It wasn’t enough to snatch the No. 1 spot away from The Secret Life of Pets, but the highly-anticipated Ghostbusters reboot’s $46 million opening weekend marks the biggest live-action comedy opening since Universal’s Pitch Perfect 2 grossed $69 million last year.
Paul Feig’s fifth major theatrical release, premiering on 3,963 screens, also registers the filmmaker’s largest opening yet, besting the $39.1 million gross of his 2013 comedy The Heat by roughly $7 million, according to estimates. Ghostbusters also sees Melissa McCarthy’s strongest showing at the weekend box office to date, further solidifying her status as one of the few remaining box office draws of the contemporary era.
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Though parent studio Columbia remained conservative with their weekend projections in the $38-$46 million range (which ended up being the right move), some industry analysts, including reliable resources like BoxOffice Pro, pegged Feig’s latest for an opening in the mid-$50 million range thanks to intense online buzz (partially due to unwarranted fuss over its all-female cast) and strong critical reviews. CinemaScore polling (B+) indicates audiences weren’t completely smitten with the film, though it performed better than recent comedies Keanu (B) and Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising (B).
The $144 million picture has a long road ahead on the way to recouping its production budget, however, a feat made all the more difficult as it foregoes a theatrical release in China, where domestic underperformers (Warcraft, Terminator: Genisys) have traditionally earned a significant portion of their global total.
Adding 11 theaters for a national location count of 4,381, Illumination-Universal’s reigning champion, The Secret Life of Pets, sits pretty atop the weekend box office throne for a second week in a row, falling an estimated 52 percent to roughly $50.6 million. The original animated movie has bagged $203.2 million in the U.S. and Canada thus far, with an additional $50.8 million international gross pushing the film to just under $254 million worldwide.
Slipping one spot to No. 3 is Warner Bros. The Legend of Tarzan, which adds another $11.1 million to its surprising domestic haul, crossing the $100 million mark after 17 days in release. The $180 million tentpole loses 40 screens, though it maintains a healthy $3,132 per-location average across its third weekend.
Finding Dory similarly drops 47 percent to No. 4 with a weekend estimate of $11 million, extending its lead as 2016’s top-grossing film with around $445.5 million in box office receipts thus far. Dory also swims past Shrek 2‘s $441.2 million total as the top-grossing animated feature of all time (unadjusted for inflation).
Rounding out the top 5 is Zac Efron’s latest R-rated comedy, Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates, which, after posting a decent $16.6 million last week, drops 55 percent to an estimated $7.5 million over its sophomore weekend run.
Outside the top 5, Bryan Cranston’s The Infiltrator over-performed, posting $5.3 million from 1,600 locations after getting a $1.5 million head start across Wednesday and Thursday. Woody Allen’s Cafe Society also dazzled in limited release. The Kristen Stewart-Jesse Eisenberg comedy from the legendary auteur, who usually opens his films to stellar numbers over their specialty bows, raked in an estimated $355,000 from 5 screens for a stellar $71K average.
Check out the July 15-17 weekend estimates below. These numbers will be updated at the top of the week to reflect actual grosses.
1. The Secret Life of Pets – $50.6 million
2. Ghostbusters – $46 million
3. The Legend of Tarzan – $11.1 million
4. Finding Dory – $11 million
5. Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates – $7.5 million
6. The Purge: Election Year – $6.1 million
7. Central Intelligence – $5.3 million
8. The Infiltrator – $5.3 million
9. The BFG – $3.7 million
10. Independence Day: Resurgence – $3.5 million