Sunday, July 17, 2016

The Fish Ascend, The Pets Descend: 'Finding Dory' Breaks New Record, 'Pets' Dips

Finding Dory, at long last, is now - unadjusted - the highest grossing animated film at the domestic box office...

Falling a solid 47% this weekend, Finding Dory now stands tall at $445 million domestically. How much juice is left? Can it make it to $500 million domestically? I'm going to say no for now, but a $470 million finish is still magnificent nonetheless.

This weekend, it just opened in Mexico and Japan, the UK gets it at the end of the month (sorry to remind you of that, overseas readers), and the rest of continental Europe gets it from August to September. Finding Nemo took in $528 million overseas alone back in 2003 without the aid of 3D and IMAX 3D, not to mention lower ticket prices. Dory's at $276 million overseas now, how high will it swim from there? I think it's destined to cross $1 billion either way, but in the end it may not beat Frozen.

Either way, Pixar's fish are #1 again. Shrek 2 took the domestic crown from Nemo over twelve years ago, now Dory took it back. For the better I say, for Finding Dory is a great and important animated sequel that's about disabilities and embracing them, a film we need in this world.

The Secret Life of Pets may not be as leggy as I initially thought it would be. Dipping a rather hard 51% this weekend, maybe this one was a little more frontloaded? Either way, it's not bad, but it's got nothing on the drops of some other high animated openers. It may settle for a sub-$400 million total domestically, but again, anything above $300 million is astounding for an original animated film. It still hasn't opened in several overseas territories yet, but I expect The Secret Life of Pets to make at least $700 million worldwide.

As pointed out by shocked analysts, animation's ruling a summer of disappointments and come-and-go sequels. It's no surprise, Finding Dory is a sequel to a 13-year-old beloved movie, The Secret Life of Pets is a film that looked like a must-see to many audiences. That's why they're making truckloads, simple as that.

Most of these other films aren't cutting it because they didn't quite look desirable to audiences, regardless of how good or bad they were as movies. The flopping sequels - Alice Through the Looking Glass and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows - are sequels to films that weren't beloved, just one-and-done hits. Independence Day was fresh and exciting in 1996, twenty years and twenty-thousand CG'ed alien invasion movies later, the sequel looked been there-done that. Now You See Me 2 stayed flat on opening weekend, and doesn't have the surprise original's legs - maybe because (again) the first Now You See Me was just a one-and-done thing. Neighbors was probably just that too, despite the reviews the sequel got,

Then there's X-Men: Apocalypse, which is only disappointing if you forget that it actually performed on par with X-Men: First Class and The Wolverine. Days of the Future Past spiked in 2014 because it reunited the original cast with the new cast. Deadpool did well because it's Deadpool. If the X-Men franchise wants more Days of Future Past-type grosses, the filmmakers will have to do more than just "another X-Men movie." Perhaps Gambit could be the next Deadpool? Who knows. Marvel Studios on the other hand seems to know where it's at: Civil War pit superheroes against superheroes, it's become one of the MCU's biggest. Projections say DC's all-villains installment Suicide Squad is set to open with over $120 million...

Well-received original comedy Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping was barely given a release, while another original comedy Central Intelligence did quite well. The BFG is doing badly because Disney didn't give it any marketing love and audiences are tepid on it, despite pretty good reviews from the critics.

Three years ago, analysts asked aloud if there were "too many" animated features, if there was a "glut", if animated movies were going to "cannibalize" each other. It was the big war of summer 2013! Monsters University and Despicable Me 2 did well, while everything else didn't attract audiences... But that had nothing to do with them being animated.

The public goes and sees movies they want to see, regardless of how they're made. If it looks good from the trailers and TV spots, they go. Plain and simple.

This year, almost all the big-time animated features did very well. Zootopia cruised to the big billion, Finding Dory is on its way there, The Secret Life of Pets might circle it as well. Kung Fu Panda 3 collected a healthy $500 million+ worldwide. The Angry Birds Movie made a modest amount, it cost little to make, so no clucking about audiences not liking it. No no, they save that talk for a movie that made nearly the same exact amount but cost a whole lot more to produce. Our only misses? Norm of the North and Ratchet & Clank, two movies that very few people wanted to see.

Quite the year for the medium, I'd say...


  1. Now that you mention Independence Day 2, I actually saw that movie (my Mom wanted to see it) and we all agreed that it was very "been there, done that".