Blows an­i­ma­tion record out of the wa­ter

China Daily (Canada) - - LIFE - By AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS in Los An­ge­les

The for­get­ful blue fish of Find­ing Dory is box of­fice gold.

The Pixar se­quel far sur­passed its al­ready ocean­sized ex­pec­ta­tions to take in $136.2 mil­lion in North Amer­i­can the­aters, mak­ing it the high­est-gross­ing an­i­mated de­but of all time, not ad­just­ing for in­fla­tion, ac­cord­ing to comS­core es­ti­mates on Sun­day.

The 2007 film Shrek the Third was the pre­vi­ous record-holder, with a $121.6 mil­lion de­but.

Find­ing Dory, which comes 13 years af­ter Find­ing Nemo, is also the sec­ond­largest June open­ing of all time, with Juras­sic World at No 1. The well-re­viewed film fea­tures the voices of Ellen DeGeneres and Al­bert Brooks.

Go­ing into the week­end, an­a­lysts ex­pected Find­ing Dory to draw big, $100 mil­lion-plus num­bers, but never this big.

“The thought was: ‘Could this be the movie to eclipse Toy Story 3’ s open­ing?’ not, ‘Could it be­come the big­gest an­i­mated open­ing of all time?’’’ says Paul Der­garabe­dian, comS­core’s se­nior me­dia an­a­lyst. “That’s the power of the Pixar brand.”

Un­til now, Toy Story 3 was Pixar’s big­gest open­ing ever, with $110.3 mil­lion.

Dis­ney Ex­ec­u­tive VicePres­i­dent of Dis­tri­bu­tion DaveHol­lis was par­tic­u­larly heart­ened that the film did such ro­bust late-night busi­ness on Fri­day and Satur­day.

“That’s re­ally a tes­ta­ment to this be­ing a pic­ture for ev­ery­one— not just for fam­i­lies,” Hol­lis says.

Find­ing Dory has the an­i­mated seas to it­self un­til The Se­cret Life of Pets opens on July 8.

The Kevin Hart and Dwayne John­son buddy com­edy Cen­tral In­tel­li­gence also had a rel­a­tively mus­cu­lar week­end, with a bet­terthan-ex­pected $34.5 mil­lion, putting it in sec­ond place.

“It’s a real home run,” says Jeff Gold­stein, Warner Bros’ ex­ec­u­tive vice-pres­i­dent of do­mes­tic dis­tri­bu­tion. “These two co­me­di­ans are just stars. They con­nect with their au­di­ence and each other in such a strong way. You just laugh when you watch them.”

Cen­tral In­tel­li­gence cost a re­ported $50 mil­lion to make and scored es­pe­cially well with younger au­di­ences, who the stu­dio hopes will pro­pel word-of-mouth busi­ness in weeks to come. The next ma­jor com­edy re­leases don’t come un­til mid-July, with Mike and Dave Need Wed­ding Dates and Ghost­busters.

In third place, the James Wan hor­ror pic The Con­jur­ing 2 fell 62 per­cent in its sec­ond week­end in the­aters, earn­ing $15.6 mil­lion and bring­ing its do­mes­tic to­tal to $71.7 mil­lion.

Round­ing out the top five were Now You SeeMe 2, with $9.7 mil­lion, and War­craft, with $6.5 mil­lion.

Over­all, the week­end is down nearly 5 per­cent from last year, when In­side Out launched with $90.4 mil­lion and Juras­sic World earned $106.6 mil­lion in its sec­ond week­end in the­aters.

Still, Der­garabe­dian says the com­par­a­tively big au­di­ences this week­end are good for busi­ness in the long run be­cause they’ll be ex­posed to trail­ers for up­com­ing sum­mer films. The suc­cess of Find­ing Dory and Cen­tral In­tel­li­gence also comes af­ter a few week­ends of un­der­whelm­ing se­quels and all­out flops.

“A movie like Dory can rein­vig­o­rate a mar­ket­place that has been in the dol­drums for the last few weeks,” he says.

REUTERS

Cast mem­ber Ty Bur­rell poses with a fan at the pre­miere of Find­ingDory at El Cap­i­tan the­ater in Hol­ly­wood, Cal­i­for­nia, on June 8.

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