Mr. Peabody & Sherman, a product of Dreamworks Animation, finished a distant second at the box office this weekend with a reported domestic gross of $32.5 million. This total, while impressive, left Mr. Peabody behind 300: Rise of an Empire, which raked in an estimated $45.1 million over the weekend.
The animated Mr. Peabody & Sherman, released by 20th Century Fox, fared rather well in its opening weekend, but was no match for the more adult oriented Rise of an Empire, a 3-D sequel to the 2007 hit 300 directed by Zach Snyder. The sequel is being helmed by Noam Murro, and is based on the graphic novel from Frank Miller.
Mr. Peabody & Sherman has been generally well received by critics and is expected to continue its strong performance in the weeks to follow. Chris Aronson, president of domestic distribution at Fox, suggested Mr. Peabody should have staying power based on the numbers. “It went up 81% on Saturday, which indicates that families have really come out strongly. It has great playability,” Aronson explained.
Rob Minkoff and Craig Wright are the creative team behind Mr. Peabody & Sherman. The pair found inspiration from the 1960’s era cartoon Peabody’s Improbable History, which could be seen on The Rocky & Bullwinkle Show. The original cartoon featured a variety of historical adventures and was laced with a fairly substantial amount of dry wit and clever writing.
Mr. Peabody & Sherman stars Ty Burrell as the beagle Mr. Peabody and Max Charles as the child Sherman. After Mr. Peabody adopts Sherman, the child, along with his friend Penny, eventually flee the adults and embark on a series of misadventures in Mr. Peabody’s WABAC time machine, interacting with a number of historical figures along the way.
Other stars of Mr. Peabody & Sherman include Allison Janney as Ms. Grunion the child-care worker, along with Stephen Colbert, Leslie Mann, Patrick Warburton, Mel Brooks, and Stanley Tucci.
Some critics have offered that this current incarnation of Mr. Peabody lacks the quality and inspiration of the original. Others have complained about the writing, particularly the many puns peppered throughout the film, suggesting the jokes are caught in between the two desired audiences, alienating both children and adults in the process.
While some reviews have been less than flattering, many parents will appreciate the nostalgia of Mr. Peabody & Sherman. Children should also be more than entertained by the wacky misadventures of Sherman, Penny, and the gang.