July 9, 2016

EARLY FRIDAY BOX OFFICE: “Secret Life of Pets” Makes “Mike & Dave” Roll Over & Play Dead


For the fourth consecutive weekend, an animated movie will lead the box office, as Finding Dory‘s mantle is taken by THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS (Illumination/Universal).  With a $38M Friday (including $5.3M from Thursday night) reported in preliminary numbers at Deadline, Pets is on track for a $95M weekend, which would make it the biggest non-sequel animated opening ever.  The Illumination unit is relatively thrifty as A-list animation houses go, and the total worldwide costs for Pets are around $200M, which will make it hugely profitable.  (A piece of above and beyond self-promotion that’s worth noting is that a major sequence in Pets features a poster for Illumination’s upcoming holiday movie Sing, kicking off that marketing campaign with no extra expense.)  Pets will face competition in 2 weeks from the next Ice Age installment, but that franchise is much stronger overseas than in the US (the last US opening was a merely OK $41.7M), so it may not have much effect.

The weekend’s other wide opening is the R-rated comedy MIKE & DAVE NEED WEDDING DATES (TSG/20th), and with no major comedy stars on the marquee, that one is proving a tough sell.  A $6.1M Friday (including $1.6M from Thursday night) probably means an unimpressive $15M weekend (the somewhat similar Forgetting Sarah Marshall opened to $17.7M in 2008, without benefit of a summer run), and if it has a full overseas release, worldwide costs could exceed $100M, which means a $50M US total may still make for a tough road to breakeven.

The arrival of Pets dented FINDING DORY (Pixar/Disney), which took a 54% Friday-to-Friday hit to $6.1M, for a probable $20M weekend.  Even so, Dory‘s $408M total as of Friday makes it 2016’s #1 release to date, topping Captain America: Civil War‘s $405.9M.  Dory should still have enough firepower to move past Shrek 2‘s $441.2M total from 2004 to become the highest-grossing animated film in US history.

THE LEGEND OF TARZAN (Village Roadshow/RatPac/Warners) isn’t showing the kind of hold it would need to recoup its huge costs.  It fell 58% from last Friday to $5.9M, and after a $19M weekend, its trajectory won’t even put it on track for $125M in the US.

THE PURGE: ELECTION YEAR (Blumhouse/Universal) is a franchise that burns out quickly, and with a 73% drop from last Friday to $4M, it will probably fall more than 60% for the weekend to $12M, with $58M so far.  That still may allow it to pull in front of Purge: Anarchy, which earned a US total of $72M.

THE BFG (Reliance/Disney) showed none of the support one might have looked for in a film aimed at older-skewing audiences and families  It fell 67% from last Friday to $2.3M, with a $7.5M weekend ahead and a US total that may not get much past $50M.  It would take an overseas miracle for this one not to incur a 9-figure loss.

Despite the arrival of Mike & Dave, CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE (New Line/RatPac/Universal/Warners) held extremely well, down just 36% from last Friday to $2.4M, with a $8M weekend ahead  It might land at $125M in the US before it’s done.

INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE (20th) is on track for little more than $100M in the US after a $7M weekend, disastrous considering the high costs.  The much cheaper THE SHALLOWS (Columbia/Sony) should manage more than $50M in the US after a $5M weekend.

CAPTAIN FANTASTIC (Broad Street) opened in 4 arthouses and is looking to an OK $20K weekend per-theatre average, boosted in part by in-theatre Q&A sessions.  OUR LITTLE SISTER (Sony Classics) is starting more quietly, and may average $8K for the weekend in 3 theatres.

About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."