In what has been a lackluster summer to date, off 22% from last year, along comes Disney Pixar’s Finding Dory to wake moviegoers up. It’s a legacy Pixar sequel — much like Disney Pixar’s Toy Story 3 (label’s record opener at $110.3M) — meaning it’s the follow-up to a beloved uber-grossing classic, 2003’s Finding Nemo ($380M). As such, Finding Dory is poised to open between $100M-$115M. That three-day opening would make Finding Dory the second best debut this summer after Disney Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War ($179.1M). That Russo Brothers-directed movie is set to cross $400M on Friday, becoming the first title to do so this year. While Civil War will be the highest grossing live-action film this summer, there’s some camps who believe that Finding Dory could take the crown as the highest grossing title overall for the May-Labor Day 2016 period.
Finding Dory is the widest Pixar release ever at 4,305 theaters. 3,200 of those venues will be in 3D, along with 425 premium large format locales, approximately 100 Imax hubs, and a handful of Dolby Cinema sites. Previews start Thursday at 7PM in about 3,000 theaters. Last year, Pixar’s Inside Out scored a $3.7M Thursday preview — the best ever for Disney on that night, behind Toy Story 3‘s Friday midnight shows of $4M. Inside Out opened in second place last year behind the second frame of Jurassic World raking in $90.4M. Even though Finding Dory is tracking slightly better with girls than boys, it’s the highest figures ever seen for a Pixar movie in all demos.
During its CinemaCon presentation, Disney won exhibitors and the press over, not just with their screening of Civil War, but their 30-minute preview of Finding Dory. Like previous Pixar fare, there’s enough laughs in Finding Dory for both kids and parents, but there’s always a serious, intelligent theme that the label’s movies are built around. Finding Dory deals with the issue of short-term memory loss as Dory seeks to find the parents she left behind.
Finding Nemo was released in the final week of May 2003, opening to $70.3M and posting a 4.8 multiple in its initial domestic theatrical run of $339.7M. With re-releases, the Andrew Stanton-Lee Unkrich animated film has totaled $380.8M stateside, $936.7M worldwide.
Looking to hook all those guys with no interest in seeing Finding Dory without their kids, is Warner Bros./New Line/Universal’s PG-13 action comedy Central Intelligence starring Kevin Hart as a mild-mannered accountant who falls into the high-stakes espionage world no thanks to his ole high school bud, played by Dwayne Johnson, who is a spy. The $50M vehicle is poised to make at least $30M this weekend at 3,460 theaters. Previews happen Thursday at 7PM in about 2,700 sites. Uni has Central Intelligence in 24 markets, including Germany, Netherlands, Austria, Panama and Thailand. Additional territories will roll out through August.
In regards to the rest of the holdovers, Warner Bros./New Line’s Conjuring 2 is expected to dip 50% for a $20M second sesh. Lionsgate’s Now You See Me 2 is estimated to hold -45% for north of $12M, while Legendary/Uni’s Warcraft is looking at a 60% slide with $9.6M.