Jonah Swimming Below Surface

With a sixth place debut and a modest $6.5 million box office take, Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie didn’t appear to make much of a splash this weekend. But when you consider that it opened on just under 1,000 screens — roughly 2,000 less than top three contenders Red Dragon, Sweet Home Alabama and The Tuxedo — and brought in the second highest per-theater average, Big Idea’s CG animated family film is doing more than treading water.

Based on the promising numbers, Artisan, operating on a wait and see basis, is expected to release Jonah wider in coming weeks. The high per-theater average indicates that audiences, largely built-in, sought the film out despite an unimpressive $7 million marketing push.

Like the weekend champ, the $78 million Red Dragon, the $14 million Jonah has recouped nearly half of its production budget. Bolstered by largely positive reviews, it should pull in a decent profit before it leaves theaters and hits the video shelves where it will do its biggest business and pave the way for the next VeggieTales film already in the works.

Read about the making of Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie in the Oct. issue of Animation Magazine.