BFG Purged at July 4th Box Office
By John Hamann
July 3, 2016
Finding Dory has now earned a stunning $372.3 million at the domestic box office, already in the top 30 domestic earners off all time, as it passes iconic films like Deadpool, Passion of the Christ and Despicable Me 2. It has almost passed the combined earnings of the original Finding Nemo and its 3-D re-release, which earned a combined $380 million. Finding Dory crossed the $350 million mark on Saturday, its 16th day of release, which puts it with the five fastest to reach that milestone. I think it’s safe to say at this point that $500 million domestic is a no-brainer here, but the question will be about the effect that Secret Life of Pets has on Finding Dory next weekend. Despicable Me had little effect on Toy Story 3’s fourth frame, where it fell only 31%. Overseas, it’s a slow roll out for the Pixar film, but it has earned $166 million so far. Given that Toy Story 3 earned $650 million overseas, a $1 billion worldwide result is definitely swimming Finding Dory’s way.
The Legend of Tarzan opens in second this weekend, and really, everything would be fine for this wannabe blockbuster had it cost about $100 million less than it did. I’m frankly surprised it did any business, and I am genuinely confused by anyone who thought it was a good idea to spend $180 million on a film that takes place prior to electricity. Also, why would they release this now, three months after The Jungle Book, and less than a month away from Margot Robbie appearing in a career-maker flick like Suicide Squad? I digress, but really, Tarzan making any kind of money should be considered success.
Given that, I was downright shocked on Saturday morning to see that The Legend of Tarzan managed to earn $14 million from its Thursday preview and Friday, a number I predicted it would earn for the weekend. The Abs of Alexander Skarsgård marketing strategy seemed to be working, and Warner Bros. was able to turn a decent opening day into a three-day weekend gross of $38.1 million. As far as movies opening on Independence Day weekend, Tarzan is 17th best, wedged between July 4 classics like Armageddon ($36 million) and The Last Airbender ($40.3 Million).
On top of all its other problems, The Legend of Tarzan at the end of the day just isn’t a very good film. The score at Rotten Tomatoes sits at an ugly 34% fresh, and surprisingly, many critics panned the film’s effects, despite it appearing that the entire $180 million went into the effects budget. Warner Bros. will at least get a little relief from its Cinemascore, which came in at an A-. At the end of the day, it’s the budget that kills this ape man – a $110 million domestic gross will mean it will need to earn over $400 million overseas, and that is just not going to happen. It has just under $20 million so far from those international venues.