‘Zootopia’ Breaks a Disney Record at Thursday Box Office

Animated comedy takes on newcomers “London Has Fallen” and Tina Fey‘s “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot” this weekend

“Zootopia” trampled “London Has Fallen” at the Thursday night box office and broke a Disney record in the process.

The animated comedy, which has been almost unanimously praised by the critics who are counted on Rotten Tomatoes, roared to $1.7 million, while the Gerard Butler action sequel managed to make just $850,000 in 2,400 domestic locations.

“Zootopia” now boasts Disney’s highest-grossing Thursday-night opening for a non-summer animation movie.

“Big Hero 6” opened to $1.4 million in 2014, and “Frozen” made $1.2 million in Thursday previews in 2013.

“Zootopia” had a score of 100 percent on the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes up until this morning. Now, it it certified “fresh” at 99 percent, with more than 100 positive reviews and just one negative.

Disney’s latest animated feature is tracking for an opening weekend of $65 million. If it reaches that gross, it would finally dethrone Ryan Reynolds‘ “Deadpool,” which has ruled the box office for three consecutive weeks and is looking to make around $18 million this time.

“London Has Fallen” might also beat “Deadpool.” Butler’s latest is tracking in the $18 million to $20 million range — if it comes in on the higher end, the action film will finish in second place for the weekend.

“Gods of Egypt,” also starring Butler, opened last weekend to $800,000 and ended up bombing at the box office with a $14 million debut on a monster budget of $140 million. “London Has Fallen” has a slightly more modest budget of $105 million, but its $850,000 Thursday debut might indicate that it is headed down a similar path.

Butler is up to his same old tricks in the sequel to “Olympus Has Fallen.” This time, he is in London for the Prime Minister’s funeral, when his character, Mike Banning, discovers a plot to assassinate all of the world’s leaders. Morgan Freeman and Aaron Eckhart also star, and the film currently sports a score of 23 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.

Tina Fey‘s dramedy “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot,” the weekend’s other newcomer, is looking to gross between $10 million and $12 million.

Starring Margot Robbie, Martin Freeman, Alfred Molina and Billy Bob Thornton, the movie is based on Kim Baker’s memoir “The Taliban Shuffle: Strange Days in Afghanistan and Pakistan.”

The film currently holds a score of 57 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.

“Zootopia” stars Ginnifer Goodwin, Jason Bateman, Idris Elba, Shakira, Bonnie Hunt, J.K. Simmons, Octavia Spencer and Jenna Slate and takes place in a city full of animals where a fugitive con-artist fox (Bateman) and a bunny cop (Goodwin) band together to uncover a conspiracy.

The animated feature film has already had a strong start overseas, grossing more than $98 million in China, Germany and Russia.