En route to what will be a record-setting opening weekend at the US box office, “Finding Dory” set a new opening day record for an animated film.
The “Finding Nemo” sequel earned $54.9 million at the Friday box office (with Thursday night screenings included). Previous record-holder “Minions” earned $46.0 million on its opening day in July 2015.
The inclusion of Thursday data in Friday’s number makes the comparison dicey, but “Finding Dory” technically set the single-day record for an animated film as well. “Shrek The Third,” which previously held the record, earned $47.1 million on Saturday, May 19, 2007.
The record-setting opening day puts “Finding Dory” on pace for an opening weekend total of over $140 million. Such a gross would easily represent the record for an animated film; current record-holder “Shrek The Third” grossed $121.6 million in its first weekend.
The current record for a Pixar film is the $110.3 earned by “Toy Story 3.”
— Fellow new release “Central Intelligence” was Friday’s #2 film with $13.0 million in first-day receipts. Its opening weekend gross should land in the $32-37 million range.
The performance will be on par with (if not slightly less than) what Kevin Hart’s similar buddy action comedies have drawn in recent years; “Ride Along” and “Ride Along 2,” with Ice Cube as the co-star, opened with $41.5 million and $35.2 million, respectively, while his “Get Hard” (with Will Ferrell) earned $33.8 million in its first weekend.
Unlike those films, “Central Intelligence” faced particularly mammoth competition in the form of “Finding Dory.” While “Central Intelligence” was specifically positioned as male- and (young) adult-skewing counter to “Dory,” a film as big as the “Finding Nemo” sequel is going to draw from all demographics. “Central Intelligence” stars Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Kevin Hart also have appeal with younger audiences, which increased their film’s vulnerability.
Still, Johnson is a much bigger name than Ice Cube and Will Ferrell. And so if “Central Intelligence,” even given the “Finding Dory” competition, is not blowing films like “Ride Along” and “Get Hard” out of the water, there is reason to question whether audiences, in fact, see the Johnson-Hart pairing as a particularly special one.
— “The Conjuring 2” (#3, $5.4 million), “Now You See Me 2” (#4, $2.8 million) and “Warcraft” (#5, $1.9 million) closed out the Top 5.