Unsurprisingly, Finding Dory had one of the best openings of all time for an animated film, pulling in a fantastic $136 million in its opening weekend. Central Intelligence also got off to a strong start, while Warcraft had one of the worst drops ever for a film playing in over 3,000 theaters.
Finding Dory, the long anticipated sequel to the 2003 surprise hit, opened in 4,305 theaters with an estimated $136.1 million. That’s up significantly from the original films $99 million opening (adjusted for inflation), but it isn’t actually the highest opening ever for an animated film, despite many headlines saying the opposite. Both Shrek 2 and Shrek the Third both opened to around $150 million each, and that was without the addition of 3D and IMAX. Shrek was a big hit when it first came out, but didn’t have a massive opening weekend by any stretch. Instead, it became a word of mouth hit that ended up holding extremely well and doing gangbusters on the home video market, leading to significantly increased demand in a sequel. This same pattern was seen in the Matrix and Pirates of the Carribean series. Finding Nemo came out when Pixar was just starting to really gain traction thanks to Monsters, Inc and Toy Story 2. As a result, there wasn’t the same massive jump in audience that some had expected. Regardless, it’s a fantastic result, and should have no problem topping Captain America: Civil War to become the highest grossing film of the summer.
In second place, Central Intelligence opened with around $34.5 million. The action comedy was sold exclusively on the star power of Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart, which ended up actually being a smart move. While Kevin Hart isn’t the massive draw he used to be, Dwayne Johnson still is, leading films like San Andreas and Pain and Gain to unexpected success. While some thought that this might really become a breakout hit (some were predicting $50M+) this is still a very respectable start.
In third, The Conjuring 2 was down 62% in its second weekend. That’s obviously worse than the original Conjuring, but considering it was going up against such a massive film, a bigger drop was inevitable. Still, by horror sequel standards, it wasn’t actually all that bad. $100 million domestically still isn’t totally out of the question.
Warcraft was down an atrocious 73%, making just $6.5 million. That’s lower than even the most pessimistic of expectations, and one of the worst drops on record for a major film playing in over 3,000 theaters. This is undoubtedly a disappointment for Universal, as it will have a hard time making it to $50 million at its current rate.
In the limited release market, there were a few notable new releases. Clown, the Eli Roth horror film, made an atrocious $27K from just 100 theaters. At an average of around $11 per ticket, most theaters sold just 24 tickets over the entire weekend. The other release, Seoul Searching, opened exclusively in the AMC Empire 25 in New York City. Many showings were entirely sold out, meaning that the only limit for this film was its availability. It’s possible that it will get a small expansion into a few dozen theaters, but likely no more than that.