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Box office: 'Big Hero 6' takes off with $1.4 million Thursday

Box office: 'Big Hero 6' takes off with $1.4 million Thursday
Hiro Hamada, voiced by Ryan Potter, and Baymax, voiced by Scott Adsit, in a scene from "Big Hero 6." (Disney)

Disney's animated sci-fi family film "Big Hero 6" appears to be off to a strong start at the U.S. box office.

The action-comedy, about a rebellious robotics genius, grossed a studio-estimated $1.4 million in ticket sales from preview shows on Thursday ahead of its wide opening.

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That's a bit more than the $1.2 million Disney's hit computer-animated musical "Frozen" unlocked from Tuesday previews ahead its pre-Thanksgiving Wednesday opening last year.

Directed by Disney veterans Don Hall ("Winnie the Pooh") and Chris Williams ("Bolt"), the Marvel comic book-based film is expected to take in about $60 million in the U.S. and Canada through Sunday.

It cost about $165 million to make.

Other recent computer animated movies also have done less business in their pre-wide release showings. Warner Bros.' "The Lego Movie" generated $400,000 and 20th Century Fox's tropical bird sequel "Rio 2" did $375,000, while Disney's own "Wreck-It Ralph" boasted $400,000 in Nov. 2012.

This weekend's other new release is director Christopher Nolan's "Interstellar," co-financed by Paramount Pictures and Warner Bros.

The ambitious sci-fi adventure has grossed about $4.9 million through Thursday. That tally includes nearly $1.4 million from Tuesday evening through Wednesday at select film and Imax locations. Thursday's grosses broke down as follows: $800,000 from the film and Imax screens and $2.7 in preview showings.

Follow Ryan Faughnder on Twitter for more entertainment business coverage: @rfaughnder

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