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Box office: Secret Life of Pets roars past $100 million

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Illumination Entertainment and Universal Pictures

What do pets do when we’re not home? Make bank at the weekend box office, apparently, as the Illuminations-Universal animated comedy The Secret Life of Pets is proving as it blows past expectations with an extraordinary $104.4 million opening, pushing yearly box office totals up around 3 percent from the same frame last year.

Pets marks the second $100 million-plus showing for an animated film in the last month alone after Finding Dory shattered records with its $135 million debut in June. The film, which features the voices of Jenny Slate, Eric Stonestreet, and Louis C.K., handily exceeds its $75 million budget with a $23,879 average from 4,370 locations, the week’s second-highest per-screen bow, as Captain Fantastic averaged $24,613 from four theaters in limited release.

Animated features have proven themselves to be summer 2016’s MVPs on the box office trail, as the Sony/Columbia video game adaptation The Angry Birds Movie also cruised to a lofty $337.5 million worldwide on a $73 million budget earlier this season. Unlike Birds, however, Pets notches solid reviews from critics and audiences (A- grade on CinemaScore), which means a smaller-than-average drop next weekend (in line with Dory‘s 46 percent) is likely.

Landing at No. 2 for the second week in a row is Warner Bros.’ The Legend of Tarzan, which continues to swing past expectations as it adds $21 million to its domestic total, which now stands at $81.8 million — a number many didn’t believe the David Yates-directed film could reach across its entire run let alone after only 10 days of wide release. Audiences continue to stand up to critics, using their wallets to speak out against Tarzan‘s scathing critical reviews.

Trailing just behind Tarzan is Finding Dory, which slips from No. 1 to No. 3 with $20.8 million after leading the North American box office for three consecutive weeks. Now the top-grossing film of 2016 (its $423 million total bested Captain America: Civil War‘s $406.2 million this weekend), Dory also overtakes The Lion King‘s $422.8 million total as the second largest gross for an animated title in history, unadjusted for inflation. By the end of next weekend, Dory should scoot past Shrek 2‘s $441.2 million to take the crown as the top-earning animated film of all time. Dory‘s foreign totals amount to $220 million, further bolstering the film’s estimated $642.8 million global imprint thus far.

FOX

Exceeding projections by a decent amount, Fox’s Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates debuts to a solid $16.6 million across its first three days, far exceeding the opening numbers posted by star Zac Efron’s previous R-rated comedy ventures like That Awkward Moment ($8.7 million) and Dirty Grandpa ($11.1 million).

Though the film struggled to win critics over, audiences still showed up in larger-than-expected numbers, though they didn’t seem to like the film much after all (Mike and Dave‘s B grade on CinemaScore is far from favorable). Still, the film’s $5,576 per-screen average is respectable, especially given its relatively small $33 million budget. As comedies tend to hold on longer throughout the spring and summer than films in other genres (see: Tammy, Spy, Vacation, Trainwreck), Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates is poised for a healthy run ahead.

Rounding out the top five, The Purge: Election Year upholds tradition as it falls an estimated 61 percent from its $31.5 three-day opening to $12.4 million, staying in-line with the first two Purge films, which fell 75.6 percent and 64.8 percent, respectively, from strong opening weekend numbers as well. With approximately $58.8 million in grosses thus far, Election Year has already made back its small $10 million budget nearly six times over, marking another win for Universal, Blumhouse, and Platinum Dunes, who have a history of turning small-budgeted genre pictures into money-making giants (Paranormal Activity, Insidious).

Also cracking the top 10 this weekend is the Hindi-language Sultan, about the troubled life of a wrestler (Salman Khan). The film pulls in $2.4 million from 283 screens, continuing the trend of Indian films performing well at domestic theaters across their opening weekends.

July 8-10 weekend box office estimates:

1. The Secret Life of Pets – $104.4 million

2. The Legend of Tarzan – $21 million

3. Finding Dory – $20.8 million

4. Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates – $16.6 million

5. The Purge: Election Year – $12.4 million

6. Central Intelligence – $8 million

7. Independence Day: Resurgence – $7.8 million

8. The BFG – $7.8 million

9. The Shallows – $4.8 million

10. Sultan – $2.4 million