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411 Box Office Report: Finding Dory Holds at #1, Independence Day Opens Soft

June 26, 2016 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
Finding Dory

Alien invaders were no match for cute fish at the box office this weekend, as Finding Dory dominated for a second week in a row. The Pixar animated film topped the charts with $73.2 million in its second weekend. That is a very impressive drop of just 46%, the same hold that Toy Story 3 had on its way to being the top-grossing Pixar film to date. This bodes well for Dory, which opened $25 million higher than Toy Story 3.

Thus far, Dory has brought itself up to $286.6 million domestically and $396.9 million worldwide. At this point, the film looks likely to have at least a 3.25 multiple from its opening weekend, and even that is on the low end for a Pixar film. Even with some family-friendly competition on the way, it should be able to top $450 million domestically by the end of its run. The budget was $200 million.

Dory’s box office-topping work left Independence Day: Resurgence in the dust. The sequel to 1996’s Independence Day finished at #2 with a relatively muted $41.6 million. That was at the low end of expectations for the film; many prognosticators had pegged it as opening in the $45 million to $50 million range, with some predictions as high as $55 million. It was not to be though, as audiences found themselves drawn to different fare.

There are a lot of reasons why Resurgence didn’t track as well as Twentieth Century Fox needed; the film got low reviews at 33% on Rotten Tomatoes (well below the 62% score of the first) and tracking dropped off significantly as the release date got closer, suggesting that people were not sold by the marketing for the film. But the simplest and most accurate explanation is that audiences just weren’t as interested as Fox and director Roland Emmerich believed. While there are some films that can survive decades between entries (i.e. Mad Max: Fury Road), Independence Day just didn’t buy into the idea of revisiting the story. Audiences who did go to see it gave it a middling rating with a B CinemaScore, which won’t help its box office legs.

The good news for Fox is that the film’s special effects and event status played better overseas, where it brought in a total of $101.5 million from fifty-seven markets. That won’t be enough to turn this film into a smash hit, but it will go a long way toward cutting down on any potential writedown. With a $143.1 million total worldwide start, there is still a long way to go considering the $160 million budget and hefty marketing spending. Domestically it will likely fall off in traditional sci-fi fashion, with around $110 million as a likely finish.

Central Intelligence held on well for the #3 spot, bringing in $18.4 million. The Dwayne Johnson/Kevin Hart action comedy was off 48%, which is comparable to Spy’s 46% drop around the same time last year. The film has now brought in $69.3 million domestically and $83.6 million from a $50 million budget; it should be able to end its domestic run at $120 million to $125 million at this point.

Blake Lively had a great start at the box office with survival thriller The Shallows, which finished at #4 with $16.7 million. That’s way above the $8 million to $10 million most were expecting. The film, which sees Lively’s medical student forced to contend with a great white shark while out surfing, is Lively’s best opening for a film she was toplining without a bigger name. Her previous best was last year’s The Age of Adaline which brought in $13.2 million to start on its way to $42.6 million domestically.

While The Shallows’ opening was a surprise for many, it probably shouldn’t have been. There haven’t been a ton of thrillers at the box office, and The Shallows offered something different than the traditional horror elements of The Conjuring 2 for audiences needing a jolt. Sony recognized this and moved it up five days to release this weekend at the last minute, instead of the middle of next week. Critics reviewed the film quite well, with a 74% on Rotten Tomatoes, and the high-concept plot was an easily-marketable one for the studio. Audiences who saw it were appreciative; the film sits at a B+ CinemaScore with an audience that skews older and female.

This should all pay off fairly well for the film’s final domestic chances. The Shallows is the first mainstream shark-themed film in a while, but movies centered around the animals have traditionally held on quite well; even Deep Blue Sea legged out to an almost 4x multiple in 1999. While that kind of business is possible for The Shallows, a 3 to 3.5 seems more realistic. That would put it at around $50 million to $55 million, which seems like a safe bet and will be a nice little profit considering the $17 million budget.

