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Box office turnstiles to remain sleepy despite toy parade

Forecasters do not expect STX Entertainment's Dec. 6 debut film to do much for the chilly domestic box office, which remains in a slump despite The Walt Disney Co.'s latest hit.

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"Playmobil: The Movie"
Source: STX Entertainment

Disney's "Frozen II" broke records with its $130.3 million domestic opening in late November, yet it still failed to pull the season out of the red. Total box office receipts for week of the "Frozen" sequel's debut were down year over year by 31.9%, according to Kagan, a media research firm within S&P Global Market Intelligence. Total box office gross for the year-to-date was down 7.2%, with admissions off by 9.2%.

"Frozen II" added another $125 million in sales over the extended Thanksgiving holiday weekend, a domestic record, according to Variety. The "Frozen" sisters are unlikely to face a serious challenge to their box office reign for at least another weekend, as the sole Dec. 6 wide release, "Playmobil: The Movie" is expected to collect less than $5 million for its opening frame.

STX Entertainment's "Playmobil" follows other toy-turned-franchise films like The LEGO Movie series from AT&T Inc.'s Warner Bros., but forecasters expect "Playmobil" to fall far short of the "LEGO" franchise's success. The original LEGO movie opened to $69.1 million in 2014 and went on to collect total revenue of $695.6 million, according to Kagan. By contrast, projects "Playmobil: The Movie" will launch to a dismal $2.2 million. Variety echoed that forecast with a "low single digits" expectation, calling the new film "disappointingly short on charm or smarts."

Looking at a more modest toy film opening, 2017's "My Little Pony: The Movie" debuted to $8.9 million but managed a profitable run, taking in $8.4 million over its lifetime, according to Kagan.

Critics were unimpressed with "Playmobil", landing the title a 21% "rotten" rating on Rotten Tomatoes, as of 12 p.m. ET, Dec. 6.

Forecasters expect box office competition to pick up the weekend of Dec. 13, as Sony Corp. enters the game with "Jumanji: The Next Level." Forecasters project a domestic opening as high as $60 million for "Next Level" following a similar international debut, according to Deadline Hollywood. From there, "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker" could become the last nine-figure opening of the year when it drops Dec. 20.

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