Weekend Wrap-Up

Finding Dory Sparks Summer Box Office

By John Hamann

June 19, 2016

Don't drink the Dory! Who are you, Kevin Kline?

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An opening this big can have a ripple effect on the box office going forward, and from what we've seen so far, the summer certainly needs it. Pixar averages about a 3.4 opening-to-total multiplier, so you can see how historic Finding Dory could be. The top ten is currently bereft of animated movies, as Shrek 2 sits at 11th, tapping out with $441.2 million. A 3.4 multiplier against Finding Dory's opening of $136.2 million puts it at a $463.1 million finish, and Toy Story 3's 3.77 multiplier would put it at $513.5 on the domestic side alone.

Finding Dory ends up claiming the 19th biggest opening weekend ever, higher on that list than anyone expected. Part of the reason for the big debut is the lack of action at the box office over the last couple of weekends, as it would seem North America was hungering for a blockbuster, and Finding Dory fit the bill. It's no wonder, as the sequel is built much like the original in terms of reviews and Cinemascores. Reviews were love letters, as the Rotten Tomatoes score came in at 95%, with only eight negative reviews by noon Saturday. Interestingly, five of those eight negative reviews came from larger media outlets, like The Hollywood Reporter, The Los Angeles Times and MTV. The original is one of the best reviewed films ever, with only two negative reviews out of 254 notices. The Cinemascore was strong at an A, which should mean another $400 million domestic grosser for Disney, a number Captain America: Civil War burned through this weekend.


Overseas, Finding Dory is getting a bit of a different rollout due to the Euro Soccer Championship. Dory opened in China, as well as a number of other less soccer focused countries this weekend, and managed to earn $50 million overseas, including $17.5 million from China (the original didn't play there). Nemo was huge internationally when it first came out in 2003, earning $555 million. Where this finishes worldwide is anyone's guess at this point, but I think it's fairly obvious that this will certainly join Disney's billion club, where the class of 2016 already includes Zootopia and Captain America: Civil War, with The Jungle Book having the potential to join as well before its worldwide gross wraps up. That's four films and what is likely $4 billion. Somebody is doing something right.

What a lovely six months Bob Iger is having at the box office. First, his Star Wars deal ($4 billion) paid off to huge rewards ($2.1 billion from box office alone), and the studio has another likely billion dollar winner looming with Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Then, his Marvel deal (also $4 billion) paid off - again - with Captain America: Civil War earning more than $400 million domestically and over $1.1 billion worldwide. This weekend, Finding Dory, sequel to a beloved Pixar original that came out 13 years ago, shows off Bob Iger's Pixar deal - one that cost Disney $7.45 billion - as it breaks some long-standing records for animation. Iger's big risks are paying off handsomely for Disney and will for years to come.

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