Saturday, July 2, 2016

Bigger Bubble: 'Finding Dory' Set To Three-Peat, 'BFG' Doesn't Impress [UPDATE]

Pixar's newest is like the gift that keeps on giving...

While it was at #3 yesterday, it's set to win the weekend against newcomers The Legend of Tarzan and The Purge: Election Year, the latter of which is mostly a frontloaded title to begin with. The real surprise here was Legend of Tarzan, which was set to do much worse than it did yesterday. Though the $14 million gross isn't terrific, it's still something. I'm not sure if the picture will make back its $180 million budget, but it's an okay-ish start.

Finding Dory is projected to take in at least $40 million for the 3-day, over $50 million for the 4-day, winning overall... That means it'll be at over $380 million by Monday... $380 million... The movie is cruising. Word of mouth is out in full force here, and until The Secret Life of Pets opens next weekend, it's been unrivaled in pretty much every way. Independence Day: Resurgence came and went last weekend, and this weekend the competition wasn't as strong.

On a sad note, The BFG - as expected - has underperformed. The four-day gross is supposed to be less than $25 million, even worse than Alice Through the Looking Glass' three-day gross. Disney marketing barely gave this one a push, despite the fact that Steven Spielberg directed it, it's based on a Roald Dahl book, and was the last script written by the late Melissa Mathison. Disney sees no need for this kind of movie anymore, so this was essentially them getting something off their chests...

Which is unfortunate, considering the pretty good reviews this film has gotten, and again... It's a new Spielberg family-adventure. This should've been a prime Disney theatrical event, not Finding Dory's doormat. If anything, they should've staked out a September/October opening, somewhere a little far from the summer rush, and a decent distance from Pete's Dragon, which might also underperform. Maybe overseas numbers could save it, similar to what happened to Spielberg's own The Adventures of Tintin. Paramount dumped that one in the states, but other territories came to the rescue. It's getting a sequel.

That being said, word-of-mouth from those who actually saw it is said to be pretty positive. Coupled with pretty good reviews, I expect this one to pull a good 3.5x multiplier, getting it to roughly $65 million. It doesn't mean much, unless it makes over $300 million overseas. With a $140 million budget, the pic probably needs to make roughly $350 million in order to break even... Perhaps all of this could've been avoided if Disney marketed the movie better, or... Novel concept... Didn't spend over $100 million on it. Clearly Disney poured the marketing into Dory and left this one to wither. It's a pattern with them now. In May, Civil War got it all and Alice got nearly zilch. Good Dinosaur was quietly thrown out while all the marketing love went into Star Wars.

Finding Dory will cover the loss anyways, and so will Disney's trifecta of autumn hits (Doctor Strange, Moana, and Rogue One). For now, it seems like Pixar's fish sequel will finally be the one to dethrone Shrek 2 at the domestic box office and become the highest-grossing animated movie here. Shrek 2 has kept the crown since 2004, with an unadjusted $441 million. Ever since its release, the films that came the closest to topping it were Toy Story 3 ($415 million) and Frozen ($400 million). Finding Dory looks to pass that by the end of July. Everything will come full circle, for the record-holder before Shrek 2 was Finding Nemo.

So again, how high does it go? I don't believe that animated movies cannibalize each other, with that I think Finding Dory will co-exist with The Secret Life of Pets. If audiences really like both movies, people will keep coming and will see both. Zootopia held up fine against big blockbusters, family flicks like The Angry Birds Movie, and Disney's own Jungle Book, so this should hold on. Pets shouldn't take too much wind out of the sail, Ice Age 5 won't be a roadblock... Yeah, Finding Dory actually could land in the 470-480 region, if not higher... It might even have a slight shot at $500 million domestically. A first for an animated feature...

To be updated with weekend actuals...

... Weekend estimates are in. The fish did indeed score the big five-oh, and are now sitting at $381 million domestically. Despite not being out in many international markets, Finding Dory is now at $555 million worldwide. Not bad, not bad...

