While Disney has been on fire at the box office this year, the results of this weekend pose a new question to consider: Are Disney’s movies the reason for the studio’s success, or are family audiences simply starving for new content? Family films are absolutely killing it this year!
Heading into the weekend, Universal and Illumination’s ‘The Secret Life of Pets‘ was certain to dethrone four-week-old ‘Finding Dory’ and take the top spot at the box office. Even so, no one predicted that it would be as huge a success as it was. From 4,370 locations, the animated comedy was expected to earn at least $80 million. In reality, it closed the weekend with $103.1 million, making it the sixth film in history to debut north of the $100 million mark. The movie will slowly roll out internationally over the next three months, but so far it has earned $42.6 million overseas, giving it a worldwide total of $145.7 million, which is excellent for a $75 million picture.
As big as ‘Pets’ was, the biggest surprise of the weekend comes from ‘The Legend of Tarzan‘. I expected the Razzie-quality blockbuster to swan dive into shallow water in its second week, but following last week better-than-expected opening, it also had a much better-than-expected holdover. Falling just 46%, ‘Tarzan’ retained the #2 spot with $20.6 million, giving it a domestic ten-day total of $81.4 million. Internationally, it has grossed $54 million to date, for a worldwide total of $135.4 million. The pricy $180 million picture has a ways to go to become profitable, but with many more large markets still to open in, it stands a chance.
It took the competition from ‘Secret Life of Pets’ for ‘Finding Dory‘ to fall to third place just behind ‘Tarzan’. In its fourth week, the ‘Finding Nemo’ sequel slipped 51%. The additional $20.3 million brings its domestic total up to $422.5 million, which gives it two records: domestic highest grossing Pixar title of all-time and the domestic highest-grossing picture of 2016. The highest grossing animated record holder is still ‘Shrek 2’ ($441.2 million), which ‘Dory’ is less than $19 million away from toppling. Internationally, ‘Dory’ has made $220.2 million, for a worldwide total of $642.7 million.
‘The Secret Life of Pets’ wasn’t the only newcomer to exceed expectations. Predicted to open in the $12 million range, the R-rated comedy ‘Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates‘ finished in the #4 spot with $16.6 million. Internationally, it pulled $3.7 million, giving it a $20.3 million worldwide opening. Not too shabby for a $33 million picture, right?
Rounding out the Top 5 was week-old horror-thriller ‘The Purge: Election Year‘. After dropping 63% (typical for the genre), it still scared up $11.7 million. The $10 million sequel sits with a domestic ten-day total of $58.1 million, making it yet another low-budget horror success.
The Top 10 was unexpectedly rounded out by the Bollywood drama ‘Sultan‘, which kicked off at 283 locations with an impressive $2.2 million. The film’s international release has yet to launch, but is expected to draw equally large results.
Playing on four screens, the Cannes-praised drama ‘Captain Fantastic‘ drew $98,451 and a great per-screen average of $24,613.
Opening weekend numbers have yet to be announced for the John Cusack/Samuel L. Jackson thriller ‘Cell’.
1. ‘The Secret Life of Pets’ (Universal) – $103,170,000
2. ‘The Legend of Tarzan’ (Warner Bros.) – $20,615,000
3. ‘Finding Dory’ (Buena Vista) – $20,351,000
4. ‘Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates’ (Fox) – $16,600,000
5. ‘The Purge: Election Year’ (Universal) – $11,700,000
6. ‘Central Intelligence’ (Warner Bros.) – $8,125,000
7. ‘Independence Day: Resurgence’ (Fox) – $7,700,000
8. ‘The BFG’ (Buena Vista) – $7,604,000
9. ‘The Shallows’ (Sony) – $4,800,000
10. ‘Sultan’ (Yash) – $2,216,475