Weekend Box Office Report: ‘The Purge: Election Year’ Gets a Strong Start While ‘The BFG’ Stumbles
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.
|1||Finding Dory||$41,900,000 (-42.6)||$9,733||$372,250,000|
|2||The Legend of Tarzan||$38,135,000||$10,709||$38,135,000|
|3||The Purge: Election Year||$30,870,00||$11,041||$30,870,000|
|5||Independence Day: Resurgence||$16,500,000 (-59.8) ||$4,033||$72,657,000|
|6||Central Intelligence||$12,330,000 (-32.4)||$3,895||$91,767,000|
|7||The Shallows||$9,000,000 (-46.4)||$3,038||$35,251,000|
|8||Free State of Jones||$4,134,000 (-45.4)||$1,487||$15,199,000|
|9||The Conjuring 2||$3,850,000 (-50.9)||$1,917||$95,283,000|
|10||Now You See Me 2||$2,950,144 (-47.3)||$1,650||$58,689,000|
Let’s just start at the top. In its third weekend of release, Finding Dory grossed $41 million, bringing its domestic total to $372 million. At this rate, it should pass $400 million by next weekend at the absolute latest and it will soon surpass Toy Story 3 to become the highest grossing Pixar movie yet. After suffering their first legitimate box office disappointment with The Good Dinosaur last year, this must have everyone at the studio breathing a sigh of relief. Anyway, it will soon also become the highest grossing film of 2016 so far and if it continues to showcase such strong legs (fins?), that’s a title it may very well hold onto for the rest of the year.
The second place opening for The Legend of Tarzan is a tricky one. That $38 million opening actually exceeded many expectations for the film, which was seemingly flying under the radar in a big way and not generating much in the way of excitement. However, that opening is just big enough to indicate that audiences were interested in this character, who offers a nice change of pace from the rest of the typical summer fare. Still, $38 million is a little low for a movie with a reported budget of $180 million, so unless it shows some endurance in the weeks ahead, this minor victory will be short-lived.
Compare that to the $30 million opening of The Purge: Election Year, a movie that cost only $10 million to produce and utilized a pitch-perfect (and politically timely) marketing campaign to pack theaters. All three of these movies have opened within $5 million of each other and the first two went on to gross $64 million and $71 million. This one should do comparable numbers, which means we will surely get a Purge 4 in about two years.
Unfortunately, this week also saw a rare stumble for director Steven Spielberg, whose The BFG opened with a paltry $19 million. That’s a poor start for a movie with this kind of pedigree and an even poorer start for a movie that cost this much to produce. Blame the odd title. Blame the lack of strong marketing. Blame the fact that Finding Dory was drawing in all of the family crowds this weekend. There’s going to be a lot of blame flying around over this one.
The rest of the top 10 showcases your usual blend of winners and losers and everything in-between. In the losers column, you have Independence Day: Resurgence, which is going to struggle to break $100 million at this point, and The Free State of Jones, which continued to slowly suffocate under the weight of the competition. In the winners column, there’s Central Intelligence, which should cross $100 million before the week is over, The Shallows, which was cheap enough for it to start qualifying as a sleeper hit at this point, and The Conjuring 2, which is looking to exit theaters soon with a gross just north of $100 million.