The biggest disappointment at the box office this weekend came in at #5, as Free State of Jones roused just $7.8 million from movie-goers. The Matthew McConaughey-starring Civil War story was expected to do numbers around where The Shallow finished off, but ironically finished with about what that film was predicted for. The film is a bump in the road for McConaughey, who has been riding high over the past few years during a career resurgence that saw him score critical acclaim in movies like Mud and Dallas Buyers Club and box office success in the likes of Interstellar.

The problem was, Free State just wasn’t very good to most people and it showed. It’s sitting at just 40% on Rotten Tomatoes, which is not good for a serious war drama which always has to count on box office legs during the summer months. Audiences are getting used to the idea that a serious film with a big-name star dropped during the summer is probably (though not always) a dog, and that seemed to be what kept people away here.

On the plus side, audiences who saw it liked it with an A- CinemaScore, and that audience skewed much older; 92% over twenty-five and a rare 51% over fifty. This is good news because this is an audience that is more likely to influence box office via word of mouth; the over-fifty crowd usually doesn’t rush out to theaters. Still, the film is very likely looking at a signficant loss for the studio with a final domestic gross of $30 million to $40 million and a budget of $50 million. Civil War films don’t tend to play well outside of the US for obvious reasons, so there won’t be any overseas money bailing this one out.

The Conjuring 2 was down three spots to #6 with $7.7 million. The film is not seeing the same strong holds as the first film but is still racing along quite well with $86.9 million domestically and $242.9 million worldwide. Significantly, it is coming up on the first movie’s $180 million overseas total. The horror film should finish out with around $115 million domestically and is a huge profit for Warner Bros. The budget was just $40 million.

Now You See Me 2 also dropped three, down to #7 in its third weekend with $5.7 million. The ensemble heist film’s has now brought in $52.1 million domestically and $159.7 million worldwide, helped along by a big $43.3 million start in China this weekend. It should end up pulling in a profit for the studio with a final domestic gross of $70 million still on target.

X-Men: Apocalypse was down two spots to #8 with $2.5 million in its fifth weekend. The Fox-produced comic book adaptation has reached $151.1 million domestically and $516.1 million worldwide. It should finish off at around $158 million in the US; the budget was $178 million.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows slipped fell two rungs to #9 in its fourth weekend with $2.4 million. The action-adventure sequel is now up to $77.1 million domestically and $153.9 million worldwide, with a likely $85 million as a final domestic finish. The budget was $135 million.

Alice Through the Looking Glass closed out the top ten with $2.1 million, down two spots from last weekend. The sequel’s domestic total is up to $74.6 million while its worldwide total is $249.1 million. At this point the film is looking like it will finish with about $80 million in the US and will be a money loser for Disney considering the expensive $170 million budget.

The total weekend take was $188.4 million, up 2% from last year’s $184.1 million take that was led by Jurassic Park’s $54.5 million third weekend and Inside Out’s $52.3 million second weekend.

Can Finding Dory threepeat with a #1 showing next weekend? It seems likely as it heads into the four-day weekend against a trio of very different contenders for the throne: Stephen Spielberg’s family adventure The BFG, Warner Bros. action-oriented The Legend of Tarzan and Universal’s action-horror film The Purge: Election Year. The BFG will take the most from Dory but probably won’t get above $35 million to 40 million, while Tarzan should swing to $25 million and The Purge will bring in around $20 million. It would take a much larger fall than this weekend to put Dory below any of those.

Note: Numbers include Sunday estimates and are three-day estimates. A studio recoups 55% of a film’s grosses on average, meaning it needs to approximately double its budget to be profitable during its theatrical run.

BOX OFFICE TOP TEN (Three-Day Numbers)
1. Finding Dory – $73.2 million ($286.6 million total)
2. Independence Day: Resurgence – $41.6 million ($41.6 million total)
3. Central Intelligence – $18.4 million ($69.3 million total)
4. The Shallows – $16.7 million ($16.7 million total)
5. Free State of Jones – $7.8 million ($7.8 million total)
6. The Conjuring 2 – $7.7 million ($86.9 million total)
7. Now You See Me 2 – $5.7 million ($52.1 million total)
8. X-Men: Apocalypse – $2.5 million ($151.1 million total)
9. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows – $2.4 million ($77.1 million total)
10. Alice Through the Looking Glass – $2.1 million ($74.6 million total)