It was quite a weekend for animated movies.
Universal’s “The Secret Life of Pets” knocked off Pixar’s latest hit, “Finding Dory,” with an estimated $103 million opening weekend, according to Exhibitor Relations.
That’s the biggest opening ever for an animated title that wasn’t a sequel or spin-off, besting “Inside Out” ($90.4 million).
But “Finding Dory” also hit a milestone this weekend.
Coming in third place over the weekend after taking in $21 million, the film now has a total domestic gross of over $420 million. That doesn’t just make it the highest-grossing movie of the summer (jumping passed fellow Disney title “Captain America: Civil War”), but it’s also now the highest grossing Disney (and Pixar) animated film of all time at the domestic box office, topping the combined original and rerelease gross of “The Lion King” ($422.7 million).
This does not count inflation, so a big part of “Finding Dory” taking the crown is because of today’s expensive ticket prices and the film also showed in 3D (which is pricier than a regular ticket).
Illumination Entertainment, the company behind “Secret Life of Pets,” is becoming a major player in the animation genre, as it’s also the creator of the profitable “Despicable Me” franchise and its spin-off, “Minions,” which was one of Universal’s biggest earners last year, making over $1 billion worldwide.
In second was “The Legend of Tarzan,” which took in $20.61 million, giving it a domestic total of around $81 million. Not the kind of earner Warner Bros. was hoping for, but in a summer full of weak performers it could always have been worse.
And in fourth place was new release “Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates” with $16.6 million. That’s slightly ahead of projections for the Zac Efron comedy, showing that even the counter programming to the big animated titles worked this weekend.
If Hollywood can have a few more solid weekends like this one, the summer movie season will turn out to be a respectable one for the industry.
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