Box Office: 'Finding Dory' Capsizes 'Independence Day: Resurgence'

Disney/Pixar/Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
'Finding Dory' (left), 'Independence Day: Resurgence'

Elsewhere, Blake Lively's shark movie 'The Shallows' is doing better than expected, while Matthew McConaughey's 'Free State of Jones' and 'The Neon Demon' get beached.

Pixar's Finding Dory continues to drown out the competition.

The animated tentpole will have no trouble staying atop the North American box-office chart in its second weekend, while Roland Emmerich's Independence Day: Resurgence is coming in behind expectations.

On Friday, Dory earned $23.2 million from 4,305 theaters for a projected weekend haul of $76 million-$77 million.

Independence Day: Resurgence followed with $16.8 million from 4,068 theaters, putting it on course for a subdued $42 million domestic debut.

Fox is counting on Resurgence doing big business overseas, where it is launching in numerous markets this weekend, including China. Box-office analysts believe it has a strong shot at opening to $100 million or more offshore, despite the absence of Will Smith, who didn't return for the sequel.

The tentpole, with a hefty net production budget of $165 million, is set two decades after the events in the first film (including the spectacular destruction of the White House and other iconic landmarks) and sees the same menacing aliens once again wreaking havoc.

Smith might be absent, but a number of other stars from the original film reprised their roles, including Bill Pullman, Jeff Goldblum, Judd Hirsch and Sela Ward. Newcomers include Liam Hemsworth, who plays a hot-shot military pilot whose parents died in the first alien attack and who is now dating the former first daughter (Maika Monroe), and Jessie Usher, who plays the stepson of Smith's character, now deceased.

Elsewhere, shark thriller The Shallows is the only new film to be overperforming in a needed box-office win for Sony. The movie, starring Blake Lively, bit off $6.9 million on Friday from 2,962 theaters for an estimated $16 million-$17 million weekend.

The Shallows cost a modest $17 million to make and was directed by Jaume Collet-Serra, known for such action films as Non-Stop and Unknown. In an unexpected twist, Shallows is the best-reviewed new film of the weekend, with a Rotten Tomatoes score of 75 percent.

The forecast looks grim for the two other new nationwide offerings, including Civil War drama Free State of Jones. Starring Matthew McConaughey and playing in 2,815 locations, the historical drama earned an estimated $2.7 million Friday from 2,815 theaters for an opening in the $7 million-$8 million range, McConaughey's worst showing in years.

Directed by Gary Ross, Free State of Jones is a big gamble for STX Entertainment, which opted to open the adult-skewing film in the heart of summer. (The $50 million movie is no doubt being hurt by generally dismal notices; its current score on Rotten Tomatoes is 40 percent.)

Free State of Jones tells the real-life story of Newt Knight, a defiant Southern farmer and Confederate medic who led an uprising and later married a former slave. Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Keri Russell and Mahershala Ali also star. STX insiders note the company's financial risk on the film is minimized thanks to a number of partners, including IM Global, which is handling the movie internationally.

Nicolas Winding Refn's The Neon Demon, a twisted take on the modeling industry, appears D.O.A. The movie, with a far smaller footprint (783 theaters), could have trouble cracking $1 million for the weekend.

Neon Demon, which had its world premiere at Cannes, stars Elle Fanning as an aspiring model who moves to Los Angeles and encounters unearthly creatures in the form of more established models. Like STX, Amazon Studios and theatrical partner Broad Green Pictures were bold in daring to open the film in summer, much less nationwide, versus a platform run.

Refn's film didn't receive a CinemaScore. Among the other new films, Resurgence earned a B, Shallows a B+ and Free State of Jones an A-.

June 25, 7:30 a.m. Updated with Friday numbers and revised weekend estimates.

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