Box-Office Preview: 'Secret Life of Pets' to Bite Off $70M-Plus Debut

The weekend's other newcomer is Zac Efron and Adam DeVine's R-rated comedy 'Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates.'

Another animated family film about animals is expected to galvanize the North American box office this weekend after a sluggish Fourth of July holiday at the multiplex.

Illumination Entertainment and Universal's The Secret Life of Pets has a good chance of crossing $70 million in its domestic debut, enough to topple reigning champ Finding Dory.

From Pixar and Disney, Finding Dory has topped the box-office chart for three weekends, amassing north of $381 million domestically to become the summer's biggest player behind Captain America: Civil War.

Secret Life of Pets is the fifth film from Illumination, home of Despicable Me and Minions, and begins playing in select theaters Thursday night before opening everywhere Friday (it will screen in roughly 4,300 theaters).

And — taking a cue from Pixar — Illumination will unspool a short film before the feature, Mower Minions.

Secret Life of Pets is the third animated film of the year to revolve around animals after Zootopia and Finding Dory, and reveals what pets do after their human friends leave the house. The voice cast includes Louis C.K., Eric Stonestreet and Kevin Hart (it's the first time the three have worked on an animated movie), Jenny Slate, Ellie Kemper, Lake Bell, Dana Carvey, Hannibal Buress, Bobby Moynihan, Steve Coogan and Albert Brooks. Chris Rinaud (Despicable Me, Despicable Me 2) directed.

The pic — which cost $75 million to make, a relatively modest number for a studio animated offering — has already opened in select international markets, earning a stellar $30.9 million to date, including a record $13.4 million debut in the U.K.

The weekend's other new nationwide entry is the R-rated comedy Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates, starring Zac Efron and Adam DeVine. The Fox film is tracking to open in the $12 million range, but the studio is hoping for an upside.

Directed by Jake Szymanski, Mike and Dave revolves around two young men who place an ad looking for dates to their sister's wedding. Anna Kendrick, Aubrey Plaza and Stephen Root also star. The comedy cost under $35 million to make.

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