As Dory famously said in Finding Nemo, “Just keep swimming.” That’s exactly what the Pixar sequel is doing at the box office.
Finding Dory made a splash with an estimated $54.95 million from Friday showings at 4,305 theaters, in addition to the $9.2 million from Thursday night. Assuming no major upsets, projections for the film’s weekend-long gross are within the $130-$140 million range, which would grant Finding Dory the prize of biggest opening for an animated film. Shrek The Third currently holds that title after its $121.6 million debut in 2007.
The Pixar film, directed by Andrew Stanton and Angus MacLane, already has two records under its belt. Its Thursday earnings are higher than previous record-holder, 2015’s Minions ($6.2 million), while Friday’s numbers give Finding Dory the largest single-day gross for an animated film.
Ellen DeGeneres returns to her voice role of the forgetful fish Dory as she attempts to reunite with her family. Albert Brooks returns as the voice of her friend Marlin, while Ty Burrell, Ed O’Neill, Diane Keaton, Idris Elba, and Eugene Levy voice new characters.
The weekend’s other major release is Central Intelligence, Rawson Marshall Thurber’s comedy starring Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart. The film opened to an estimated $13 million on Friday.