Making waves at No. 1 with a whopping $136.2 million, Disney’sFinding Dory has set a new record for an opening weekend by an animated motion picture.
Exceeding expectations as it pulled in over $54 million on Friday, including $9.2 million from Thursday night previews (also a record for an animated feature), Finding Dory handily bested the previous animated weekend record holder, 2007’s Shrek the Third, by around $15 million (unadjusted for inflation).
The 13-year gap between 2003’s Finding Nemo and its 2016 sequel didn’t seem to be a problem for the Pixar juggernaut, which sees returning cast members Ellen DeGeneres and Albert Brooks once again lending their voices for more under-the-sea action. Speaking to just how large the Nemo brand has ballooned over the years, the film has spawned video games, merchandise, and theme park attractions around the world, making it a time-tested, modern icon among Disney’s filmography. The studio holding out on Finding Dory this long only amplified audience anticipation, resulting in the massive haul the film raked in this weekend, which happens to be the second-biggest for a June release in history.
Dory also grossed an estimated $50 million from 29 international territories, bringing its worldwide weekend total up to around $186.2 million. Overall domestic box office receipts were down just 5 percent from last year, though that’s hardly cause for concern, as Jurassic World’s then-record-setting $208.8 million debut over the June 12-14 weekend in 2015 was always going to be a tough number to match, even for a film the size of Finding Dory.
The week’s only other new wide release, New Line Cinema’s Central Intelligence, held its own against Finding Dory’s mammoth numbers, however, overperforming with an estimated $34.5 million from 3,508 locations and a per-screen average of $9,835. The action comedy benefitted largely from the chemistry between its stars (as noted in the better-than-average reviews the film received) Kevin Hart and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, which likely drove most of its box office over its first three days of release.
According to CinemaScore, Finding Dory and Central Intelligenceearned A and A- grades from audiences, which bodes well for both films’ legs heading into a crowded summer arena that seesIndependence Day: Resurgence, The Shallows, The BFG, The Legend of Tarzan, and The Secret Life of Pets lurking right around the corner.
The Conjuring 2 and Now You See Me 2, last week’s No. 1 and No. 3 finishers, dropped to No. 3 and 4, respectively, with weekend totals coming in well below early projections. The Conjuring 2’s 62 percent drop from $40.4 million to $15.6 million is characteristic of how horror films typically perform at the box office, though its predecessor broke the mold, falling a relatively soft 46.9 percent over its second weekend in 2013. Now You See Me 2 tumbled 57 percent to an estimated $9.7 million, indicating its overall run will pack less of a punch than the original Now You See Me, which had, after its second weekend, grossed $60.9 million domestically (compared to the sequel’s $41.4 million) on its way to $117.7 million in 2013.
Rounding out the top five is Warcraft, which, despite impressive overseas grosses ($280 million and counting), has taken quite a hit at the domestic box office as it falls 73 percent to $6.5 million. The film is closing in on $37.7 million from North America after 10 days of release after premiering to $24.2 million last weekend. The video game adaptation has amassed approximately $318 million in worldwide receipts so far.