Box-Office Preview: 'Finding Dory' Set to Swim Past $100M in U.S. Bow
Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart's action-comedy 'Central Intelligence' also opens this weekend.
More than a decade after Finding Nemo won over audiences around the globe, Pixar and Disney's sequel Finding Dory swims into theaters this weekend with high hopes of energizing the summer box office.
If prerelease tracking is right, the sequel could debut to as much as $120 million in North America, marking an all-time best for Pixar in topping the $110.3 million debut of Toy Story 3 in summer 2010, not accounting for inflation.
To date, DreamWorks Animation's Shrek the Third (2007) holds the crown for the top animated opening of all time with $121.6 million, followed by Illumination Entertainment's Minions (2015) with $115.7 million.
Finding Nemo director Andrew Stanton returned to helm Finding Dory alongside co-director Angus MacLane. Ellen DeGeneres also returned to voice the title role of Dory alongside Finding Nemo's Albert Brooks. This time out, Hayden Rolence voices the character Nemo.
The sequel is set six months after the events of the first pic, and focuses on Dory's attempts to reunite with her family even as she battles an endless cycle of amnesia. Accompanied by Nemo and Marlin (Brooks), Dory arrives at the Monterey Marine Life Institute, where she engages with new friends, including a white beluga whale named Destiny (Ty Burrell), a white shark (Kaitlin Olson) and a cranky octopus (Ed O'Neill).
Idris Elba, Diane Keaton, Dominic West, Kate McKinnon, Bill Hader and Sigourney Weaver round out the voice cast.
The weekend's other new offering, Central Intelligence, teams Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart for the first time on the big screen. Tracking shows the action-comedy opening in the $30 million range, in line with last summer's Spy, the action-comedy starring Melissa McCarthy, Jason Statham and Jude Law.
New Line, Warner Bros. and Universal teamed on Central Intelligence, which cost roughly $50 million to produce. Box-office analysts say they wouldn't be surprised if the film comes in ahead of expectations, considering the popularity of its two leading stars.
In the pic, directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber, Johnson plays a CIA agent and one-time teenage geek returning home for his high-school reunion, where he enlists the aid of a former classmate (Hart) and most popular guy in high school who is now a boring accountant. Amy Ryan and Aaron Paul co-star.
June 16, 8:15 am Updated to clarify Finding Nemo's initial release date.