This has been one of the strangest summers in recent memory when it comes to box office analysis, not because so many high profile movies have disappointed (although that has certainly been interesting), but because so many new releases are hanging out in the grey zone between hit and misfire. In an era where the success of so many movies is determined purely by opening weekend numbers, we’ve spent the past few months watching as movies has defied expectations after a weak opening or rode a solid opening into oblivion. The cut-and-dried successes can be counted on one hand.
It took a movie about adorable talking dogs and cats to dethrone the movie about the adorable talking fish. The Secret Life of Pets dominated the box office this weekend, making it the third 2016 family movie about chatty animals to make a huge splash. If this concept wasn’t as old as the animation medium itself, we could call this a trend.
Although the holiday weekend brought out a slew of new releases to compete for the top spot at the box office, this week’s top 10 was, once again, dominated by Finding Dory. The Legend of Tarzan, The Purge: Election Year and The BFG ultimately couldn’t quite match up to Pixar’s forgetful fish, but the final results were all over the place. This chart is very much a roller coaster of expectations being met and missed.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Finding Dory opened at number one at the box office this week and did enormous business, but the folks at Disney and Pixar must be breathing a sigh of relief. After all, last year’s The Good Dinosaur was the first film to come out of the venerable animation studio that could be considered a legitimate box office disappointment, especially since it came in the wake of the massively successful Inside Out. The massive opening weekend for the sequel to Finding Nemo repositions Pixar in its rightful place on the top of the animated movie food chain.
A little movie called Captain America: Civl War came out this weekend and made the exact kind of money you’d expect it to make. The thirteenth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe didn’t have the biggest opening in the series’ history, but it was close enough. It’s easily the biggest opening for a Captain America solo movie (albeit ballooned by a co-starring role for Iron Man) and it managed to open bigger than its chief rival this year, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. That’s certainly a win.
After last week’s stellar opening, it was clear that The Jungle Book was going to hold on to the number one spot at the box office this weekend. However, it wasn’t clear that it would spell complete and total doom for the weekend’s other new release, The Huntsman: Winter’s War, which debuted with very disappointing numbers in second place.
In most of these Weekend Box Office Reports, it’s clear who the victor will be. Even when the early estimates are a little off and the numbers shift between now and Monday, the basic layout of the top 10 is generally pretty accurate. But this week is a real race and the top two films are neck and neck, and we won’t know who will actually win this thing until tomorrow. But right now, early estimates have Melissa McCarthy’s new comedy The Boss barely edging out Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice by less than $50,000. That’s crazy and, whether it actually claims the top spot tomorrow or not, very bad for Batman v Superman.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was never not going to have an enormous opening weekend. Toxic reviews and mixed word of mouth mean nothing next to hype — that title alone guaranteed a record-breaking start. And right now, Zack Snyder’s superhero epic does look like a gigantic hit. However, this weekend is really all about the trailers and posters and Warner Bros.’ omnipresent marketing. The real challenge will be next weekend, when the film’s legs will be properly tested.
Pardon the pun, but Zootopia is a beast. Disney Animation’s new film held on to the number one spot at the box office for the third weekend in a row and made it look easy. Not even Allegiant, the third film in the Divergent series, could topple it. Could the film end up pulling Frozen numbers? Maybe. Possibly. We’ll have to see how strong it stands in the face of a couple of superheroes.
That sound you hear is the folks over at Disney popping a couple dozen bottles of champagne — Zootopia didn’t just open at number one at the box office, it had the biggest opening of any film in the history of Walt Disney Animation Studios, beating out 2014’s Frozen. Unfortunately, the rest of the newcomers didn’t fare quite as well, with London Has Fallen and Whiskey Tango Foxtrot limping into second and fourth place, respectively.
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