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Weekend Box Office: Finding Dory Threepeats as Legend of Tarzan, Purge 3 Open High While BFG Bombs

View Chris Kavan's Profile

By Chris Kavan - 07/03/16 at 08:33 PM CT

It is going to be a July 4th holiday weekend to remember, as the fireworks aren't going to be limited to your local show. Hollywood looks to be in good shape this year, as the holiday weekend is shaping up to 41% ahead of last year's numbers. Finding Dory continues to be the big draw, as families are still flocking to see the animated Juggernaut. But besides that both Tarzan and The Purge found some better-than-expected news. Things didn't go off without a hitch, however, as Steven Spielberg's BFG was a disappointment while Independence Day couldn't take advantage of its namesake and took a big drop. Still, with summer in full swing hopefully Hollywood can keep this ball rolling.

1) FINDING DORY

After three weeks, Pixar's Finding Dory continues to make some big waves. The animated sequel had another great weekend - taking in $41.9 million for the three-day standard period with an estimated $51 million expected with the holiday factored in. That $41.9 million is the best third weekend for any animated film on record and represents a drop of just 42%. If the numbers pan out, Finding Dory will top $380 million on Monday (topping the original Finding Nemo as the fifth best animated film on record) and will top $400 million by next week with Shrek 2's $441 million domestic record well within reach in the week after. All told, Finding Dory boasts a $538.2 million global total. Even with The Secret Life of Pets hitting theaters this next week, Finding Dory should be able to speed to a $500 million total here before it leaves theaters.

2) THE LEGEND OF TARZAN

The Legend of Tarzan gave Finding Dory a decent run for its box office crown as the action-oriented take on the classic tale opened to a $38.1 million weekend with an estimated $43 million for the holiday. That is tracking much higher than most predictions (which only had it in the $20 - $25 million range) but also comes with a big asterik. The Legend of Tarzan also boasts a pretty massive $180 million price tag and even with a bigger opening the film is likely only looking at a $100-$110 million final gross here in the states. The film did score a good "A-" Cinemascore from audiences, which tracked 51% female and 55% over 35. It even scored an "A+" with the under 18 crowd. Still, the film is going to have to bet on a big foreign gross if it hopes to break even. It has only made $18 million thus far, but it has plenty of markets to open in. Still, one would think $180 million is big risk to take on this franchise, especially with a relatively untested (Alexander Skarsgård isn't quite a household name) star in the lead role. A budget of around $100-$125 would have made things much easier on the studio, but I guess they had grander things in mind. Oh well, we'll see where this stands at the end of July to know whether this gamble is going to pay off. At least we know it's already looking better than the likes of Pan, The Lone Ranger and Batteship - but it will have to pull in some impressive numbers to fully work itself out of the hole.

3) THE PURGE: ELECTION YEAR

Also finding itself with some better-than-expected opening numbers was the third entry into The Purge franchise. Election Year scored a very welcome $30.8 million weekend - up just a tick from the $29.8 of The Purge: Anarchy two years ago. With nearly $35 million expected with the holiday factored in, that should put it on par with The Purge's $34 million opening. The $10 million budgeted sequel may have taken flack from critics from being derivative and delivering more violence than plot - but audiences didn't seem to care, as they gave Election Year the best Cinemascore out of all The Purge films thus far. The film will earn nearly four times its budget by early next week and is looking at a total near the $75 million range. This series hasn't done much overseas, so I don't expect foreign grosses to be much of a factor. Still, this horror series, much like The Conjuring, continues to show improvement sequel to sequel and I'm sure this means people are already hard at work on a Purge 4, sure to be in theaters within a couple of years.

4) THE BFG

With Legend of Tarzan and Purge 3 doing better than expected over the holiday, Steven Spielberg wasn't so lucky as his fantasy The BFG could only muster $19.6 million for the weekend for an estimated sub-$25 million for the holiday time frame. Any way you look at it, it has to be considered a pretty awful for the $140 million budgeted film. The film did score an "A-" Cinemsacore from audiences. That came with a 54% females and was spread pretty evenly across all age groups. Even the worst Spielberg movies have actually made money - even the infamous 1941 wound up with $92 million on a $35 million budget. Munich, considered Spielberg's last disappointment, earned $130 million on a $70 million budget. Unless The BFG can find some major love overseas, this may be the first Spielberg film to make less than its budget. Granted, the case may very well follow The Adventures of Tintin - the $135 million animated film had a disappointing $77.5 million domestic total, but hit $296 million in the foreign markets to make it a profitable venture. As for domestic, The BFG will be lucky to hit $60 million stateside as it faces a lot of competition in a crowded family market. We'll have to wait and see how this does outside the U.S. to know if it will be Spielberg's first outright miss or if international numbers can save this like TinTin.

5) INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE

Despite its namesake holiday, there was no surge for Independence Day: Resurgence. The would-be summer blockbuster took a mighty 60% tumble in its second weekend for a mere $16.5 million with around $20 million expected for the holiday. That would put the film at just over $75 million for the $165 million budgeted film. It is looking at a total at this point of just around $110 million at best so, once again, it will be up to the international community to dig this one out of the hole and justify any future sequels going forward.

Outside the top five: Swiss Army Man, the complicated film where Paul Dano uses Daniel Radcliffe's dead, farting corpse as a means to survive a deserted island, expanded to 636 theaters (up from a mere 3 last week) and surged from 27th to 11th place with $1.4 million (that amounts to a 1,272.7% increase) and has $1.6 million total. I don't see this quite appealing to mainstream audiences, but we'll see where it does from here.

Next weekend brings us the animated Secret Life of Pets (which should be able to dethrone Finding Dory) along with the R-rated comedy Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates (which looks like it earns that R). Provided I don't get blown up, I'll be back next week with the full write-up.

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