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Weekend Box Office: Pets Ain't Afraid of No Ghosts, Finding Dory All-Time Animated Champ

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By Chris Kavan - 07/17/16 at 08:47 PM CT

It was going to be interesting to see where the updated Ghostbusters was going to land after months of speculation and some major vitriol from the trolls of the internet. While it may be too early to classify Ghostbusters as a home run, we can at least say that the launch was successful and, over the next few weeks, it will most likely end up turning a profit. Still, it was two animated films that got the most attention - Secret Life of Pets continued to dominate while Finding Dory wrapped up a huge record. All told, the weekend was a bit down from last week (26%) and the same weekend last year (down 17%) but it still provided plenty of spark to talk about.


For the fifth weekend in a row an animated film claimed the top spot at the box office. The Secret Life of Pets held off the Ghostbusters to the tune of $50.5 million giving the animated film a new total of $203.1 million and a drop of 51% over its opening weekend. That's trending ahead of last year's blockbuster Minions movie - both in terms of total grosses and weekend hold. Illumination is becoming the next big name in animation and is looking at yet another $300 million plus domestic total and while it is rolling out slower overseas, it should be able to bring in double that easily once it goes wide in foreign territories. The big test is coming up when Ice Age: Collision Course and Star Trek Beyond both drop next weekend. Should the film continue on its present course, it should finish near the top 10 on the all-time animated chart, but we'll see where it goes from here.


The good news for Paul Fieg's all-female driven Ghostbusters is that is opened in good position. The $46 million opening was right in line with expectations and it scored a solid "B+" Cinemascore (the same as previous Melissa McCarthy comedies Bridesmaids and Spy) which rose to an "A-" among the under-25 crowd. That also makes it the best opening for director Fieg, the best opening for McCarthy, Leslie Jones, Kate McKinnon, Cecily Strong, and even Andy Garcia. It was the second-best openig for Kristin Wiig behind last year's The Martian and even one of the best films for Chris Hemsworth (Marvel notwithstanding). It's the third-best live action film of the summer (behind X-Men and Captain America) and the second-best non-superhero live action film of the year behind The Jungle Book.While there was plenty of good news to go around - it remains to be seen if it's good enough news. The budget for Ghostbusters is a somewhat high $144 million and it will have to have some major legs to get past that milestone. The good news is that if the film performs like previous McCarthy films (excluding the under-performing The Boss) it will get to at least $150 million with a chance at $175 or even $200 million if it can really keep things going. Most likely it is looking at a total of around the $160 million mark. It will really come down to word-of-mouth and the female audience driving this. Stay tuned - the next few weeks are going to make or break this one.


Dropping just a single spot the live-action Legend of Tarzan weathered Ghostbusters pretty well, dropping just over 47% in its third weekend and bringing in $11.1 million. That was enough for the film to cross the $100 million mark with a new total of $103 million. While the film continues to perform well, much like Ghostbusters its inflated $180 million budget means it's not going to hit its mark domestically. It's worldwide total stands at just over that mark at $193.6 million so it will most likely not lose money. Still, one would think the studio would know better and budget more accordingly. This could have been a smash had it eased up a bit as it stands it will simply turn out adequate.


The sequel starring everyone's favorite forgettable Tang scored $11 million in the fourth spot and, in the process, scored a major victory as well. With a total of $445.5 million, Finding Dory becomes the highest-grossing animated (domestic) film of all time (not adjusted for inflation, of course) topping Shrek 2 at $441.2 million. Even adjusted for inflation, Finding Dory is 6th all time and will move up at least a couple more spots on that list. It remains to be seen if it can hit $500 million (it is fading a bit fast and more competition is on the way) but, none-the-less, it's a major achievement for Pixar and Disney and continues to show why the studio remains the champion of animation.


The comedic pairing of Zac Efron and Adam Devine with Anna Kendrick and Aubrey Plaza landed in 5th place with $7.5 million (off 55%) and gave the comedy a new total of $31.3 million. It is fast approaching its reported $33 million budget, but is falling a bit fast and will likely top out at around $45 million or so. It will be looking at some overseas help to make it a real winner, as this is likely to only last about three more weeks around here.

Outside the top five: The other wide-opening release of the weekend, The Infiltrator, managed to snag a great "A-" Cinemascore, but didn't exactly bring in big audiences. The film had to settle for an 8th-place $5.28 million ($6.75 million with its early release) and not even Bryan Cranston could make it any better. Broad Green was trying to make this a good counter-programming choice and it does look good but it will likely not find a big audience and most people will see it at home.

In milestone news Blake Lively's shark horror/drama The Shallows crossed $50 million with a $3 million weekend (11th place) and a new $51.4 million total. The Conjuring 2 became just the third horror film to cross $300 million worldwide (after the original Conjuring and Hannibal) with $101 domestic and just over $200 million foreign.

In limited release, Woody Allen's Cafe Society scored the best per-theater average of the year. The film opened in five theaters with $355,000 for a blistering $71,000 per-theater average (52nd best all-time).

Next week brings us Star Trek Beyond, Ice Age: Collision Course and horror film Lights Out along with the wide expansion of the conservative-baiting Hillary's America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party.


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