Weekend Report: ‘Finding Dory’ Set to Reinvigorate Lifeless Box Office


After a somewhat underwhelming May and a very disappointing June, Finding Dory is set to be one of the first (and possibly the last) mega blockbuster of the summer. With its strong brand recognition, total lack of competition, and massive potential audience, Dory has a legitimate chance at taking the animated record for opening weekend, which is currently held by Shrek the Third with $151 million (adjusted for inflation).

Finding Dory has more or less no limit to what it could pull in this weekend. The original Finding Nemo is a staple in Pixar’s filmography, and also their highest grossing film to date when adjusted for inflation, with a whopping $483 million in its original run back in 2003. Not only was that a remarkable feat for an original animated film, but it did that during one of the most crowded summers on record. Now, more then a decade later, it has a much wider potential audience. Not only do you have any family audiences familiar with Pixar, but you also have kids that grew up watching the original who are nostalgiac fans, ready to see the characters again. Throw in a 95% on Rotten Tomatoes, and there’s a very good chance that it winds up with over $120 million for the weekend.

For historical comparisons, last years Inside Out took in $91 million on its opening weekend, which was far above its $70 million expectations. Toy Story 3 is probably the closest comparison, however, with $116 million back in 2010. With a bit wider audience and less competition, it seems like Finding Dory can wind up a good bit above that.

Also opening this weekend is action comedy Central Intelligence, a fairly standard looking buddy cop movie that has entirely relied on its two stars to make it a hit, right down to using both of their last names in the films tagline. Kevin Hart may not have the appeal that he used to, but Dwayne Johnson definitely does. He managed to get San Andreas to over $50 million last summer. There are more than enough jokes in the trailer to make it seem worthwhile, and could work as a solid mixup to traditional summer fare. There’s a good chance that Central Intelligence ends up opening with over $30 million.

As far as last weekends releases, they’ll probably see above average drops. That’s typical for smaller releases that come out before the weekend of a mega blockbuseter; films like Spy and Insidious: Chapter 3 saw abnormally large drops last year after the release of Jurassic World, but managed to bounce back in the later weeks. Warcraft will probably drop around 65% or more, while The Conjuring 2 and Now You See Me 2 will probably drop over 50%.

In the limited release market, Eli Roth’s Clown is opening in a very surprising 100 theaters. The film was made in 2014 with virtually zero budget, and shelved for the past few years. Typically, a midnight movie like this would get a Video On Demand release or be unceremoniously dumped into a few theaters before disappearing. However, 100 theaters is surprising, but ultimately Clown probably won’t hit $100K for the weekend.

Bar for Success

Finding Dory is in good shape if it hits $100 million for the weekend. Meanwhile, Central Intelligence is in good shape at $30 million.


  1. Finding Dory – $139M
  2. Central Intelligence – $36M
  3. The Conjuring 2 – $19.5M
  4. Now You See Me 2 – $10M
  5. Warcraft – $8.5M



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