Illumination Entertainment's popular Despicable Me animated movie franchise has given rise to the wildly-popular Minions brand in recent years. The studio's latest offering, The Secret Life of Pets, features neither supervillain Gru nor his Minions (save for the Mower Minions short attached to the film in theaters), but was projected to do big business at the U.S. box office, heading into its stateside theatrical bow.
Secret Life of Pets lived up to the box office expectations during its first Friday at the U.S. box office, no doubt buoyed by the largely positive critical reception for the animated madcap adventure (a film that explores a day in the lives of everyone's pets, while they're away at work). This comes after Disney/Pixar's animated sequel Finding Dory topped the domestic box office for the past three weeks, despite being momentarily overtaken by The Purge: Election Year last week.
However, it's safe to say that Dory won't land the box office crown for a fourth weekend, thanks to Secret Life of Pets. Per Box Office Mojo, Secret Life of Pets took in an estimated $38.3 million during its U.S. box office opening day and could fly as high as $90-100 million by the end of this weekend.
For the sake of comparison, Secret Life of Pets' opening day take was lower than that for Minions in 2015 ($46 million), but higher than that for last year's Disney/Pixar's summer release, Inside Out ($34.3 million) and Despicable Me 2 ($35 million). It should be noted that the Despicable Me sequel did begin its U.S. box office run on a Wednesday and not a Friday, though (unlike Secret Life of Pets and the other films listed here).
This week's other new wide U.S. theatrical release, Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates, opened in the #2 spot to $6.65 million on its first Friday at the U.S. box office. The film didn't reach the same opening day total as this past May's Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising ($8.8. million U.S. opening day), another R-Rated raunchy comedy costarring Zac Efron. Mike and Dave's weak critical reception (read our review) might hurt the movie in the long run, but it shouldn't have too much trouble matching or exceeding its relatively slim $33 million production budget, at the end of the day.
Finding Dory claimed the #3 spot at the U.S. box office Friday with $6.3 million and should take in more for the weekend total than Mike and Dave, as it's the sort of kid-friendly that typically sees a Friday-to-Saturday increase in ticket sales every week. Last week's new releases (The Legend of Tarzan, The Purge: Election Year, and The BFG) all dropped well over 50% from their opening days, with Election Year taking the steepest plunge (72%), as is common for horror/thriller sequels. Legend of Tarzan continues to perform better-than-expected all the same and may yet recoup its hefty production costs ($180 million, without marketing).
Meanwhile, the Steven Spielberg-directed BFG, despite its good reviews, is the latest big-budget Hollywood movie to under-perform at the U.S. box office this summer. BFG, similar to such recent releases as Alice Through the Looking Glass, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, Warcraft, and last month's Independence Day: Resurgence will thus depend on the international box office to make its money back. Warcraft in particular did much, much better at the overseas box office than domestically, so there might yet be hope for BFG to avoid being a complete commercial bomb.
On the other hand, under-performing live-action franchise films aside, the 2016 summer movie season has been a great time for animation, as illustrated by Finding Dory and Secret Life of Pets (films that both critics and audiences in general seem to love).
The Secret Life of Pets is now playing in theaters.
Source: Box Office Mojo