Weekend Report: ‘Secret Life of Pets’ Roars Into First

secret-life-of-pets-4

Illumination Entertainment officially cemented itself as a major name in animation, with their latest film The Secret Life of Pets taking the highest opening ever for an original animated film. Thanks to its strong marketing campaign and appealing premise, the film opened to a phenomenal $103.1 million. That’s way higher than last years Inside Out and only around $12 million lower than Minions.

It’s really hard to overstate just how impressive this debut is. Even with the marketing, the premise of talking animals is usually not one that can lead to such a monstrous debut. Disney’s Zootopia had zero competition and ended up $28 million lower in its opening weekend. Granted, that was a February release as opposed to July, but it gives an indication of how credible Illumination is as a brand.

In fact, the only ones not celebrating this release are Sony Pictures. Next week, they have the highly controversial Ghostbusters set to open, and with a big chunk of the family audience taken out, it’s looking like Pets will be able to maintain first place next weekend.

Also opening was wedding comedy Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates, which took in a solid $16 million. That’s notably above the $10-$12 million expectations going into the weekend, but still isn’t a great start for a film that cost $33 million. For comparisons sake, Dirty Grandpa opened with around $11 million, while Neighbors 2 took in $21 million. Overall, this is a fine start for the R rated comedy, which should be able to pull in over $40 million by the end of its run.

Surprisingly, second place didn’t go to Finding Dory this weekend. Instead, The Legend of Tarzan held surprisingly well after its breakout 4th of July weekend, down just 47% to $20.6 million. That brings it up to $80 million in just two weeks, and should be able to top the $100 million mark without breaking a sweat. At this point, it seems likely that the film winds up with over $110 million, making it one of the biggest surprise hits of the year.

Don’t feel too bad for Finding Dory, however, as the film managed to top fellow Disney release Captain America: Civil War to become the highest grossing 2016 release to date.

The Purge: Election Year took an unsurprisingly sharp fall, down 63% to $11 million. Believe it or not, that’s actualy the best hold yet for any film in the franchise. That’s especially surprising consdering it seemed like the Fourth of July weekend would attract extra attention. The first film fell over 70% in its second weekend, but that was mostly due to the very poor reception and word of mouth. By the third film, however, it became pretty clear what it was going to be, and audiences seemed to respond accordingly. With $58 million in just two weeks, it looks like Election Year will be able to pass the original film, and could even top the $71 million total of Anarchy. Don’t be surprised if a fourth Purge film gets greenlit any day now.

The final release from last weekend was The BFG, which failed to save face in its second week of release. Suffering a 60% drop, the film took in just $7.6 million. That’s less than half of what The Legend of Tarzan has made with the same amount of time in theaters, and about 2/3’s of what The Purge Election Year has made, despite costing fourteen times as much to produce.

In the limited release market, the only noteworthy opening was Captain Fantastic with a so-so $98K from four theaters. Given the strong reviews and appealing premise, it seemed like this really had the potential to break out, but a $24K per theater average for a film like this isn’t anything to write home about. It should be expanding in the next few weeks, but don’t expect it to get into more than 200-300 theaters at the most.

Action comedy Central Intelligence was able to top the century mark this weekend, bringing its new total to $108 million. Considering its still in sixth place, it should be able to wind up with around $120-$130 million by the end of its run. Speaking of which, The Conjuring 2 is just about to hit that same number, with a total of $99.3 million after 5 weeks of release.

 

 

Advertisements

Weekend Forecast: ‘Pets’ Set to Take First

the-secret-life-of-pets-trailer

Illumination Entertainment is set to further cement its reinforce its credibility in the animation department with The Secret Life of Pets, set to open in over 4,300 theaters. The studio found massive success with their Despicable Me franchise, with two films, a spinoff and another sequel set for next summer. Additionally, their adaptation of The Lorax was incredibly popular, opening to over $70 million back in 2012. So far, none of Illuminations animated films have opened under $56 million, which is a claim that neither Pixar or Dreamworks could proclaim. Granted, its only a matter of time before one of their films isn’t a hit, and it could very well be Sing, set to hit theaters this Christmas For the time being, however, Secret Life of Pets seems set to be a huge hit.

The main reason why Pets has such great potential is because of its premise. Cute talking animals and the idea of what pets do while their owners are away is a very universally appealing idea, as pretty much everyone has experience with dogs or cats. As a result, it wouldn’t be at all surprising if Pets opened higher than The Lorax this weekend.

Also opening is the latest R rated comedy Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates. The comedic duo of Zac Efron and Adam Devine isn’t exactly going to sell a ton of tickets, but the pairing of Aubrey Plaza and Anna Kendrick could make this a good choice for a date film. The trailers have done a decent job at marketing some decent jokes, and it seems like an entertaining enough premise for a summer comedy. So far, the reviews aren’t great (currently sitting at a 45% on Rotten Tomatoes) and it doesn’t seem like Mike and Dave will be able to break out like other comedies have in the past few months.

Last weekends releases probably won’t hold too well. The Purge: Election Year ended up being massively front loaded, dropping 35% from Friday and Saturday. The BFG continues to go up against strong competition from Finding Dory and now Pets, and The Legend of Tarzan will likely have a harsh fall due to poor reviews and mixed word of mouth.

In limited release, Captain Fantastic opens in four theaters in New York and Los Angeles, and should be able to pull in a very strong per theater average, likely above $30K

Bar for Success

Considering the budget for The Secret Life of Pets is just $75 million, it doesn’t need to be massive this weekend. If it can hit $50 million, it’s a win.

With a $33 million budget and heavy marketing, Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates is in good shape at $15 million.

Predictions

  1. The Secret Life of Pets – $68M
  2. Finding Dory – $21M
  3. The Legend of Tarzan – $18M
  4. Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates – $13.5M
  5. The Purge: Election Year -$11M