Could “Epic” become a stealth animated blockbuster?

ImageIt’s not part of an established franchise, so like “The Croods,” the buzz is faint and you’re not hearing about kids’ clamoring to see it.

But “Epic” came from the same people who made the “Ice Age” movies, and while it doesn’t have that killer marketing campaign built around the prehistoric squirrel and his pursuit of a prehistoric nut, it has opened very big overseas. “Epic” had a $14 million+ weekend in a limited number of markets. And since it will be displacing “The Croods” on most of that film’s screens, it could be huge. With big-name voice actors (Amanda Seyfried, Beyonce Knowles, Josh Hutcherson) and a story woven from elements of a couple of William Joyce kids’ novels, as well as “Spiderwicke” and “Avatar” and “A Bug’s Life,” it could click with kid audiences.

The tell will be the opening weekend in the U.S. “The Croods” did a surprisingly robust $43 million on its spring break opening. Will “Epic” top that, and is this another potential franchise for Fox/Blue Sky?

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