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

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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.

 

 

Weekend Report: Can ‘Independence Day’ Surge Into First?

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It’s going to be a crowded weekend before 4th of July, with a bit of something for everyone going into wide release. For the teen horror audience, there’s The Shallows. For the blockbuster audience, there’s Independence Day: Resurgence. For the adult history audience, there’s Free State of Jones, and finally The Neon Demon for the art house crowd. However, it’s still likely that Finding Dory is going to win the weekend.

A few months ago, it seemed like all but a guarantee that Independence Day would follow suit of other reboot/sequels of incredibly popular licenses and open in the $65-$70M+ range. However, the hype has been way below average for a film of this caliber, and due to a numer of different circumstances, expectations have been lowered into a far more modest $45-$50M range. For a $200M film, that wouldn’t be a great result, but it’s looking more and more likely. For starters, the film is sitting at a very mediocre 55% on Rotten Tomatoes. That isn’t really going to help or hurt the films performance, as its only a bit lower than its predecessor. Considering how drab most of the summer releases have been, don’t be shocked if Independence Day opens under $40 million for the weekend.

The Shallows could very possibly hit a surprisingly strong third place debut ahead of Free State of Jones this weekend. Surprisingly, the film has gotten a very strong 75% on Rotten Tomatoes, far above average for any sort of shark themed horror film.

Free State of Jones seemed like it could work as solid counter programming for adult audiences, but now that’s seeming less and less likely. The film has received a terrible 32% on Rotten Tomatoes, and a lack of marketing is also going to hurt. Don’t be shocked if Jones opens with under $10 million.

Also opening is The Neon Demon in a very surprisingly high 783 theaters. Considering the directors last film, Only God Forgives was released in about 1/10th of that, this result is very surprising. The film has very limited appeal outside of the art house crowd, and has had almost zero marketing, making it questionable as to why the studio chose to gave it such a wide release. Ultimately, expect The Neon Demon to only gross between $1-$2 million.

In limited release, A24’s very hyped Swiss Army Man is getting released in just 3 theaters this weekend. Supposedly the film will get a nationwide release next weekend, but it would be surprising to see such a bizarre, niche film getting released in over 1,000 theaters. Still, A24 has had a surprisingly successful track record recently, so don’t be surprised if they can turn this one into a hit.

Bar for Success

For a massive budgeted reboot of a very well known 90s film, Independence Day Resurgence really should be getting to at least $55 million this weekend. Free State of Jones is good with $15 million, while The Shallows is fine at $10 million. For a film that has very little appeal and zero marketing, The Neon Demon is okay if it can get past $2 million for the weekend.

Predictions

  1. Finding Dory – $76M
  2. Independence Day Resurgence – $42M
  3. Central Intelligence – $18M
  4. The Shallows – $17M
  5. Free State of Jones – $11M

– The Neon Demon – $1.2M

Weekend Report: ‘Dory’ Finds Huge Box Office Success

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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.

 

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

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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.

Predictions

  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