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Weekend Wrap-Up: Dory Wins with $51.44 million, but Tarzan has Near Legendary Opening

July 6th, 2016

Finding Dory

The Fourth of July weekend went very well as two of the three new releases beat expectations. However, none of them were able to top Finding Dory, which earned its third win in a row. The Legend of Tarzan was very close in second place, which surprised a lot of analysts, but there might be a logical reason for its success. The Purge: Election Year more than tripled its production budget during its opening three-day weekend, so there’s no chance the studio isn’t giddy over that. The only real disappointment was The BFG, which got lost in the crowd. The overall box office was up from last week, which is a pleasant surprise. Granted, it grew by just under 1.0% to $192 million over the three-day weekend. More importantly, it was 41% higher than the same three-day weekend last year. Add in Monday, and the year-to-date lead rose to $120 million or 2.2% at $5.71 billion to $5.58 billion.

Finding Dory earned first place matching predictions nearly perfectly with $41.82 million / $51.44 million for a total of $381.79 million after three weeks of release. The film will top $400 million in just a matter of days, $500 million is unlikely, but not impossible. Unfortunately for this film, The Secret Life of Pets opens on Friday and the direct competition will hurt. Then again, even if the film didn’t make another penny in theaters, it would still break even early in its home market run.

The Legend of Tarzan surprised analysts by earning second place with $38.53 million / $46.58 million. This is a great start, considering the film’s reviews and the lack of buzz, so why did this happen? I’ve heard an interesting hypothesis that it has to do with Tarzan, the 1999 animated Disney film. The hypothesis suggests that some families thought The Legend of Tarzan was a live-action adaptation of the 1999 film, in the same vein as The Jungle Book. This does explain the lack of buzz and lower than expected average age. This could mean longer than average legs, as family films tend to last. Or it could mean really short legs, as the disappointment and the direct competition hurts the film. We will know more by this weekend. On the downside, even if the film does have good legs, it still cost $180 million to make, so it will need help internationally to break even.

The Purge: Election Year earned $31.52 million / $36.14 million during its opening weekend. This is fantastic for a film that cost $10 million to make. The reviews are not great and the genre tends to have short legs, but even if it fails to earn $36.14 million during the rest of its run, it will be a financial success. I assume there is yet another installment in this franchise in the works.

The BFG was the only misstep this week, earning $18.78 million / $22.72 million during its opening weekend. The film did earn the best reviews out of the three wide releases, but it is aimed at a young audience (preteens) and these films tend to struggle in theaters. It could become a family favorite on the home market, so it might break even, eventually.

Independence Day: Resurgence earned fifth place with $16.72 million / $21.68 million for a total of $77.84 million after three weeks of release. It will start losing theaters, but should still get to $100 million before too long.

Looking in at the sophomore class, we find The Shallows in seventh place with $8.78 million / $10.53 million over the weekend for a total of $36.78 million after two weeks of release. The film has made enough to cover its entire production budget domestically. If it can find an audience internationally, it will break even before it reaches the home market. On the other hand, Free State of Jones is struggling. It only managed $4.14 million / $5.30 million over the weekend for a total of $16.37 million. It per theater average is below $2,000, so it will start losing theaters at an accelerated rate.

- Weekend Box Office

- The BFG Comparisons
- The Purge: Election Year Comparisons
- The Legend of Tarzan Comparisons

Filed under: Weekend Wrap-up, Free State of Jones, Finding Dory, The Secret Life of Pets, Independence Day: Resurgence, The Jungle Book, The Legend of Tarzan, The BFG, The Purge: Election Year, The Shallows, The Purge