Friday Box Office Analysis
By Kim Hollis
July 9, 2016

Even the pets are surprised by their box office power.

In a summer of sad box office, the animated films are coming along to save the day.

With Finding Dory now past the $400 million mark, a new release from the makers of Despicable Me and Minions would try to find the success that has eluded so many films of the summer box office campaign. The Secret Life of Pets is an original property, a relief during a season that has relentlessly given us little more than sequels and rehashes. Audiences responded enthusiastically.

We could tell that The Secret Life of Pets was heading toward a successful frame when its Thursday preview numbers came in. With $5.3 million, it wasn't too far behind the $6.2 million that Minions earned last summer and well ahead of Inside Out's $3.7 million in preview dollars. Thanks to a killer marketing campaign (the metal poodle is amazing) that appealed both the children and adults, The Secret Life of Pets is on track to become the most successful original concept animated film debut ever.

The Friday box office, including those Thursday previews, came in at $38.3 million. Again, that's more than Inside Out tallied on its first day, proving that people have faith in the people behind the Minions much as they do the Pixar braintrust. If The Secret Life of Pets tracks similarly over the rest of the weekend to what Inside Out and Minions did last year, we're looking at a debut weekend of $99 million, and the studio may go all the way up to $100 million.

Our other new release for the weekend, Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates, was never going to open on a high level, but with a budget of around just $33 million, it didn't need to. The Zac Efron/Adam Devine starrer tallied $6.7 million on Friday, which should be good enough to send it up to $15.6 million for the weekend.

Holdovers from last weekend's crop of new releases fell more than 55 percent, so it's a good thing that Secret Life of Pets came along to offer some relief. The Legend of Tarzan declined 57%, The Purge: Election Year dropped 73%, and The BFG fell 66%.None of them will have an impact for very long.