Credit: Warner Bros./Disney/Pixar

Future film franchises, take note: Alexander Skarsgård’s abs can apparently catapult a critically-savaged film to box office gold, as Warner Bros.’ The Legend of Tarzan continues to defy expectations after a solid $38.5 million three-day weekend, adding an estimated $8 million on the Fourth of July for a $46.6 million holiday finish.

Tarzan falls just shy of three-time domestic champ Finding Dory and its $51.4 million four-day total, bringing the Pixar sequel’s North American total to around $381.8 million after just 18 days in release. Dory, the Andrew Stanton-directed animated feature which features the voices of Ellen DeGeneres, Albert Brooks, Idris Elba, and Ty Burrell, boasts an $11,948 per-screen average, while Tarzan, David Yates’ first non-Harry Potter film since 2011, averaged $13,081 from 3,561 locations — the highest of any wide release this week, and more than double the number the industry initially projected for the $180 million tentpole.

Universal, Blumhouse, and Platinum Dunes’ horror continuation The Purge: Election Year adds around $5 million to its $31.5 three-day finish, coming in at No. 3 with $36.1 million. The sequel hovers just above the 2013 original’s $34.1 million opening, though that film made its money over three days during a non-holiday weekend. Still, Election Year has already tripled its production budget after four days in release, as the $10 million thriller makes a case for many more Purge films in the years to come.

Though nothing can soften the blow of Disney’s The BFG landing with a $18.8 million thud over its first three days, the animated film, based on Roald Dahl’s novel of the same name, adds about $4 million to its underwhelming debut number, finishing at No. 4 with $22.7 million over the four-day frame. The $140 million picture has enjoyed the best critical reviews of any of the week’s new wide releases, though its premiere numbers don’t bode well for its financial prospects.

Rounding out the holiday top 5 is Roland Emmerich’s Independence Day: Resurgence, which crosses the Fourth of July finish line with $21.7 million from 4,091 screens after losing 39 locations in its second week of release. The four-day number marks a 47-percent drop from its disappointing $41 million domestic opening last week (it was initially projected to gross well over $50 million across its debut), though, as they’ve done for domestic underperformers like Terminator: Genisys, Pacific Rim, and Warcraft in the recent past, foreign numbers are keeping Resurgence afloat, as the action sequel has thus far grossed $177 million around the world for a global total of $253.4 million.

Elsewhere, Universal’s The Secret Life of Pets pulls in an estimated $15.2 million from select international territories ahead of its July 8 domestic bow. The animated family flick notches the fourth-highest opening weekend ever for an original animated film in both the U.K. and Ireland, setting Pets off in the right direction on the way to reclaiming its $75 million production budget in no time.

July 1-4 weekend estimates:

1. Finding Dory – $51.4 million ($41.8 million three-day)

2. The Legend of Tarzan – $46.6 million ($38.5 million three-day)

3. The Purge: Election Year – $36.1 million ($31.5 million three-day)

4. The BFG – $22.7 million ($18.8 million three-day)

5. Independence Day: Resurgence – $21.7 million ($16.7 million three-day)

6. Central Intelligence – $15.4 million ($12.5 million three-day)

7. The Shallows – $10.5 million ($8.8 million three-day)

8. Free State of Jones – $5.3 million ($4.1 million three-day)

9. The Conjuring 2 – $4.5 million ($3.8 million three-day)

10. Now You See Me 2 – $3.7 million ($2.95 million three-day)

Finding Dory
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  • 97 minutes