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.

 

 

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Weekend Forecast: ‘Pets’ Set to Take First

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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

Weekend Report: ‘Dory’ Repeats, ‘Tarzan’ Exceeds

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Over a very crowded Indpenendence Day weekend, both The Legend of Tarzan and The Purge: Election Year surpassed expectations, both opening over $30 million. Additionally, Finding Dory had yet another strong hold as it gets closer and closer to $400 million. On top of that, Swiss Army Man and Our Kind of Traitor both opened well in limited release. The only disappointing result was The BFG, which marks Disney’s third misfire in 2016.

Finding Dory retained first for the weekend, though not by nearly as much as expected. The film would up just $3 million ahead of The Legend of Tarzan with $41 million. After the 4th, it should be past the $380 million mark, and it’s only a matter of time until the film surpasses $500 million, easily making it the highest grossing film of the summer.

In second place, The Legend of Tarzan surpassed expectations in a big way with a surprisingly strong $38 million opening. Adding in the Holiday, and it could top $45 million. That’s an incredibly strong rebut for a film that basically had flop written all over it from the very beginning. It’s not a great start for sure, as the film carries a very hefty $180 million price tag, but this is definitely one of the films that I never would’ve guessed would even get close to the century mark. It’s not a guarantee that Tarzan hits $100 million, but if it can, that’s a great result for Warner brothers.

In third, The Purge Election Year actually wound up more than $10 million ahead of Disney’s The BFG, despite only carrying a $10 million budget. Thanks to strong marketing and the political tie in (including the not so subtle ‘Keep America Great’ tagline) the film was able to seem more relevant than ever, and wound up hugely surpassing expectations. The only bad news is that due to the tie in with the Holiday weekend and the fact that it dipped nearly 36% on Saturday, Election Year is likely to burn out very quickly. It’s likely that it will wind up with around $65 million total, or just around what the original Purge made, but considering it was estimated to open in the low $20 million range a few weeks ago, this is a big win.

In fourth, The BFG flopped with just $19 million. Considering it had the Disney branding, Steven Spielberg directing, and a $140 million budget, that’s very disappointing. What it likely came down to was that the trailers simply didn’t offer much of a story, instead focusing on the whimsical fairy tale aspect over any sort of legitimate plot. Not to mention, The Legend of Tarzan definitely had the more action-packed appeal that summer moviegoers look for. Opening on the same weekend was definitely a bad move, but it seemed for sure like The BFG could take on Tarzan. Ultimately, the film could approach $60 million domestically, but probably no more than that.

Even with the added bonus of the holiday weekend, Independence Day: Resurgence plummeted 60% to just $16.5 million in its second weekend. As of now the film is up to just $72 million, and its going to be a tough road to $100 million from here.

Just outside of the top 10, Swiss Army Man pulled in an impressive $1.4 million from 636 theaters. That’s more than triple what Green Room pulled in from over 100 more theaters, which is strange given that the films seemed to have similar appeal. However, A24 did a good job at marketing Swiss Army Man as more of a standard wide release, rather than an ultraviolent niche arthouse flick. Word of mouth seems strong so far, which could lead Swiss Army Man to pull in over $4 million. Compare that to last weekends The Neon Demon, which opened with just $589K and fell nearly 80% in its second weekend. Granted, Swiss Army Man was much more widely appealing, but it is still interesting to compare.

Also in limited release, Our Kind of Traitor opened with an impressive $1 million from just 373 theaters. The film was given essentially zero marketing (I follow the film industry to a fault and I hadn’t even heard of it before Thursday) and is typically the kind of limited release that pulls in under $1K per theater average. However, for some reason or another, this film ended up doing decent business.

 

Weekend Forecast: Can ‘Finding Dory’ Retain First over Crowded 4th of July?

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Between holdovers Finding Dory and Independence Day: Resurgence and newcomers The Legend of TarzanThe Purge: Election Year and The BFG, it’s going to be a very busy weekend at the box office.

Unless something drastic happens, it looks like Finding Dory is set to easily take first once again over the holiday weekend. Well, technically it isn’t the holiday, as the 4th happens to fall on a Monday this year. Typically, the releases for this week will open on the Wednesday before the Holiday, but because of this unusual circumstance, they’re simply opening on a normal Friday. That means all the new releases will probably open a bit lower than normal but have above average results on the 4th. As a result, it would make more sense to compare this weekend with Memorial Day than usual 4th of July releases.

With direct competition from The BFG (which Disney strangely set for just 2 weeks after Dory) it’s undoubtedly going to get a bit cannibalized. Still, it should wind up with at least $35 million for the weekend, and closer to $45 million over the four day weekend.

The Purge: Election Year marks the third installment in the very successful Purge franchise, which started off with a major surprise back in 2013. The original Purge cost just $3 million to produce, but opened to nearly $35 million in its opening weekend alone. That was one of the biggest surprise hits in years, and instantaneously a franchise was born. However, the film received poor word of mouth and ended up being absurdly front loaded, making nearly 53% of its total from opening weekend alone. Regardless, an $89 million worldwide total for a film that cost a fraction of that is undoubtedly a success. The Purge: Anarchy was debatably more successful. Despite opening lower, word of mouth led it to hold much better and wind up out grossing its predecessor by a solid $7 million. Despite the increased political angle and ramped up chaos in its marketing, it’s still going to have a hard time overcoming the “yet another Purge movie” mantra. As a result, lower grosses are inevitable. Look for The Purge: Election Year to wind up with around $25 million over the holiday.

