Box Office: Finding Dory Makes History As Competition Sleeps With The Fishes


Now this is an opening Hollywood has been hoping for since Captain America: Civil War made its bow in theaters to kick off 2016’s summer season. A season of blockbuster tentpoles, including sequels, superheroes and intellectual properties it hopes to turn into franchises (i.e., Warcraft – more on this later).

Finding Dory made history for an animated feature opening on 4,305 screens and raking in an estimated $136.1 million. The opening makes it 18th all time and second for a June release, trailing last year’s Jurassic World, which opened at $208 million (dethroning then box office opening champ Marvel’s The Avengers). Released 13 years after Finding Nemo (a film that would hold the domestic earnings record for a Pixar title until 2010’s Toy Story 3), Dory has the distinction of having the longest passage of time between Pixar sequels. While there may have not have been a need for a sequel, with the animation studio being an asset of Disney a sequel was all but inevitable. And audiences responded in kind as families flocked to theaters and received a rewarding viewing experience. And if you arrived on time and caught the animated short “Piper” before the movie, it was even more rewarding.

The historic opening of Finding Dory shouldn’t be that surprising considering the lack of family offerings this summer. Eh, let me rephrase. GOOD family offerings. Even before its release it was tracking to be a record setter. Then when it dropped on Thursday night and made $9.2 million, a record for an animated feature, one didn’t need to read the tea leaves to decipher that Disney had another winner on its hands. After rebounding from the sinker that was The Finest Hours in January, the studio’s hit parade includes Zootopia, The Jungle Book, Captain America, and now Finding Dory. Best to forget about Alice Through the Looking Glass. Audiences have. Four weeks in and the $170 million budget fantasy sequel has only made $69.3 million in the U.S.


Opening in second place was Central Intelligence ($34.5 million) starring Kevin Hart and Dwayne Johnson. Roughly two-thirds of critics gave it a good rating (if going by the aggregate scoring system of Rotten Tomatoes). I am not part of that majority. Despite Johnson’s charisma, this was a failed action comedy. More like a comedy with action with little of both. Johnson is the reason to see it – down the road on Redbox, cable, or Netflix (no need to rush).

Last week’s No. 1, The Conjuring 2, dropped to third place with $15.5 million. Not bad for a horror release, but the overwhelming success of the two new releases resulted in the sequel to finish $7 million less than The Conjuring did in its second weekend of release back in 2013.

Elsewhere, Universal’s Warcraft took a steep nosedive with a 73% drop in attendance to finish with $6.25 million. But the suits aren’t complaining too much. This adaptation of Blizzard Entertainment’s gaming property has made an astonishing $339.9 million in foreign territories. And it looks like this is the last week we’ll be seeing Captain America: Civil War in the top ten. Finishing in the tenth spot with $2.29 million, it is the first release of 2016 to eclipse more than $400 million in the U.S.

This week we have Matthew McConaughey in Free State of Jones, Independence Day: Resurgence (which is not screening for critics – at least in my area), Nicolas Winding Refn’s The Neon Demon and Blake Lively in a bikini vs. sharks in The Shallows. No surprise if ID4 2 takes the weekend in a walk but I have a sneaking suspicion that Shallows will be the most fun.

Full top 10 below.

01. Finding Dory – $136.1 Million
02. Central Intelligence – $34.5 Million
03. The Conjuring 2 – $15.5 Million ($71.7M)
04. Now You See Me 2 – $9.65 Million ($41.3M)
05. Warcraft – $6.52 Million ($37.7M)
06. X-Men: Apocalypse – $5.2 Million ($146M)
07. TMNT: Out of the Shadows – $5.2 Million ($71.9M)
08. Me Before You – $4.1 Million ($46.3M)
09. Alice Through the Looking Glass – $3.6 Million ($69.3M)
10. Captain America: Civil War – $2.29 Million ($401.2M)

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