This is the last release weekend in September, which means it's the last weekend of middling movies rushed forth ahead of the oncoming Oscar season. Next week, films from Colette to A Star is Born will land in wide release. But this week is still lots of kids stuff mixed with vague horror. Last week's The House With A Clock In Its Walls lead the smallest box office weekend all year. This week, it's a different family-friendly film which will be leading the charge called Smallfoot. The good news is, Smallfoot's ratings are in, and the numbers leave an impressive footprint.
The concept behind Smallfoot is simple, but cute: these creatures don't believe in us. Like humans and their Bigfoot conspiracies, those Yetis who are born with the extra-large tootsies think the very notion of humans with itty-bitty trotters is patently ridiculous. The cartoon stars the voices of Channing Tatum, James Corden, Zendaya, Common, LeBron James, Gina Rodriguez, and Danny DeVito.
When Migo is banished from his village, in part because he refuses to see reason on the subject, he runs into human Percy Patterson, a TV personality. Each species is delighted to be the one to discover hard evidence of the other. Reviewers seemed delighted, too, with the film landing a solid 73 percent on Rotten Tomatoes as of this writing.
The Chicago Sun-Times likes the movie for how intelligent it is.
It's not often an animated children's movie features lessons about critical thinking, especially when the movie on the whole is a zippy, silly, zany, cheery little tale with the obligatory upbeat musical numbers.
Slant Magazine calls the movie "ballsy."
There's something undeniably ballsy about a children's film that's so insistent about pushing young viewers to think bigger, to be open to new ideas and question culturally coded notions of good and evil.
And the Sydney Morning Herald compares it to the old Bugs Bunny-era Warner Bros. cartoons:
[Smallfoot] offers plenty of opportunities for the kind of physical comedy for which the old Warners teams were renowned.
As for how the film will do at the box office this weekend, the forecast for Smallfoot is pretty sunny for the snowbound flick.
[T]his weekend sees a pair of new arrivals that will be duking it out for the top spot with the animated feature Smallfoot and the Kevin Hart comedy Night School expected to beat last week's champ. As is often the case during slower months, a kid-friendly movie can sneak in and capitalize. That's what Smallfoot, which features a voice cast that includes Channing Tatum, Zendaya and Common, is trying to do. The twist on the Bigfoot legend should easily win the weekend with around $25 million, give or take.
That's not super great for a film estimated to cost $80 million in CGI, animation and voice talent, but it's a good start, and with the next few weekends being relatively kid-movie free, the film should manage to extend it's run at least until the snow starts falling outside the theaters.
Smallfoot opens Friday, Sept. 28, 2018.