Talk of animation giant Pixar creating a sequel to to its critical and commercial hit Finding Nemo has ebbed and flowed over the years since its 2003 release, but the desire to see the film made never really went away. This weekend, Finding Dory finally hit theaters, complete with original director Andrew Stanton returning to the helm. Most industry experts naturally predicted that Dory would make a big splash at the box office, and the high-profile aquatic sequel hasn't disappointed.
As most expected, Finding Dory easily crushed its box office competition this weekend, earning a hefty $136.1 million. By comparison, The Rock and Kevin Hart's new action/comedy Central Intelligence took the #2 spot with a decent enough $34.5 million, while last week's winner The Conjuring 2 quickly fell to #3 with $15.5 million. That $136.1 million haul is enough for Dory to claim the record for all-time biggest domestic opening weekend for an animated film. This knocks off previous record holder Shrek the Third, which opened to $121.6 million back in 2007.
On the international front, Finding Dory earned an additional $50 million, bringing its estimated overall weekend total to a robust $186.1 million. Unfortunately, that's not nearly enough to claim the record for all-time biggest worldwide animated opening weekend, which was long-held by 2009's Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs before being usurped by Zootopia earlier this year. Zootopia brought in a massive $233.9 million worldwide in its opening weekend, meaning that it's likely to retain its place on top of that particular list for some time to come. As per usual for the animated world though, Disney - maker of Zootopia and owner of Pixar - wins either way.
In other good news for Disney/Pixar, Finding Dory also earned an A CinemaScore with surveyed audiences, which makes sense given the glowing critical reviews the sequel has received. An A CinemaScore usually suggests that a given film will have legs at the box office going forward, and is likely to sustain a lower than average drop in its next few weeks in theaters. That said, The Conjuring 2 earned an A- CinemaScore just last week, and proceeded to sustain a massive 61.5 percent drop in weekend 2, more than franchise predecessors The Conjuring and Annabelle. That's not to say that Dory will suffer the same fate, but it does reinforce that a high CinemaScore is by no means a guarantee of long-term success, despite them being constantly cited in box-office related articles.
With rave reviews from both critics and fans, Finding Dory is but the latest success story for Pixar, arguably the most consistently good animation studio in the history of Hollywood. Sure, there's been a few blemishes on their record during the last decade, but middling efforts like Cars 2 are easily overshadowed by gems like Inside Out. If past is prologue, Pixar should probably make a space in its trophy case for Finding Dory come Oscar season.
Finding Dory is in theaters now.
Source: Box Office Mojo