Two big budget live action fairy tale adaptations hit theaters this weekend, but neither of them look like they’re going to be successful. The BFG will likely top The Legend of Tarzan thanks to its Steven Spielberg and Disney brand recognition, which should get some family audiences in the door. The Legend of Tarzan looks more like last years uber flop Pan than Disney’s infinitely more successful Jungle Book adaptation, and its box office results will reflect that. With a $140 million price tag for The BFG and a $180 million tag for The Legend of Tarzan, it looks like a double feature flop for the weekend.

Also opening is A24’s Swiss Army Man in 636 theaters. The film has relied primarily on internet hype and buzz, which has turned out to be much cheaper and more effective for the kinds of films that A24 releases. While it certainly has gotten a fair amount of attention, it doesn’t seem like something that will end up being a hit with general audiences. Green Room was debatably more hyped, but only opened with around $400K from 777 theaters. Don’t be surprised if Swiss Army Man ends up even lower than that thanks to its bizarre talking corpse premise.

Bar for Success

The Purge: Election Year is in good shape if it can hit $25 million over the four day weekend. The Legend of Tarzan and The BFG both carry massive price tags, and as a result really need to hit $40 million each over the holiday weekend, though that’s seeming less and less likely.

Predictions

(4 Day Weekend)

  1. Finding Dory – $48M
  2. The Purge: Election Year – $29.5M
  3. Independence Day: Resurgence – $21M
  4. The BFG – $19M
  5. The Legend of Tarzan – $17M

Swiss Army Man – $300K

 

Weekend Report: ‘Finding Dory’ Strong, ‘Independence Day’ Stumbles

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Despite 20 years of fan buildup and a massive budget, Independence Day Resurgence failed to capture the audience of more successful reboots, and added to the long list of disappointing would-be blockbusters in 2016.

Finding Dory easily retained first place without breaking a sweat, down 46% to $73 million. That’s one of the best second weekends for an animated film ever, and brings its domestic total up to $286 million in just two weeks. Unless The BFG or The Legend of Tarzan really ends up surprising next weekend, it looks like Dory could score a three-peat in first place.

In second place, Independence Day Resurgence opened with just $41 million. That’s lower than the $50 million that Fox claimed they were hoping for, which in reality means they were banking on an opening of $60 million plus. While it was definitely an odd choice to not release the film over the actual holiday weekend, there’s a few reasons why they didn’t; for one, the actual 4th of July happens to land on a Monday, meaning that in a rare turn of events, the films slated for release will actually be released on Friday, rather than the usual Wednesday start. The original Independence Day pulled in $186 million over its five day start back in 1996 (adjusted for inflation, of course) while Resurgence is likely going to just barely break past the century mark. While it should hold up slightly better than average next weekend, a B Cinemascore and 32% on Rotten Tomatoes will keep it from becoming  a long term hit.

In third place, Central Intelligence edged out The Shallows with $18 million. That’s a decent hold for the action comedy, which has amassed $69 million over two weeks. It’s likely that the film will wind up with around $95 million total.

In fourth place, The Shallows surpassed expectations with a strong $16 million opening weekend. Most box office predictions had the film pegged at high single digits (except this one, not to brag) but its solid 75% on Rotten Tomatoes and strong marketing appealed to the teen demographic, who ended up making this a solid win for Sony. The series has had a few small hits such as this and Miracles from Heaven, but an awfully high number of misfires, including Pride and Prejudice and ZombiesThe 5th WaveConcussion, and The Brothers Grimsby. Their upcoming summer slate isn’t terribly promising, either; Ghostbusters is definitely a wild card, but a $154 million budgeted production isn’t exactly something the studio wants to feel iffy on, while Sausage Party is going to have a hard time hitting a mainstream audience.

In fifth place, Free State of Jones flopped with $7.7 million. Going into the weekend, there was some hope that the film could serve as decent counterprogramming for adult audiences, but awful reviews and a general lack of interest kept that from happening. With a $50 million price tag, it was by far the priciest release for distributor STX Entertainment, who’s only other wide releases were The Gift at $5 million, The Secret in their Eyes at $19.5 million, and Hardcore Henry at $2 million. This definitely isn’t a good result for a rather high profile historical drama, which should’ve at least hit the $10 million mark. With very little appeal in overseas markets, don’t expect Free State of Jones to break $50 million worldwide.

With a 49% hold in its third weekend, The Conjuring 2 surpassed the total gross of Annabelle, bringing its new total to $86 million, and past $240 million worldwide. There’s still a very slim chance that the film could pass $100 million, though it seems more likely that it will end up at around $95 million.

Finally, The Neon Demon was a massive flop, bringing in just $606K from 783 theaters. While director Nicolas Winding Refn may have procured a small following in the art house crowd, the ultra violent and sexualized horror thriller had no place in a release as wide as this. Speaking of which, Swiss Army Man opened in 3 theaters and started off with an excellent $114K, giving it a per theater average of $38K. The film is set to go wide next weekend, though no official theater count has been made available from the studio.

 

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.