Furry v superheroes; box office in early 2016
According 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.