Finding Dory dominated the Independence Day box office, overcoming a trio of new releases to provide the weekend’s biggest fireworks.
The Pixar release swam to the top of the charts for the third consecutive weekend, picking up $41.9 million to bring its domestic total to $372.2 million. The follow-up to Finding Nemo should end the four-day holiday with another $50.5 million in receipts. It is on pace to surpass Toy Story 3 and its $415 million haul as the highest-grossing Pixar film in history.
The July 4 weekend is traditionally one of the movie business’ biggest, but this national holiday suffered from a weak crop of new releases, as costly adventures such as The Legend of Tarzan and The BFG failed to excite audiences. The influx of new releases did lift industry-wide grosses, and the weekend should be among the five biggest.
The follow-up to Finding Nemo should end the four-day holiday with another $50.5 million in receipts
With a smaller budget, The Legend of Tarzan might rank as a hit. But Warner Bros and Village Roadshow spent lavishly to update Edgar Rice Burroughs’ jungle king stories, shelling out a reported $180 million to produce the picture and millions more to market it.
Despite the high costs, the film did better than projected, earning $38.1 million for the three-day weekend to take second place. It should make $44 million for the holiday, roughly $10 million more than analysts expected it would generate, but that may not be enough to cover the massive budget. To make a profit, the film will have to resonate with foreign crowds.
“You have to look at the whole worldwide results,” said Jeff Goldstein, Warner Bros distribution executive vice president, noting that the film has yet to open in major territories such as China.
The weekend’s biggest disaster was Disney’s The BFG, Steven Spielberg’s $140 million adaptation of Roald Dahl’s classic children’s book. The story of a friendly giant (Mark Rylance) who befriends an orphan (Ruby Barnhill), got solid reviews, but was overshadowed by Finding Dory.
It collapsed at the box office, eking out $19.6 million over the weekend and should earn a paltry $23.6 million over the four-day holiday for a fourth place finish. It will rank as one of the biggest flops of the summer and of Spielberg’s career, raising questions about his drawing power.
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