Pixar swept up the competition over the Fourth of July weekend, just as the company did last year, topping three major new films with the continued success of Finding Dory. As a result, The Legend of Tarzan, The Purge: Election Year, and Steven Spielberg’s The BFG had to fight for audiences this weekend, and the results were somewhat surprising.
In first place yet again, and down 42% for the three-day weekend, Finding Dory earned another $41.9 million for a $372.2m total. Disney has estimated the four-day weekend at $50.5m for a $380.8m total domestically and $538.2m worldwide. At this point, Dory is tracking 29% ahead of Toy Story 3, Pixar’s highest grossing film. The forgetful fish-sequel is tracking to finish around $534 million – an amazing run that could place it at number six on the top all-time domestic chart.
In second place, WB’s risky tentpole The Legend of Tarzan had a surprising weekend take of $38.1m over the three-day frame. While technically this is a win (when considering abysmal expectations) for the studio, it is also a lukewarm one considering the cost of the film — a sky-high $180 million. Tarzan opened to negative reviews, but a positive ‘A-‘ Cinemascore, and managed to earn the high-end of expectations. The film has been largely looked-upon throughout the year as a certain bomb-in-the-making. With a likely $45 million in the bank by the end of tomorrow, this is not quite the disaster tracking suggested, and should still manage an overall gross of around $120m barring any massive free-falls in the coming weeks. The film was directed by David Yates (the last four Harry Potter films), and stars Alexander Skarsgaard, Margot Robbie, Samuel L. Jackson, and Christoph Waltz. While this isn’t a Planet of the Apes success, this also is not a “what were they thinking?” Jack the Giant Slayer or John Carter flop.
In third place, The Purge: Election Year continues the strength of the murder-is-legal-for-one-night franchise, having grossed a healthy $30.8 million 3-day/$34m 4-day. With the timeliness of the ‘election’ angle, the horror-thriller sequel brought back the star of the second film, Frank Grillo, who has also made a name for himself in the Captain America sequels. The critics were split on the movie, just as they were for the second film, but audiences gave the film the best Cinemascore of the franchise — a solid ‘B+’. It will be interesting to see if the film can top the final gross of The Purge: Anarchy, which earned $72 million. No matter what, this is a huge win for the studio as the production cost was a small $10 million.
Disney and Steven Spielberg suffered a slim debut for their expensive Roald Dahl-adaptation of The BFG. Earning $19.6m 3-day/$23.6m 4-day, this $140m production is going to have to hold extremely well and also make a huge splash overseas just to recoup its budget. While it’s difficult to exclaim ‘failure!’ for the master filmmaker’s latest endeavor, this is a surprisingly low gross that just goes to show how popular Dory is right now, and also how little interest there was for this movie. Critics were positive, but not ecstatic for the movie. You can check out GeekFeed’s review from Greg Forrest here. Audiences also enjoyed the film, giving it an ‘A-‘ Cinemascore. We will see how this film plays out over the rest of the season, but it will be facing further competition starting with next weekend’s Secret Life of Pets. Even though Spielberg’s films tend to have great holds, a $70-ish million final is probably the best case scenario.
In fifth place, Independence Day: Resurgence fell a tough 59% over the 3-day weekend. Grossing $16.5 million, this colossal disappointment is not holding well. It has climbed to $72.6 million thus far, and might squeak its way to $110 million – a little over 1/3 of its predecessor gross. In terms of actual tickets sold, the sequel has only sold about 12% of what the original did. Yikes! The updated worldwide gross is $249 million. Consider this franchise dead for now.
In sixth place, Central Intelligence is holding well, dipping only 32% to $12.3 million for a $91.7 million total after three weekends. The Dwayne Johnson-Kevin Hart action-comedy is now headed for a likely $120 million final gross.
Another horror-thriller is doing well at the box office. Despite dropping down the chart to seventh place, the Blake Lively-starring The Shallows dipped only 46% to $9 million for a $35.2m gross. The shark-thriller is now headed for at least a $50 million final.
Falling to eighth place, Free State of Jones is quite simply not making a name for itself with audiences. The Civil War-drama starring Matthew McConaughey dropped 45% to $4.1 million for a meager $15.1 million gross, a very disappointing result for a high-profile film costing $50m for distributor STX.
In ninth place, The Conjuring 2 dropped by 50% over the 3-day weekend to $3.85 million for a $95.2 million total. The sequel will crack $100 million soon, but will fall short of the $137m total of the first film. The sequel is still a great success for the genre. It currently has $274m worldwide.
In other box office news, Swiss Army Man expanded from only 3 theaters and added 633 theaters this weekend to a so-so $1.44 million for a $2,276 per-theater average and $1.6 million total in 11th place. The Daniel Radcliffe-Paul Dano indie ended up back-to-back with Radcliffe’s studio sequel, Now You See Me 2, which dropped to 10th place and has now earned a disappointing total of $58.6 million — a total well-below its predecessor.
Next weekend sees the releases of The Secret Life of Pets for the family crowd, and the raunchy Zac Efron comedy Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates.