Finding Dory finds box office records with $136M debut

Finding Dory breaks Pixar, animated records

Box office experts anticipated a big debut for Pixar’s latest, but it turns out they underestimated the power of Dory.

While watching an animated movie about a fish probably didn’t top most fathers list for Father’s Day weekend, Finding Dory proved to be just what the family and box office ordered. After a string of underwhelming sequels failed to generate much interest this summer, the Finding Nemo follow-up proved a massive hit.

Finding Dory blew away box office predictions to top Shrek the Third’s $121.6 million record set in 2007. Bet you thought a Pixar film was the record holder too, huh? Pixar’s top grosser had been Toy Story 3, which like Dory, was surprisingly emotional. [irp]

Throughout the weekend, Dory was on a record setting pace. Thursday night it blew away Universal Pictures’ Minions, which set the best Thursday night opening mark last year. The 2015 film earned $6.2 million to Dory’s $9.2 million. On Friday, it broke Shrek the Third’s best opening day mark of $47 million a dazzling $55 million debut.

Kevin Hart and Dwayne Johnson’s Central Intelligence wasn’t a close runner-up, but also had a strong opening weekend. Their action comedy earned $34.5 million. Kevin Hart continues to be a reliable box office draw. Counting Central Intelligence, Hart’s last three films — Get Hard ($33.8 million), Ride Along 2 ($35.2 million) — have each earned at least $33 million. Since 2014, Hart hasn’t opened a film with less than $20 million. Considering he typically makes back a film’s budget in its opening weekend, count on more studios continuing to stay in the Kevin Hart business.

Central Intelligence - Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart
Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

Johnson may even be more of a sure thing. Since 2011, he’s starred in 10 films. Only two (Snitch and Pain and Gain) opened under $27 million while five opened above $40 million.

The Conjuring 2 slipped from first place last week to third, but had a steady $15.6 million. Horror/thrillers tend to be front loaded so this wasn’t a bad follow-up from its opening. In its second weekend, the film has now earned $71 million. Now You See Me 2 summoned up $9.7 million to take its total to $41.3 million.  Warcraft wrapped up the Top 5 with $6.5 million continuing its underwhelming domestic run. Its total is now $37.7 million.