The BFG, as expected, opened poorly. $22 million for the four-day... That's pretty bad. Again, the picture has to make roughly $350 million to make back that $140 million price tag. It makes you wonder why Disney would go through the trouble of making a big-budget film that they ultimately didn't give two darns about... Like pretty much every other film they've done with Spielberg in the recent years. That 30-picture Touchstone/DreamWorks deal ending around 15 movies in was no accident...

But what's frustrating is the tone-deaf "analysis" that has followed. Variety asked out loud if Steven Spielberg... Steven freakin' Spielberg... has lost his magic touch or whatever, ignoring the plain facts right in front of them. The movie had horrible marketing. There's no other way around that. It's a well-received film, it has nothing to do with the quality. Most movies bomb because no one wants to see them in the first place, regardless of how good or bad they are. Perhaps the film could have legs, but it probably won't be enough to save it, unless it pulls ridiculous numbers overseas.

It's plain and simple, Disney does this thing now where they release two big tentpole pictures close to each other, but market the hell out of one while giving the other squat. This time, it was Finding Dory and The BFG. Like I and many others are saying, they should've released it in the autumn. September/October-ish, away from Pete's Dragon and away from Doctor Strange.

Not like Disney's fretting, because Finding Dory is doing so well, plus they had the billion-dollar smashes Zootopia and Captain America: Civil War this year. Jungle Book has made $934 million worldwide so far, plus - again - there's the autumn hit trio of Doctor Strange, Moana, and Rogue One. They'll be fine.

The Legend of Tarzan on the other hand surprised. Now it may not make back its $180 million in the end, but the opening is pretty decent for something like that. I guess some of that marketing did pay off, and I'm hearing more positive things from audiences and friends who saw the movie. Apparently the film's very pulpy and retro, a vibe Warner Bros.' marketing did not give off... At all...

Elsewhere in animation-land, The Angry Birds Movie is pretty much out of the race, it's a profitable film. Zootopia is still hanging in there, nearing $1,020 million worldwide. The Secret Life of Pets is out in some international territories, it has scored $29 million so far. Word on the street is that the film is fun, if not a bit slight. That's a country mile from the reception Ice Age: Collision Course is getting. Reviews and reactions? Rock-bottom for the franchise and for Blue Sky. Doesn't matter, it's probably easily going to pocket $600 million overseas alone.

Where do you think Finding Dory will end up?


  1. Yeah, The BFG is pretty sad. It had so many factors that they could've attracted the audience so easily. If only they put in some effort in the marketing, even minuscule. I guess Disney just wanted to get rid of their DreamWorks deal ASAP. I don't even understand at this point why they switched the branding from Touchstone, like it didn't even matter to them! So sad :/

  2. Personally I hated the fact that Disney left The BFG with little to no promotion. I mean it wouldn't have been the biggest hit of the year but it could've done okay here in the states. Disney really needs to get a new marketing department so they can make films like The BFG and The Good Dinosaur break even and turn a decent profit. Let's hope The BFG does well overseas so the movie won't flop like The Finest Hours or The Good Dinosaur

    1. It should do better overseas, particularly in Great Britain, where Raold Dahl is arguably the best well known, and The BFG is, after all, a British fantasy. Unfortunate that this didn't do as well as it could have here, though, but I expect better results worldwide.

  3. Did you notice that now Finding Dory and Toy Story 2 are the only movies in the 1st spot in BO for 3 weeks in a row?

  4. I saw it 2 days ago, and I loved it, even if it isn't Steven Spielberg's best film. I'm sad that it isn't doing well in the US because Spielberg is one of my heroes and Roald Dahl has always been one of my favorite authors. I hope someday it gets a theatrical re-release in the states so it'll get another chance at finding an audience. I never realized there are a great deal of people who probably don't know who Roald Dahl was.