Animal Logic’s wizardry in Peter Rabbit looks like paying off as the live-action/CGI animated family comedy/adventure launches on 3,700 locations in the US on Friday US time.
Pundits predict the film directed by Will Gluck from a screenplay by Gluck and Rob Lieber, based on the Beatrix Potter stories, will take second place behind Universal’s Fifty Shades Freed.
Variety forecasts a three-day take of $US16 million versus about $33 million for the third Fifty Shades opus.
Box Office Mojo is more optimistic, projecting $38 million for Universal’s release and $20 million-$25 million for Sony’s Peter Rabbit, especially considering family friendly options have been limited following the disappointing debut for Paddington 2 in mid-January.
James Corden voices the lead character who is embroiled in a feud with Thomas McGregor (Domhnall Gleeson) as they battle for the affections of the warm-hearted animal lover Bea (Rose Byrne) who lives next door.
Colin Moody voices Peter’s sidekick Benjamin Bunny with Margot Robbie, Elizabeth Debicki, and Daisy Ridley as the triplets, Flopsy, Mopsy and Cotton-tail.
Zareh Nalbandian and Will Gluck produced the film for Animal Logic Entertainment and Olive Bridge Entertainment on a reported budget of $50 million minus Australian tax credits. A Sony Pictures Animation presentation, it opens here on March 22.
The reviews were mostly positive. “It might not be exactly what Beatrix Potter had in mind for a film version of her classic children’s book, but Sony Animation’s frenetic and entertaining new age telling of the tale works well enough to keep the brand hopping into a new generation,” declared Deadline.com’s Pete Hammond.
Hammond expects the heavy doses of slapstick humour and action should keep the kids alert in their seats while not talking down to their parents and he enthused about the “terrifically realized CGI rabbits” and the vocal work of James Corden.
The Associated Press’ Sandy Cohen said Gluck channels the author’s earnestness into a sweet film sure to delight young fans, adding, “There’s enough entertainment for parents here, and plenty of good-natured humour for kids. Stay past the credits for an extra dose of laughs.”