Weekend Box Office: The Secret Life of Pets Barks Up Huge Opening

The North America box office got a needed shot in the arm this weekend thanks to the massive opening of Universal’s animated comedy The Secret Life of Pets. Thanks to the arrival of the PG-rated family flick, the box office was up a healthy 13% over last weekend’s 4th of July totals.

With an estimated $103 million amassed from 4,370 screens, Pets racked up the biggest opening ever for an original animated feature, surpassing last year’s Inside Out by roughly $13 million. Reviews for the latest animated offering from Illumination Entertainment– the company behind the Despicable Me films and Minions— were solid. Pets earned a 76% approval rating from critics and an “A-“ from ticket buyers on CinemaScore. Both should help keep the film a popular choice throughout July and well into August.

Staying put in second place was Warner’s pricey adventure flick The Legend of Tarzan with an estimated $20.6 million. Down an acceptable 47% from its holiday debut, Tarzan has earned $81.4 million so far in domestic sales and could work its way to around $125 million. Given its $180 million production tag, Warner will have to look to international grosses, which are currently at $54 million, to the possibility of turning a profit on the David Yates feature.

Thanks to the monster debut of The Secret Life of Pets, Disney’s Finding Dory found its box office fins clipped a bit, dropping 51% in business to land in third place. Still on 3,871 screens, Dory earned an estimated $20.3 million in its fourth weekend of release. With $422.6 million in domestic sales, Dory has swum past The Lion King to become the biggest animated feature released by Disney Studios to date. The film should wind down around the $475 million mark. International markets are currently at $220 million.

The R-rated Fox comedy Mike & Dave Need Wedding Dates debuted in fourth place. The Anna Kendrick/Zac Efron comedy arrived on 2,982 screens Friday where it earned a decent $16.6 million. The $33 million production, which co-stars Aubrey Plaza and Adam DeVine, earned mostly negative notices from critics, earning a 41% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Ticket buyers were mixed on the film as well. They gave the raunchy comedy a “B” rating on CinemaScore.

Rounding out the top five was Universal’s The Purge: Election Year with $11.7 million from 2,821 screens. Despite a steep 63% drop from its strong holiday opening, Election Year is already a profitable success, scoring a solid $58 million so far. Election Year is looking to finish with $70 million, roughly seven times the amount of its tiny production budget of $10 million. Watch for The Purge: FFS –or something like that- within the next year or two.

6. Central Intelligence (Warner/New Line) $8.1 million (-35%); $108 million

7. Independence Day: Resurgence (Fox) $7.7 million (-54%); $91 million

8. The BFG (Disney) $7.6 million (-60%); $38 million

9. The Shallows (Sony) $4.8 million (-45%); $46 million

10. Sultan (Yash) $2.2 million (NEW); $3.2 million

Next weekend sees the arrival of the 2016 version of Ghostbusters, which is expected to open between $40-50 million.

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