This isn’t the Independence Day weekend of Transformers, Twilight, Spider-Man or even Will Smith, but it will be the holiday that belongs to Disney’s Finding Dory. For a second year in a row, a Pixar holdover will rule the July 4th box office with Dory making between $45 million-$50 million over four days. Last year, Pixar’s Inside Out rose to the top spot over the Independence Day stretch, a slot earned during its third weekend, which is the same exact point Dory is entering this weekend. Yesterday, Dory flew past $300M where she currently counts $311M at the domestic B.O. Dory hits this B.O. mark in 12 days, the fastest animated title to do so, beating the previous record held by Shrek 2 and Toy Story 3 which both took 18 days. Worldwide, Dory is at $433M.
In a summer that’s down 15% from a year ago, July 4th falling on a Monday is a relief for distributors. While most audiences are engaged in holiday activities Monday, it only makes Sunday that much stronger. However, of the three wide entries, Universal/Blumhouse’s $10M The Purge: Election Year is the only movie that looks to profit at the domestic B.O. with a four-day take in the mid to high $20Ms. The other two films, Warner Bros./Village Roadshow’s The Legend of Tarzan and Disney/Walden Media/Amblin’s Steven Spielberg title The BFG arrive with huge budgets respectively at $180M and $140M before P&A, and their domestic starts aren’t expected to be huge, thus the studios will truly look to foreign as both titles’ saviors. Tarzan will likely pull in $30M-$35M, while BFG is hoping to follow with a four-day in the low $30M range. Both titles are going after the same audience: families. However, as one analyst puts it “the boys will want to see Tarzan, and the girls will want to watch BFG, but if either wind up at the opposite movie, they’re not going to shrug.”
Reigniting Tarzan was a passion project for late producer Jerry Weintraub. It took him about 13 years to get it off the ground until he finally found the right director in Harry Potter sequel and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them‘s David Yates. The film stars True Blood leading man Alexander Skarsgard in the title role, Margot Robbie as Jane, Samuel L. Jackson as Lord Greystoke’s associate, and Christoph Waltz as the villain who is trying to seize control of the Congo. Tarzan will also step foot in 19 territories this weekend including South Korea and Russia. He’ll be in China on July 19 without any threatening competition. The Yates movie will be in 3,561 theaters inclusive of 3D and Imax on Friday with Thursday previews starting at 6PM. Tarzan hasn’t registered a score yet on Rotten Tomatoes.
Spielberg’s BFG is an adaptation of the Roald Dahl book about a little girl who befriends a giant, the only nice guy in a land of mean giants. Disney launched the movie at the Cannes Film Festival back in May and it currently owns a 72% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Previews begin at 7PM tomorrow. BFG widens to 3,337 venues on Friday with 2800 in 3D plus PLF, some Imax, and Dbox. Spielberg has launched over the July 4th holiday prior owning a $112.7M opening with the Tom Cruise vehicle War of the Worlds in 2005, and an OK $29.4M from his handling of Stanley Kubrick’s A.I. in 2001. BFG was adapted by late E.T. screenwriter Melissa Mathison and the film is very much in the spirit of the children cinematic stories which she was known for including The Indian in the Cupboard and The Black Stallion.
Purge: Election Year will be booked at 2,787 theaters. Previews start at 7PM tomorrow night. James DeMonaco returns to the director’s chair for the third time on this franchise. Election Year opens day-and-date with the U.S. in four territories: Lebanon, Slovenia, Estonia and Turkey, with additional markets rolling out through September. To date the first two Purge movies have made over $200M at the worldwide box office.
A24’s offbeat Daniel Radcliffe-Paul Dano pic Swiss Army Man, after scoring a $35K per theater average last weekend, expands from 3 theaters in New York and Los Angeles to 689. The expectation is that the film will score $2M-$3M over four-days. A24 acquired Swiss Army Men out of this year’s Sundance Film Festival for low seven figures. The film currently counts a 61% fresh Rotten Tomatoes score from 57 reviews, which is better than where Nicolas Winding Refn’s Neon Demon was at the same point in time.
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