Weekend Box Office: “Dory” Finds Lots of Cash at the Multiplex

Disney’s Finding Dory had a swimmingly good opening at the North America box office this weekend. The latest Pixar/Disney animated offering set a record for biggest opening of all-time for an animated feature, earning nearly three-and-a-half times more than its closest competitor, the Dwayne Johnson/Kevin Hart action comedy Central Intelligence. The Warner release landed in second place with solid numbers. The box office was down only six percent from last year at this time, which is impressive when one takes into account that Jurassic World arrived with $208 million in ticket sales.

The Mouse House struck paydirt yet again with the long-awaited follow up to their 2003 blockbuster Finding Nemo. Backed by great reviews and over a decade of fan anticipation, Finding Dory landed on 4,305 shores Friday where it went on to earn a great $136.1 million. In addition to setting a new record for biggest animated feature opening –the previous record holder was the $122 million earned by Shrek The Third in 2007-, Dory also set a record for biggest opening day for an animated feature as well as biggest opening to date for a Pixar Animation feature.

The huge opening for Finding Dory marks the third $100 million+ opening for Disney this year following The Jungle Book and Captain America: Civil War. Overseas, the sequel earned an estimated $50 million this weekend.

The reviews were so-so, but that didn’t stop fans of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Kevin Hart from coming out for their action comedy Central Intelligence, which earned a solid $34.5 million from 3,508 theaters. The opening was in line with Hart’s two recent openings Get Hard and Ride Along 2 and roughly 40% lower than Johnson’s summer 2015 offering San Andreas. Given the film’s “A-“ CinemaScore from ticket buyers, Central Intelligence could have enough staying power to push its domestic gross past the $100 million mark.

Last weekend’s champ The Conjuring 2 proved to be 62% less scary in its second round on 3,356 screens where it earned an estimated $15.5 million. After ten days of release, the horror sequel has earned $71.7 million and should be able to cross the $100 million mark by the end of its run. Foreign box office contributions to the Warner release so far have been an excellent $116.2 million.

Another sequel that opened last weekend, Now You See Me 2, entranced 57% less viewers in its sophomore session. The Lionsgate feature earned $9.6 million from 3,232 theaters this weekend to bring its ten-day total to $41.3 million. A final haul near the $60 million mark is possible. Overseas totals currently stand at $49 million.

Then there is Universal’s Warcraft, which got the stuffing knocked out of it in its second go-around on 3,406 screens. The critically slammed fantasy epic dropped an alarming 73% to capture an anemic $6.5 million. After ten days, the domestic haul for Warcraft is a terrible $37 million. With such steep drops, Universal should consider themselves lucky if this turkey reaches the $50 million mark domestically.

Then again, when your movie is pulling in monster amounts overseas in places such as China, puny numbers on the home front can be handled as an afterthought. You know, kind of like the way the screenwriting and directing were dealt with. A whopping 90% – or $340 million- of Warcraft‘s grosses has come from overseas. So while the movie is an outright bomb in the States, it is anything but outside the U.S. Naturally, that means we will get Warcraft 2 soon enough.

Thanks, China.

Outside the top five:

  1.  X-Men: Apocalypse (Fox) $5.2 million (-47%); $146 million
  1.  Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: Electric Boogaloo (Paramount) $5.2 million (-64%); $72 million
  1.  Me Before You (Warner) $4.1 million (-54%); $46 million
  1.  Alice Through The Looking Glass (Disney) $3.6 million (-36%) $69 million
  1.  Captain America: Civil War (Disney) $2.2 million (-47%) $401 million

Next weekend sees the arrival of Independence Day: Resurgence, Free State of Jones and The Shallows. While the Independence Day sequel should generate some big numbers, it’s doubtful it will be enough to unseat Finding Dory.


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