anime fandom for “Animation in Asia and the Pacific”, edited by Dr. John A. Lent, a book on Asiatic animation. I wrote a chapter titled “Anime in North America”, because I covered anime fan clubs in Toronto and Vancouver. The publisher retitled it “Anime in the United States” because, he said, “everybody knows that Canada is really just part of the United States, practically speaking.”

Here is a link to the U.S. edition.

Fred Patten

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Zootopia has re-passed BvS domestically (that means US and Canada, as previously discussed) by about $400,000; Deadpool is still number one domestically, however. It was less of a hit internationally (comedy is supposed to be harder to translate, I guess?), so it's only fourth (soon to be fifth) internationally.

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Fourth or fifth internationally is still pretty good all things considered. In the UK the film was released three weeks later to take advantage of a school holiday, but that also put it up directly against BvS and Eddie the Eagle. Six weeks later, Zootopia (or I should say Zootropolis) is still hanging on in cinemas while the other two films are long gone. Deadpool had about a two month shelf-life in cinemas so 6-7 weeks for Zootropolis brings it close.

As for whether BvS and Civil War reflect a growing disinterest in superhero movies, I've been getting the impression that people are objecting to the concept of superheroes fighting each other. And if people don't like a movie's concept, that can be a lot more damaging to ticket sales than bad execution. Seeing as X-Men: Apocalypse has a very unambiguous villain (and is also looking like a pretty awesome 80s sci-fi throwback to boot), I'll be interested in seeing the reception for it when it comes out.

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About the author

crossaffliction (Brendan Kachel)read storiescontact (login required)

a reporter and Red Fox from Hooker, Oklahoma, interested in movies, horror, stand up comedy

Formerly Wichita's only furry comic.