People are itching to get back to the movies. Especially families.
That’s the takeaway from the surprise debut for Warner Bros’ Tom and Jerry, the new animated reboot of the classic cat-and-mouse cartoon rivalry. The film launched to $14.1 million over its opening weekend, only the second movie to surpass $10 million over a three-day frame since movie theaters re-opened after the COVID-19 pandemic began last spring.
Wonder Woman 1984, also a Warner release, enjoys top debut honors when it opened to $16.7 million over Christmas. And like WW84, Tom and Jerry launched simultaneously on Warner Media streamer HBO Max, making the numbers all-the-more a surprise.
Despite bad reviews and a general lack of demand for this old team to return to the pop culture landscape, the studio has to be downright thrilled by how well this played, particularly given that only 42% of theaters are open across North America and people had the at-home streaming option. Warner execs must be now be wondering how much this may have actually grossed in a normal non-pandemic world.
This also likely piques the hopes of Walt Disney Studios. Next weekend, it opens its animated feature Raya and the Last Dragon, a more publicized and anticipated movie event. Yes, it has a Disney Plus streamer option (via an additional $30 Premier Access fee), but if Tom & Jerry can surpass expectations to this degree, then what’s possible for a Disney tentpole?
Further emphasizing that family fare is what will get people out of the house, the biggest money-maker of the pandemic era is DreamWorks’ The Croods: A New Age, which has totaled $52 million domestically to date. Opening to $9.7 million last Thanksgiving, it has maintained steady theatrical business for three months now — including returns to the #1 spot multiple times in February — even as it has also been available at home on VOD since early January.