Box Office: 'Finding Dory' Sinks 'Legend of Tarzan,' 'BFG' With $50.2M
Steven Spielberg's 'The BFG' bombs in North America over the July 4th weekend, while 'Legend of Tarzan' is still in trouble despite coming in ahead of expectations; 'The Purge: Election Year' rallies early financial success.
Disney is weathering a lopsided Fourth of July at the North American box office between two of its films, reigning champ Finding Dory and Steven Spielberg's pricey misfire, The BFG.
Pixar and Disney's Finding Dory is swimming ahead of the competition to stay at No. 1 in its third weekend, no small feat considering both The BFG and The Legend of Tarzan are big-budget tentpoles designed to set off major fireworks. But neither of the two new films materialized into mega holiday players, although Tarzan isn't a complete disaster.
If there's any solace, it's that holiday revenue was still up steeply over last year, a 40 percent increase, thanks to Finding Dory and other holdovers, Tarzan overperforming and a strong showing by horror threequel The Purge: Election Year.
Finding Dory earned $41.4 million from 4,305 theaters for the three-day weekend, and $50.2 million for the long four-day holiday weekend. The continued appeal of the animated film no doubt made life tough for The BFG, which is likewise a family play. Finding Dory also dominated overseas, grossing another $34.4 million.
Finding Dory's domestic total through Monday is a sizable $380.5 million, while globally it has earned nearly $550 million.
Warner Bros. and Village Roadshow's The Legend of Tarzan bowed at No. 2 in North America with a three-day gross of $38.5 million from 3,561 theaters and an estimated four-day gross of $45.6 million. While that's better than expected, it's still a problematic number considering the movie's $180 million production budget.
The holiday's clear financial winner is Universal's The Purge: Election Year, which cost just $10 million to make. The horror threequel placed No. 3 with a three-day tally of $31.4 million from 2,796 theaters and an estimated four-day haul of $34.8 million. Blumhouse and Platinum Dunes produced the pic for Universal, and it's one of the few franchise installments to not suffer from sequelitis.
Disney and Spielberg's The BFG, with a net budget of $140 million, bombed in North America, where the family film earned $18.6 million for the three-day weekend from 3,357 locations. The movie's four-day debut is a terrible $22.3 million.
Both The BFG and Legend of Tarzan hope to make up ground at the international box office, but since both have staggered rollouts, their fate overseas won't immediately be known.
Legend of Tarzan opened in its first 19 markets this weekend, grossing $18.8 million, including a first-place finish in Russia with $3 million and a second-place finish in South Korea with $4 million. David Yates directed the action-adventure film, which stars Alexander Skarsgard in the title role opposite Margot Robbie, Samuel L. Jackson, Djimon Hounsou, Jim Broadbent and Christoph Waltz.
In North America, Legend of Tarzan earned an A- CinemaScore, although reviews were less kind. The movie skewed slightly female (51 percent), while nearly 70 percent of the audience was over the age of 25.
"We thought we'd be in the $35 million range for the four days, but we've come in higher each day," said Warner Bros. domestic distribution chief Jeff Goldstein, who credits strong exits and the A- CinemaScore. "And the movie was always meant to be a big player internationally."
Conversely, The BFG flailed in its North American debut despite solid reviews and an A- CinemaScore, not to mention a high-profile world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival in May. It's the first time Spielberg has directed a movie for Disney, which partnered with the filmmaker's Amblin Entertainment and Walden Media.
The BFG is based on Roald Dahl's beloved book of the same name about a giant (Mark Rylance) who meets and protects a young orphan girl (Ruby Barnhill). Families made up the bulk of the audience (60 percent), while the film skewed even more female than Legend of Tarzan (54 percent).
"All of us are very, very proud of the film … and are encouraged in the way people responded, from the first screening at Cannes to strong reviews to the CinemaScore," said Disney distribution exec vp Dave Hollis. "And we are hoping for resilient weekday business because of the availability of the family audience, plus strong business internationally."
Overseas, The BFG debuted in its first two markets, Australia and Russia, earning $2 million and $1.9 million respectively, for a total $3.9 million.
Helmed by James DeMonaco, The Purge: Election Year earned a B+, a good grade for a horror film. Sequel The Purge: Anarchy debuted to $29.8 million in late July 2014, while The Purge opened to an impressive $35.1 million in June 2013.
The Purge 3 hasn't begun to roll out in earnest overseas, but Illumination Entertainment and Universal enjoyed a good weekend with The Secret Life of Pets, which took in another $11.9 million from six markets for an early international total of $29.6 million. The animated family film opens in North America on Friday.
Also overseas, Legendary Entertainment and Universal's Warcraft appeared DOA in Japan, where it debuted to $273,000. The video game adaptation, which stalled in the U.S., is all but done with its global run, having earned $422.1 million globally. The vast majority, or $220.1 million, came from China, so it's not clear whether the movie will break even.
In North America, Fox's Independence Day: Resurgence rounded out the top five, grossing $16.6 million for the three days (a 60 percent decline from its opening weekend). The sequel earned $20.2 million for the four-day holiday frame, putting its domestic total at $76.4 million through Monday.
Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart's Central Intelligence continued to hold well, falling 31 percent for the three-day weekend to $12.5 million. For the four days, the action comedy took in $15 million for a domestic total of $94.4 million through Monday. Overseas, the film grossed another $13.8 million for a foreign total of $30.3 million and worldwide cume of $122.1 million.
Sony's shark movie The Shallows, starring Blake Lively, also held nicely, earning $11.9 million for the four days for a domestic tally of $36.7 million in its first 10 days.
July 4, 7:40 a.m. Updated with revised grosses for the three-day and four-day weekend.