US Box Office Report: 08/07/16 – 10/07/16

People JUMP! BOUNCE! to The Secret Life of Pets, Mike and Dave and their Wedding Dates score, Captain Fantastic opening weekend, and Other Box Office News.

Illumination Entertainment appear to have a knack of knowing just what the people want at any given time.  Whether that be decent timewasters because are we really just going to watch Toy Story 3 again for the fourth weekend in a row, bastardisations of beloved Dr. Seuss works, a vastly improved sequel to a decent timewaster, or driving a merchandising juggernaut right through the ground with no end in sight, Chris Meledandri’s pet project is doing what his previous venture, Blue Sky Studios, could not: position itself as a major player in the animated field.  And that is a position that the studio solidified this past weekend as its newest offering, The Secret Life of Pets, creamed the rest of the box office with a staggering $103 million opening weekend, the biggest ever for an original property, cruising past previous record holder Inside Out’s paltry $90 million.  Yep, it seems that Illumination just know what the people wa-hang on a minute…  Illumination…  Illuminati…  Holy shit!  WAKE UP SHEEPLE, WE’RE ALL JUST VICTIMS OF A GIANT MEGA-CONSPIRACY, THE UNIVERSE IS A HOLOGRAM, BUY GOLD!

So, Finding Dory could not pull off the magical four-peat at the box office peak and it also shockingly couldn’t pull off a second place finish (losing instead to a surprisingly well-holding The Legend of Tarzan but more on that in the Full List), but Pixar execs who would absolutely be devastated about a third place finish in the fourth weekend of a film that shattered records and dominated the box office in those first three weekends can take solace in a couple of facts.  The first is that Finding Dory is now the highest grossing film domestically of the year so far and, most likely at this rate, is not going to be toppled from that perch by anything.  The second is that Dory is now also the third highest-grossing animated film domestically of all-time, just a few thousand shy of The Lion King, and will most definitely dethrone Shrek 2 of that record before its run is done.  So congratulations, Pixar!  Turns out you don’t need to put in the effort to come up with original ideas in order to make all the money forever!  So happy that that’s the lesson we will have taught you, here!

Animation was not the sole thing on people’s minds this past weekend, however.  People also wanted to get their raunch on, preferably with a lead cast comprised of some of the most effortlessly charming and gorgeous people working in film today, and 20th Century Fox had just the film to do the job!  Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates blew past expectations – in that it was expected to open in the low-10s and instead opened in the mid-teens, but considering how utterly miserable this Summer has been so far, Hollywood will take victories wherever it can possible get them – to score a 4th place finish with $16 million in the bank.  For those of you keeping score, that’s Zac Efron’s biggest non-Neighbours opening since The Lucky One back in 2012, and even then Mike and Dave comes up $6 mil short of that.  Again, though: miserable Summer, take victories wherever they can be found no matter how caveated to hell and back they are.

In Limited Release land, Sundance and Cannes darling Captain Fantastic was the big winner of the lot, taking $98,451 from 4 screens for a per-screen average of $24,613, perhaps signalling the beginning of a Mortenaissance?  I mean, Viggo Mortensen just kinda fell off the face of the earth after A Dangerous Method, he’s due a comeback, right?  I’m pretty sure he’s pencilled in for one somewhere.  Meanwhile, Sony Classics released Hirokazu Koreeda’s supposedly excellent Our Little Sister into 3 screens and took home a strong $27,070 overall, Hong Kong crime thriller Cold War 2 banked $165,500 from 22 screens, and the Norman Lear documentary Just Another Version of You made $20,000 from 2 screens.  I don’t really have any jokes for any of these films, but I guess that’s consistent with all of my other observations throughout this series so it’s no big deal.


Mike And Dave Need Wedding Dates

Who’s a good Full List?  You’re a good Full List!  Yes, you are!  Yes, you are!

Box Office Results: Friday 8th July 2016 – Sunday 10th July 2016

1] The Secret Life of Pets

$103,170,000 / NEW

I have been trying to review this one for the last month, I honestly and truly have.  Writing has been impossible lately, as is probably obvious to those of you who have made the very foolish mistake of following me on Twitter.  What’s worse is that, very uncharacteristically, I’ve found myself despising every word I write in the last two articles I’ve tried doing (Pets review and Lost Cels), finding everything wrong or the worst choice.  I mean, this comes with the territory of being a super-anxious writer, but this has been to a more extreme degree than usual.  I have thoughts, I can verbalise them and know what I want to say, but I can’t write them and that fact is practically killing me.

