“Abominable,” the animated family film from DreamWorks Animation and Pearl Studios, earned $650,000 in box office previews on Thursday from 2,950 screens. It opens on 4,242 screens this weekend.
“Abominable” is the sole new wide release this weekend and could contend for the number one movie in America depending on how “Downton Abbey” performs in its second weekend. Universal is handling domestic distribution, and both the studio and independent trackers are projecting an opening between $17-20 million for the film.
That would put it close to films like “The Lego Ninjago Movie,” which also opened to $20.4 million in Sept. 2017, and DreamWorks’ “Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie,” which made $23 million. Those films though skipped preview screenings. The previous DreamWorks release, this spring’s “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World,” raked in $3 million in Thursday previews behind a $55 million opening weekend.
Set in China beneath the Himalayan snowscapes, “Abominable” is the story of a teenage girl named Yi who encounters a young yeti on the roof of her apartment building. She names the snow monster Everest and then embarks on an epic adventure along with her friends to reunite the magical creature with his family at the highest point on Earth. But the trio of friends have to stay one step ahead of a wealthy man and zoologist intent on capturing a yeti.
Chloe Bennet stars in the animated family film along with Tenzing Norgay Trainor, Albert Tsai, Eddie Izzard and Sarah Paulson. Jill Culton, who directed 2006’s “Open Season” and was credited for the story to “Monsters, Inc.,” wrote and directed “Abominable.” Peilin Chou of Pearl Studio also produces. The film is executive produced by Tim Johnson, Frank Zhu and Li Ruigang and is co-directed by Todd Wilderman.
“Abominable” is the first film produced by Pearl Studios, which is headquartered in Shanghai and also has branches in New York and Los Angeles. The studio previously was known as Oriental DreamWorks and co-produced “Kung Fu Panda 3,” but it’s now an equal collaborator on the film with DreamWorks.