Walt Disney Pictures has already had a 2016 to remember, and the summer has only just begun. Earlier this year, the studio set a new record for fastest to $1 billion domestically, due to the overwhelming success of hits such as Zootopia, The Jungle Book, and Captain America: Civil War. Even with the recent disappointment of Alice Through the Look Glass bombing at the box office, the Mouse House still has plenty more to look forward to as they look to add to their astronomical totals. And they're on pace to bounce back in a big way later this month.
Pixar will release Finding Dory on June 17, 2016. The film is the much anticipated followup to their 2003 smash Finding Nemo, which earned a reputation as a modern animation classic. Dating back to the original Toy Story in 1995, Pixar has long had a reputation of delivering commercial success after commercial success, and Dory won't be any different. In fact, the sequel could set a new record for the largest Pixar opening weekend of all-time.
In a report by Variety, it's said that Finding Dory is projected to bring in between $115 - 120 million during its first three days domestically. That would surpass the $110.3 million of Toy Story 3 in 2010. Not only is Dory capitalizing on Nemo's popularity, it will also benefit from 3D premiums, which its predecessor did not have for most of its run (Nemo was re-released in 3D in 2012). In addition, the latest from Pixar should be able to take advantage of a weak crop of competitors for the family demographic, especially after Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows grossed considerably less than the first live-action TMNT over the weekend.
Dory is arriving at a perfect time for the marketplace. According to Variety, summer box office receipts are down 15 percent from 2015. Civil War became the year's first $1 billion movie, while most of the other titles haven't been as fortunate. Part of this is due to several tentpole level features coming out prior to the summer season (Deadpool, Batman V Superman, The Jungle Book), but high-profile works such as X-Men: Apocalypse and the aforementioned Out of the Shadows haven't done stellar business, meaning there's a void at the multiplex that Finding Dory is most definitely going to fill when it hits theaters.
This should also be a nice return to form for Pixar, who suffered a rare setback late last year when The Good Dinosaur grossed just $123 million for its entire U.S. run. That became the first film in the studio's storied history to lose money. Not that Pixar has any problems spinning original concepts into gold (see: Inside Out), but going back to one of their most beloved properties will certainly help hook die-hards and casual viewers alike. It also doesn't hurt that Dory herself is one of their most iconic creations, generating a massive following in the years since she swam her way into our hearts. Placing her in the spotlight is a sure way to sell tickets.
All in all, Finding Dory is shaping up to be another in the long line of Pixar hits, at least financially. Time will tell if it can live up to the studio's lofty standards from a critical perspective; though, the film's presentation at CinemaCon this year was very well received and the trailers suggest it will be full of classic Pixar humor and emotion. With Nemo director Andrew Stanton returning to the fold to bring this new movie to the big screen, chances are Dory will be a worthwhile successor to one of the best animated films of all-time and serve as a touchstone for another generation of youngsters.
Finding Dory hits U.S. theaters June 17, 2016.