Another salvo in the 2013 summer animation wars was fired Wednesday as DreamWorks Animation and 20th Century Fox's Turbo opened at the midweek box office.
According to matinee returns, Turbo should gross in the $6 million range for the day, likely enough to top the Wednesday box office chart and edge out Despicable Me 2, Universal's megahit.
Turbo is eyeing a five-day debut in the $35 million range, a solid, but unspectacular, start. Box office observers believe the 3D toon could suffer from animation fatigue, considering it opens only two weeks after Despicable 2 and four weeks after Disney and Pixar's Monsters University.
Costing $135 million to produce and directed by David Soren, Turbo is about an ordinary garden snail whose dream of racing in the Indianapolis 500 comes true. Reynolds voices the title role; Paul Giamatti, Snoop Dogg, Michael Pena, Maya Rudolph, Michelle Rodriguez and Samuel L. Jackson also lend their voices. DWA is playing up the fact that Turbo is an original story.
Despicable 2, rolling out over the July Fourth holiday stretch, grossed a mammoth $143.1 million in its first five days, while Monsters University debuted to just north of $82 million. Both of those films had the advantage of being sequels to box office hits.
Hollywood studios have never released so many summer animation tentpoles, and the unprecedented animation race gets a new player in two weeks when Sony's The Smurfs 2 hits theaters, followed two weeks after that by Disney's Planes.
Turbo opened midweek to get a jump on three other films opening this weekend; Universal's troubled tentpole R.I.P.D., New Line's horror entry The Conjuring, which could easily overperform, and Lionsgate's Red 2.