That said, this article’s coming along ok, so maybe it’s time to give the Pets review one last crack.  You’ll know if I get it done or not.

2] The Legend of Tarzan

$20,615,000 / $81,412,712

What you need to understand is this: nobody expected this to make any money.  At all.  So when this opened last weekend just shy of $40 million, giving Finding Dory a genuine run for its money, everybody was shocked.  Now that it’s dropped just over 46% between weekends, which is an insanely strong hold, people are going to try and claim that this is a hit.  It’s going to close having made more domestically than Alice 2, TMNT 2, and Independence Day 2, which seemed unfathomable a fortnight ago.  But it’s still not a hit.  Why?  Because Warner Bros., somehow some way, blew $180 million on this thing, and it’s gonna take one hell of an overseas performance to put this in the Black.  You know, because making godawful decisions is Warner Bros.’ official studio policy.

3] Finding Dory

$20,351,000 / $422,580,243

I do want this to be good, but… well, this has been a pretty dire fucking year for Film so far, hasn’t it?  Mostly it hasn’t been as openly awful as it was this time last year, but that awfulness has been replaced with ambitionless competent timewasting slop which I consider to be far worse than plain Bad movies.  Plain Bad movies leave an impression, they don’t sap your soul dry like an endless parade of forgettable Too Big To Fail mediocrity does.  My hopes for the vast majority of the rest of year, therefore, are low at best, and a Pixar Sequel in 2016 is not something that leaves me brimming with anticipation and/or confidence.  No offence.

4] Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates

$16,600,000 / NEW

Pleasedon’tsuckpleasedon’tsuckpleasedon’tsuckpleasedon’tsuckpleasedon’tsuckpleasedon’tsuck

5] The Purge: Election Year

$11,700,000 / $58,110,275

Roll on Friday!  I am so legitimately pumped for this movie, it surprises even me.  I mean, do you remember the original Purge?  It fucking sucked!  But Anarchy was so good, yet still super disposable, and here I am, super hyped for a third Purge movie!  What crazy times we live in.

6] Central Intelligence

$8,125,000 / $108,325,338

You know when you’re watching a bad movie, and there are so many tangible reasons as to why that film is bad – maybe the pacing is garbage, the plot is somehow both too thin and too convoluted, the jokes just aren’t funny, the direction is lifeless, its leads fail to project much in the way of chemistry despite clearly having it outside of the film – but you can’t quite figure out why it’s so bad?  It just is?  Like, it just radiates badness from practically minute 1?  That’s Central Intelligence.

7] Independence Day: Resurgence

$7,700,000 / $91,495,582

Now this was an absolute trainwreck from start to finish.  One of the worst films of the year so far and almost definitely locked into my Bottom 10 come year-end with low chance of escape.  I had intended to review it in all of its awful, awful glory, but then the UK elected to have its own Independence Day (which is just an utterly tasteless classification for the event on all levels) and things started going to hell and yeeeeeeaaaaah…

8] The BFG

$7,604,000 / $38,738,762

Spielberg has gotten to the point where he is basically immune from any and all box office nonsense.  He asks for a $140 million budget in order to adapt a Roald Dahl novel that doesn’t make for an easy translation to a live-action feature film with no bankable stars, the man’s gonna get that $140 million and nobody’s gonna particularly care whether they see a return on that investment or not.  I mean, I don’t think it would have killed Disney to maybe have not thrown a tantrum over Spielberg and actually try to promote the damn thing, but at least it exists and I’m still hopeful that it’ll be great.

9] The Shallows

$4,800,000 / $45,825,279

This is supposedly really good.  I can believe that.  I mean, the best films of the year so far have primarily been mid-budget and thrillers, so another really strong one (by the director of Non-Stop too) would continue the trend of Hollywood blockbusters being worth jack-shit in recent times.  I’ll keep an eye out for it.

10] Sultan

$2,216,475 / NEW

This Bollywood film managed to crack the Top 10 despite playing on just 283 screens.  That’s mighty impressive!  Way to go Bollywood!

I will actually educate myself on Bollywood someday, I promise.


Dropped Out: Free State of Jones, The Conjuring 2, Now You See Me 2

Callum Petch is not o-fucking-k.  Follow him on the Twitters (@CallumPetch)!

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