Weekend Box Office: Go Fish Go!

Disney’s hugely successful year continued this pre-holiday weekend. With three of the four new movie releases opening far below expectations, the studio found it easy to keep swimming to the top of the box office charts.

Finding Dory‘ retained the #1 spot with a massive $73.2 million. That total gives it the record for the all-time highest second-week draw for an animated film. With a ten-day total of $286.5 million, it’s now the 13th highest-grossing animated feature of all time, a position that will only climb over the next several weeks. Internationally, ‘Dory’ has reeled in $110.3 million, giving Pixar’s latest a worldwide total of $369.8 million. With many more markets to go, do you think it will make it to $1 billion?

Over the July 4th weekend in 1996, the original ‘Independence Day’ opened to $50.2 million. Even without taking inflation into consideration, the sequel couldn’t hit that number. ‘Independence Day: Resurgence‘ opened in second place with $41.6 million. Fox was hoping for a nostalgia-fueled ‘Jurassic World’ of its own, but ended up with just another braindead Roland Emmerich movie. Internationally, it drew $101.4 million, which is better but still not great. At this point, it would take a miraculous magic alien Eve-ball (a reference that only the 12 of you who suffered through ‘Resurgence’ will get) for the belated sequel to match the $817.4 million worldwide total of its predecessor.

Central Intelligence‘ had a decent second-week holdover. Coming in at third place, the buddy comedy fell just 48% in week-over-week attendance with $18.3 million. The movie’s ten-day total sits at $69.3 million, with another $14.3 million from a portion of the international markets. The $50 million action-comedy has a worldwide total of $83.6 million.

What do the successful movies of the weekend have in common? They’re both set in the ocean. The only of the wide releases to do really well – both in terms of critical response and box office returns – was Blake Lively’s shark thriller ‘The Shallows‘, which debuted in the #4 spot. Produced on a modest budget of $17 million, it opened to $16.7 million. It shouldn’t have any issues becoming profitable through its domestic run. When the international roll-out begins, it should be pure profit from there.

Matthew McConaughey’s Civil War drama ‘Free State of Jones‘ rounded out the Top 5, but the numbers it drew were terrible. From 2,815 locations, it grossed $7.7 million, giving it a per-screen average of just $2,761. Shot on a budget of $50 million, this will be chalked up as a loss. If only McConaughey could float behind a bookshelf and send a Morse code message to his younger self that said, “D.O.N.T.” (I expect many more of you to get that reference.)

As bad as ‘Free State’ performed, it at least played better than Nicolas Winding Refn’s latest, which distributor Broad Green somehow thought would be a good idea to release on 783 screens. ‘The Neon Demon‘, a graphic R-rated thriller, only pulled in $606,594 and a per-screen average of $775. Ouch.

Unlike Broad Green, A24 understands the reason for limited and platform releases. Its oddball Sundance title ‘Swiss Army Man‘ opened on three screens, pulling in $114,000 and a solid per-screen average of $38,000. With numbers like those and heaps of buzz – be it both positive and negative – you can expect to see this one expand in the coming weeks.

Top 10:

1. ‘Finding Dory’ (Buena Vista) – $73,234,746

2. ‘Independence Day: Resurgence’ (Fox) – $41,600,000

3. ‘Central Intelligence’ (Warner Bros.) – $18,370,000

4. ‘The Shallows’ (Sony) – $16,700,000

5. ‘Free State of Jones’ (STX) – $7,772,000

6. ‘The Conjuring 2’ (Warner Bros.) – $7,705,000

7. ‘Now You See Me 2’ (Summit) – $5,650,000

8. ‘X-Men: Apocalypse’ (Fox) – $2,475,000

9. ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows’ (Paramount) – $2,400,000

10. ‘Alice Through the Looking Glass’ (Buena Vista) – $2,147,144


  1. Chris B

    How big of a box-office hit was “Drive”? I know it was adored by critics but did it actually make a lot of money? It had to have done better than Only God Forgives…

    • $15 million budget. $35.1 million domestic gross, $41.1 million international.

      It was quite profitable given its low budget, but it was also considered a disappointment at the time in light of the massive internet hype around the film that predicted it would be a huge blockbuster.

  2. 783 screens, Luke? In your ‘Weekend Movies’-post, you mentioned ‘Nicolas Winding Refn’s controversial and disturbing thriller hits another 1,000’. So, it lost 227 screens during its terrible weekend?

