Walt Disney Pictures took in more than $1 billion at the U.S. box office alone in the first five months of 2016, easily breaking the record previously set by a major Hollywood studio. Moreover, the three movies that helped Disney reach that benchmark - animated film Zootopia, live-action/CGI re-imagining The Jungle Book, and Marvel Studios sequel Captain America: Civil War - were all critical darlings and general audience favorites, in addition to being commercial hits.
The Mouse House's 2016 run has cooled a bit since then, between the critical/commercial under-performance of Alice Through the Looking Glass and The BFG, in essence, bombing at the U.S. box office (in spite of a positive reception). On the other hand, Disney/Pixar's animated Finding Dory has countered that by living up to the hefty expectations that surrounded the Finding Nemo sequel ahead of its theatrical release - and has now reached a new benchmark, in the process.
Per Box Office Mojo, Finding Dory took in $20.3 million at the U.S. box office this weekend, putting its domestic total at $422.6 million and placing it ahead of Civil War to become the top-grossing 2016 film, stateside (side-note: Finding Dory technically surpassed Civil War at the domestic box office on Friday). Internationally is another story, as Civil War remains the top-grossing 2016 movie worldwide with a take of $1.15 billion - with Finding Dory currently in sixth place, with $643 million. Nevertheless, the Finding Nemo followup's financial performance stateside is worth noting.
This weekend was a good one for animation in general, as Illumination Entertainment's The Secret Life of Pets passed initial projections to take in $103 million during its first three days at the U.S. box office - knocking Finding Dory from the top spot, in the process. That means that Illumination has now released two movies that opened to $100 million + weekends in the U.S. (the other film being Minions), further cementing the studio's status as an animation powerhouse to rival Disney, Pixar, and DreamWorks, among other major players in the animated filmmaking business.
Going back to Finding Dory: it will be interesting to see if the Pixar sequel can now hold onto the 2016 U.S. box office crown for the rest of the year. Finding Dory came in second on Fandango's Most Anticipated 2016 Movies Survey, just behind Disney and Lucasfilm's Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, but ahead of Civil War and the other tentpoles that have now released in theaters. Rogue One certainly has a good shot at usurping Finding Dory financially too; to put it into perspective, Rogue One would still top out at $468 million in the U.S. even if it only grossed half as much as last year's Star Wars: The Force Awakens ($936 million stateside).
Of course, even year brings its fair share of surprise smash hits (already in 2016 we have Deadpool) - and with such noteworthy titles as the Harry Potter franchise installment Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Warner Bros. Pictures' buzzed-about DC Comics adaptation Suicide Squad, and Marvel Studios' Doctor Strange yet to arrive this year, Rogue One isn't the only film that will be posing a challenge to Finding Dory's U.S. box offie title in the next six months.
Finding Dory and The Secret Life of Pets are now playing in theaters worldwide.
Source: Box Office Mojo