“Finding Dory” Delivers Biggest Animated Opening Ever


June 17-19, 2016

(estimates from BoxOfficeMojo.com)


Finding Dory $136.1 million
Central Intelligence  $34.5 million
The Conjuring 2 $15.5 million
Now You See Me 2 $9.6 million
Warcraft $6.2 million

Audiences had no trouble Finding Dory at the multiplex. Pixar's belated sequel to its magnificent Finding Nemo (2003) found the biggest debut for an animated movie ever. Its estimated $136.1 million bests the previous record-holder Shrek the Third, which opened with $121.6 million back in 2007. In fact, Finding Dory made more than The Good Dinosaur did during its entire run. That's yet another victory for Disney this year, which counts Captain America: Civil War and The Jungle Book among its massive successes.

Central Intelligence paired the comedic talents of Kevin Hart and The Rock, and Warner Bros. was rewarded handsomely. The $34.5 million debut is solid for an original action-comedy and audiences responded well, giving it an A- CinemaScore, which often suggests great word-of-mouth. That's the 7th straight opening of $20 million-plus for each actor.

The Conjuring 2 suffered the big drop that befalls so many horror movies, dipping 61.5 percent. That means it's unlikely to match the original's terrific gross on a much bigger budget. The same is true for Now You See Me 2, which is running about $20 million behind what the original had at this point in its run. But both are better off than Warcraft, whose abysmal opening got worse, as it fell 73 percent. Despite strong grosses in China – where it beat out The Force Awakens in a matter of days – it's unlikely the orcs will get to fight another day.

Outside the top 5:

  • This Weekend's Indie Champ: Because of a dearth of new releases, the only independent release with a sizable average was the punnily titled Seoul Searching, an '80s-set comedy about U.S. teens spending their summers in the South Korean capital. It made $6,779 on its lone screen.
  • Captain America: Civil War became the first – and potentially only – movie this year to cross $400 million domestically.
  • The opening of the oft-delayed horror flick Clown was no laughing matter. It opened on 100 screens, but only made $27,000 total.

Next week:

Next week sees three new releases, but I predict Dory repeats at No. 1. The biggest of the three is definitely Resurgence, the sequel to 1996's biggest movie Independence Day. The absence of Will Smith was always going to hurt it, but now that Fox isn't holding advanced critic screenings seems like the kiss of death. You don't hide your big summer tentpole unless you know you've got a stinker. The other, smaller contenders are Matthew McConaughey's Civil War drama Free State of Jones and the Blake Lively-vs.-shark thriller The Shallows. It could be a big weekend overall, as I think those two films will take more than $20 million, leaving Resurgence with only $50 million, while Dory takes $60 million.


About Kip Mooney

Kip Mooney
Like many film critics born during and after the 1980s, my hero is Roger Ebert. The man was already the best critic in the nation when he won the Pulitzer in 1975, but his indomitable spirit during and after his recent battle with cancer keeps me coming back to read not only his reviews but his insightful commentary on the everyday. But enough about a guy you know a lot about. I knew I was going to be a film critic—some would say a snob—in middle school, when I had to voraciously defend my position that The Royal Tenenbaums was only a million times better than Adam Sandler’s remake of Mr. Deeds. From then on, I would seek out Wes Anderson’s films and avoid Sandler’s like the plague. Still, I like to think of myself as a populist, and I’ll be just as likely to see the next superhero movie as the next Sundance sensation. The thing I most deplore in a movie is laziness. I’d much rather see movies with big ambitions try and fail than movies with no ambitions succeed at simply existing. I’m also a big advocate of fun-bad movies like The Room and most of Nicolas Cage’s work. In the past, I’ve written for The Dallas Morning News and the North Texas Daily, which I edited for a semester. I also contributed to Dallas-based Pegasus News, which in the circle of life, is now part of The Dallas Morning News, where I got my big break in 2007. Eventually, I’d love to write and talk about film full-time, but until that’s a viable career option, I work as an auditor for Wells Fargo. I hope to one day meet my hero, go to the Toronto International Film Festival, and compete on Jeopardy. Until then, I’m excited to share my love of film with you.

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