Disney's 'Zootopia' soaring past $100 million at the box office

Not even a buzzy new release from J.J. Abrams could keep Walt Disney’s animated tale “Zootopia” from ruling the box office for a second week.

The computer-animated film about an unlikely rabbit-and-fox duo that also unpacks timely, powerful messages about race and prejudice is having a strong hold on moviegoers in its second weekend, taking in an estimated $12 million on Friday.

“Zootopia’s” Friday haul pushed the well-reviewed film over the $100 million mark and it’s poised to gross $40 million to $50 million through Sunday.

Directed by Byron Howard and Rich Moore, the animated tale took in $75 million in domestic receipts last weekend, the biggest debut ever for a Disney Animation movie.

Abrams’ “10 Cloverfield Lane,” a mystery-thriller slightly connected to 2008’s found-footage monster movie “Cloverfield” — both were produced by Abrams’ Bad Robot Productions and released by Paramount — took in an estimated $9 million on Friday. The film is on track to end the weekend with $24 million to $25 million in box office receipts.

Starring Mary Elizabeth Winstead, John Goodman and John Gallagher Jr., “10 Cloverfield Lane,” directed by newcomer Dan Trachtenberg, isn’t a straight-ahead sequel to “Cloverfield.”

Instead, filmmakers have been calling the film a “spiritual successor” to “Cloverfield,” which raked in $170 million worldwide on a production budget of $25 million.

“Cloverfield’s” success was largely due to its ambitious viral marketing campaign that included trailers with only the film’s release date, limited plot details and enticing game enthusiasts by tying in a number of websites and products that served as clues.

“10 Cloverfield Lane” had a similar air of secrecy, with fans not knowing about the film until the teaser released in January.

"The fun of this was to try and create as unusual a release pattern as possible because the movie's so equally unusual," Abrams told The Times.

"It just felt like why not break the template we're all used to and make it fun for the audience? So we purposely withheld any information publicly about the movie until just a couple months before release. We're in a moment of instant information. You don't need to prepare people a year in advance to go see a movie. This was all about shaking it up and it felt like the perfect kind of movie to do that with."

Other new releases this weekend included Sacha Baron Cohen’s “The Brothers Grimsby,” Lionsgate’s romantic comedy “The Perfect Match” and the faith-based drama "The Young Messiah," all of which opened well off the pace set by leader "Zootopia." Only "The Perfect Match" appeared in the top five, taking in just over an estimated $1.5 million on Friday.

gerrick.kennedy@latimes.com

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