  3. Trond Michelsen

    Only 10 days in, and Dory’s got a $60M lead on Toy Story 3. It’s gonna take a small miracle to stop Dory from becoming the highest grossing animated movie ever.

    • Al

      You do realize that ‘Shrek 2’ is actually the highest grossing movie of all time (domestically), right? ‘Toy Story 3’ isn’t #1 domestically or worldwide. ‘Shrek 2’ made nearly $450 million domestically, in 2D only, in 2004 dollars. ‘Dory’ won’t come close to selling as many tickets as ‘Shrek 2’.

      • I assume you meant to say highest grossing ANIMATED movie of all time (domestically).

        Shrek 2 did $436.5 million domestic. The Lion King and Toy Story 3 were close behind with $422.8 million and $415 million respectively.

        At present, 11 live action movies have outgrossed Shrek 2 domestically – the top being Star Wars: The Force Awakens with $936 million.

        • Al

          Your comment about 11 movies out grossing ‘Shrek 2’ is pointless. Look at the original comment that opened this discussion. It says ANIMATED films.

      • Al

        You’re right, and then you’re wrong. Of course we’re taking about ANIMATED. That goes without saying. It was in the original comment.

        However, you’re wrong about ‘Shrek 2’. It made $441 mil, domestically. ‘The Lion King’ is irrelevant, because it made nearly a hundred million dollars, when it was reissued for 3D. Its original numbers didn’t even come close to the current animated champions. Although, to be fair, it probably sold close to as many tickets as ‘Shrek 2’ during its original 1994 release.

        ‘Toy Story 3’ is about $30 mil away from the champion — ‘Shrek 2’.

      • Well, I do now.

        What happened, was that I’ve been looking at BoxOfficeMojo’s comparison chart of ‘High Powered Animated Openers’ ( http://www.boxofficemojo.com/showdowns/chart/?view=daily&id=topanimated.htm ), and I’ve somehow blocked out the word ‘Openers’, thinking this was the top 3, plus Dory.

        That said, I think Dory’s gonna have a lot of speed left when she passes Toy Story, so the extra $30M should not be much of a problem. You’re probably right about the tickets, though. Shrek 2’s domestical gross, adjusted for inflation, is $609M. I fully expect Dory to break $500M, perhaps $550M, but $600M is probably out of reach.

          • Al

            It’s more than that. They have to figure in the number of 3D tickets that Dory is selling. Shrek 2 was 2D only.

          • I don’t think they attempt to differentiate between 2D and 3D at all. Or children vs adult tickets (if there’s a difference).

            I have absolutely no idea how they calculate the average ticket price, though.

          • Al

            Perhaps your comment isn’t saying what you think it is, but they absolutely factor in the higher 3D ticket prices. I’ve confirmed this with multiple sources. They track the percentage of 3D ticket sales, and how much more those tickets cost, and use this information to determine how many tickets were sold, overall, and what the average price of those tickets was. That’s why you can’t just take the average ticket price of the day and use it to get an adjusted figure. The average ticket price of the day simply isn’t enough information, when you’re comparing a movie that was 2D only vs a film that was 3D/IMAX/PLF. It’s all factored in. That’s why the simple math doesn’t give you the appropriate “adjusted for inflation” numbers.

          • OK, then. Let’s do some maths. Let’s look at 2016’s highest grossing movies, and their estimated ticket sales, as reported by BoxOfficeMojo.

            Captain America: Civil War $404,270,289 / 47,117,700 = $8.580008978
            Deadpool $363,070,709 / 42,315,900 = $8.580006782
            The Jungle Book $358,443,935 / 41,776,700 = $8.579996386
            Zootopia $340,456,108 / 39,680,200 = $8.579999798
            Batman v Superman $330,360,194 / 38,503,500 = $8.580004259

  4. Bill

    Bah! One of these days I’d like to see the number of tickets sold/bums in seats become the meaningful number for a movie’s statistics. The amount of money made is meaningless for a number of reasons even within the same decade let alone across multiple decades. All it does is lead to endless pointless arguments and nitpicking as is going on here.

    • Based on attendance/sold tickets alone, I think no movie will ever top ‘Gone With The Wind’. It played for at least five years. On a longevity scale, ‘The Rocky Horror Picture’ is king.

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