Monday Morning Quarterback

By BOP Staff

June 26, 2016

Fish are friends, not coffee.

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Kim Hollis: Finding Dory, the Pixar sequel to the beloved film Finding Nemo, had the highest opening weekend ever for an animated film at $135.1 million. How was Disney able to achieve such a terrific result?

Jason Barney: When something like this happens usually there are a lot of contributing factors. Obviously, the most significant of the reasons for this massive opening is that fact we are looking at a good film/very popular franchise. I'd argue that Finding Nemo is an animated flick that almost every parent or older sibling talks about in a positive way. It achieved nearly classic status as far as kids films go. Now, Finding Dory appears to be nearly as good, which is saying A LOT.

Another factor is that Finding Dory is actually a case of the much anticipated sequel. It is kinda hard to compare it with what happened to Jurassic World last year, but it certainly is similar. The newest installment is pretty much a beloved story. Jurassic World set huge records and now Finding Dory is doing the same. I think another factor was the timing. School is out, and most of the people who wanted to see Angry Birds already did. It has been out for five weeks. The other two kids flicks in theaters are Jungle Book and Zootopia, and both of them have been out for a long time. Families wanted something to do and Finding Dory became an option for a lot of people.

Finally, I believe people were just looking for something better at the box office. The last few weeks have been awful, with Now You See Me 2, Warcraft, X-Men, Teenage Mutant Turtles 2, and Alice Through the Looking Glass all underperforming. With social media affecting movie sales so quickly, people jumped at the chance to see something good.


Ben Gruchow: $135 million seems to be on the low end for multiplier; it points at somewhere between 2.48 and 2.5, which is lower than any recent Pixar sequel, including Cars 2. On the other hand, the number is so ridiculously inflated to begin with that a lower multiplier makes more sense here than it would if we were looking at an opening of $90-$100 million. And if we remove the Thursday night sneak previews, the multiplier jumps pretty significantly, to about 2.8. And unless I'm massively misreading the family-audience buzz for Independence Day 2: Independent Harder, it's got the next two weeks (ish) to itself until The BFG opens, and an over/under of $400 million domestic seems appropriate.

How this happened seems readily evident: Finding Nemo was the studio's biggest hit for seven years, and it's still the best-reviewed Pixar film without the word "Toy" in the title. In direct contrast with Monsters University or Cars 2, Finding Dory got to exploit the connection to an original that provides so many "reference moments" to Pixar in people's minds that the question of whether or not to see the film, I think, is much less "if" than "when"...and with a 94% Tomatometer, the "when" was always going to be "opening weekend". The movie would have needed to faceplant pretty hard in order to not be one of the biggest sure things of the summer. And it didn't faceplant.

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