In May 2007, DreamWorks Animation’s Shrek The Third opened with a massive $121.6 million in North America to set the record for the biggest opening by an animated movie. In 2010, Toy Story 3 came close to breaking the record, but not close enough, with a $110.3 million opening. In 2015, Minions came even closer with a $115.7 million domestic opening. But the record of Shrek The Third stood. Until this weekend. Pixar’s Finding Dory has stunned the analysts with the biggest domestic opening for an animated movie ever, and that too by a reasonable margin – at $136.2 million! It is only the fifth ever animated movie to have a $100+ million opening in North America. The movie has been praised by the critics (95% score on Rottentomatoes) and equally loved by the audience (A score on Cinemascore). International release for the movie has been limited so far; an additional $51 million was collected in the overseas market which brings the worldwide tally to $187 million. The production budget for a Pixar film is usually quite huge, and the same holds true for Finding Dory which has a $200 million production budget. Despite that, the movie is going to bring massive profits to Pixar as the worldwide revenues are expected to cross $900 million worldwide. It could very well earn more than Finding Nemo ($937 million) which even now is Pixar’s second biggest grosser worldwide. But can Finding Dory do the unthinkable and gross more than $1,063 million collection of Toy Story 3? It certainly can, and that is what we are going to keep a watch on in the coming weeks.
The other wide release was the Kevin Hart – Dwayne Johnson comedy movie, Central Intelligence, which was made on a production budget of $50 million. The movie had a solid opening with $34.5 million earned in North America and additional $7 million overseas. The reviews of the film aren’t too bad, with a 66% Rottentomatoes score. And the audience seem to have enjoyed this show as the A- Cinemascore would suggest. Central Intelligence would be making somewhere around the $100 million mark in North America and if it can rake in a similar amount for overseas, it should be seen as a solid hit for Warner Bros. The overseas earnings could in fact be even better, for Dwayne Johnson does carry a global appeal. As the leading actor, his movies have done quite well globally – 2015’s San Andreas earned $319 million and 2014’s Hercules made $172 million in overseas markets. Let’s see how brightly can Central Intelligence shine abroad!
With the two wide releases doing well, last week’s movies struggled. The Conjuring 2 fell by close to 62% in its second weekend in North America. The movie is however still doing good domestically and overseas, and its global earnings have swelled up to $188 million making it a big hit already for Warner Bros. I expected this movie to cross $300 million globally, and that estimate remains unchanged. Now You See Me 2 fell by 57% in its second weekend and is trailing its predecessor. The movie has earned $91 million worldwide so far which gives hardly any comfort. Unless the overseas earnings pick up, this could very well be the end of the series. Warcraft on the other hand is a strange story. The movie should have bombed by all logical explanation when it had a dismal opening last week, and fell further by 73% in its second weekend. For a movie with a $160 million production budget, its domestic collection of $38 million over 10 days is abysmal. But Warcraft has achieved glorious heights in foreign markets, especially China where it has crossed $200 million! The worldwide box-office earnings of Warcraft is almost $378 million, of which only 10% has been gathered from North America. Amazing! The movie still cannot be termed as a hit yet, since the break-even collection should be somewhere around $450-$500 million. But the movie which should have been talked of in the same breath as John Carter and Tomorrowland, has probably given a glimpse of how future box-office stories would be written!
Here are the top 5 weekend earners at the US box-office (estimates):
1. Finding Dory ($136.2 million)
2. Central Intelligence ($34.5 million)
3. The Conjuring 2 ($15.6 million; second weekend)
4. Now You See Me 2 ($9.7 million; second weekend)
5. Warcraft ($6.5 million; second weekend)