Finding Dory stays afloat as No. 1 with $73.2M

Finding Dory had a number of challengers lining up to take its throne. In the end, fish power proved stronger than alien invaders, pesky sharks and southern rebels.

Finding Dory is surging strong. In eight days, its $236 million haul crushed Toy Story 3’s tally of $185 million. Toy Story 3 remains the Pixar gold standard with $415 million. Currently Dory has earned $286.6 million.

The big question is will Finding Dory have enough steam to overtake Captain America: Civil War ($403 million) as the year’s highest grossing film? BFG, could pull from thee same audiences Finding Dory is attracting, could come into play when it debuts next week. And if that isn’t enough The Secret Life of Pets — an even more squarely focused kid/family flick — should definitely lure audiences away. I’m thinking Dory makes a good run, but in the end Cap and company survive its biggest threat for the year’s top film until Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

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Independence Day: Resurgence was a distant second with $41.6 million. The sequel to the 1996 blockbuster, which earned $306 million, didn’t meet with nearly as much interest from audiences. The hope with a film like this is to have a massive opening weekend. Faced with Finding Dory, there wasn’t enough of a draw to bring audiences in to the latest chapter of the alien invasion series.

The film faces a challenge in recouping its $165 million budget. You have to wonder if the absence of star Will Smith from the sequel played a part in audience disinterest. Course I’m still confused why 20th Century Fox didn’t release this on July 1, which would have been a lot closer to Independence Day.

Central Intelligence dropped to third place with a decent $18.7 million haul. At $69.3 million, the film has already made back its $50 million budget further solidifying stars Kevin Hart and Dwayne Johnson as reliable, bankable box office draws. Central should probably top off at around $80 million by the end of its run.

The Shallows - Blake Lively
Credit: Sony Pictures
The Shallows — Blake Lively’s battle with a shark thriller — fared well $16.7 million. With only a $17 million budget, this should earn a sizable profit. Its positive reviews and B+ CinemaScore suggest it could be a player for the next few weeks.

Matthew McConaughey’s Free State of Jones, about a farmer who leads a rebellion against the Confederate Army, failed to rally audiences. The passion project for Director Gary Ross managed just $7.8 million.

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