With the current summer box office slump, a lot of people were hoping Disney/Pixar’s “Finding Dory” – its long awaited sequel to “Finding Nemo” – would be one of the biggest hits of the summer, if not the year. And it did not disappoint. “Dory” opened with an astonishing $134 million, making it the biggest opening ever for an animated film. That tops the previous record holder for an animated film which was held by “Shrek the Third,” released in 2007, and opened with $121.6 million; followed by “Minions” with $115.7 million; and Disney/Pixar’s “Toy Story 3” with $110 million.
And yet, despite what Dory does, it still won’t make up the gap; the 22% gap. And by that I mean, box office totals for the year to date are a staggering 22% lower than they were at this same time last year.
And what is even more remarkable is that, at this time last year, there were only three films that had grossed $300 million or more, compared to this year, which already has had five. Although it’s now six if you add “Finding Dory,” which is sure to gross over $300 million domestically and a billion worldwide.
What’s happening? Simple. Despite some films making huge amounts of money, there have been lots of other big budget and mid-level films that have been b.o. disappointments, or straight up bombs, such as “Alice Through the Looking Glass,” “The Huntsman: Winter War,” and “Money Monster,” to name a few, all released during the first six months of the year.
It’s true that there have been some money making films like “Kung Fu Panda 3,” “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2,” “London Has Fallen,” and “10 Cloverfield Lane” (a relatively low budget B movie sci-fi thriller that has grossed 9 times its budget, making it one of most profitable films of the year); but they have all been the exception to the rule.
Also where are the millennials? Articles have been written reporting on movie attendance by 20’s somethings, saying that the number has dropped sharply of late. Of course other methods of watching films such as downloading (legal and illegal), and other forms of entertainment, such as video games, have given millennials other ways to amuse themselves. But there’s also the fact that it’s getting increasingly more expensive to see films in a theater, and there aren’t many films that look interesting enough to want to pay to see in the theater, which means, don’t expect millennials to be coming back to movie theaters anytime soon.
Opening in second place this weekend in the Dwayne Johnson/Kevin Hart (doing his Mantan Moreland scared of everything impression) comedy “Central Intelligence,” with $34.5 million, which was expected. But with mixed reviews and mixed word-of-mouth, the just is still out on whether the film has legs to continue doing well, or if it will fizzle out in the next few weeks.
In the meantime, “Warcraft” dropped a whopping 73%, earning $6.5 million, for a total so far of $37.7 million. But once again, as I wrote about it last week, China has helped rescue the movie, with box office totals in that country reaching $156.8 million to date, out of $280 million worldwide so far.
The weekend’s top 10 earners follow below:
1) Finding Dory BV $136,183,170
2) Central Intelligence WB $34,500,000
3) The Conjuring 2 WB $15,555,000 Total: $71,730,086
4) Now You See Me 2 LG/S $9,650,000 Total: $41,362,529
5) Warcraft Uni. $6,520,000 Total: $37,711,525
6) X-Men: Apocalypse Fox $5,210,000 Total: $146,057,836
7) Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows Par. $5,200,000 Total: $71,929,574
8) Me Before You WB $4,155,000 Total: $46,355,854
9) Alice Through the Looking Glass BV $3,615,385 Total: $69,318,309
10) Captain America: Civil War BV $2,296,207 Total: $401,277,176
11) The Angry Birds Movie Sony $1,700,000 Total: $103,190,847
12) The Jungle Book (2016) BV $1,294,860 Total: $355,715,511