Illumination's 'Pets' Opens with Massive $103M as Pixar's 'Dory' Tops 2016 Domestic Releases
Illumination and Universal's The Secret Life of Pets delivered a record opening for an original animated property as it led a strong, post-holiday weekend where the top twelve grossed an estimated $206 million, down only a fraction of a percentage compared to last year when Minions scorched the box office with a $115.7 million opening. The weekend's other wide release, Fox's Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates, also performed well as did Yash Raj's Bollywood release Sultan, which secured a top ten finish after opening on Wednesday and playing in a mere 283 theaters.

Heading into the weekend, the largest opening for an original, animated property was the $90.4 million Inside Out brought in last year followed by the $75 million opening for Zootopia just a few months ago. Thus, the $103.17 million opening for The Secret Life of Pets handily tops those openings while also becoming only the sixth animated film to ever open with more than $100 million.

Pets also delivered a solid "A-" CinemaScore as it premiered in 4,370 theaters, the widest opening ever for an animated film, earning the film a $23,609 per theater average. With Pets' performance it also becomes the sixth film in 2016 to open with more than $100 million, tying the record for the number of films that opened above the century mark, which was set just last year as 2016 is currently 2.9% ahead of 2015 year-to-date.

Internationally, Secret Life of Pets continued its slow roll out as it is only playing in nine territories so far with an international total of $42.6 million. The film will release in 57 more territories over the next three months, including Argentina, Chile and Colombia on July 21 followed by France on July 27, Germany (July 28), Mexico (July 29) and China on August 2.

Coming in second with a solid sophomore hold is WB's The Legend of Tarzan, dropping only 46% for an estimated $20.6 million. Considering it was coming off a holiday opening, expectation heading into the weekend was for a 50+% drop proving the film's "A-" CinemaScore is no fluke as some good word of mouth appears to be spreading for the film. Unfortunately, the monster $180 million production budget still puts the film at a disadvantage from a financial perspective as attention turns toward its international prospects where it grossed $27 million this weekend from 47 markets, bringing its international total to $54 million and its global cume to $135.4 million so far. Openings in Italy (Jul 14), China (Jul 19), Brazil (Jul 21) and Spain (Jul 22) are on the horizon.

The second place finish for Tarzan means Disney and Pixar's Finding Dory will have to settle for third after three weeks atop the box office. The film, however, has something to celebrate as its $20.3 million weekend pushes its domestic cume to $422.5 million, making it the highest grossing domestic release of 2016 and the third highest grossing animated release of all-time, less than $19 million shy of topping Shrek 2 ($441.2m).

Internationally, Finding Dory climbed above $200 million as its overseas total now stands at $220.2 million for a global cume of $642.8 million. The film still has plenty of markets where it has yet to open including Mexico, Japan, UK, Italy, and Germany. Dory's performance contributes to a massive year for Disney so far as the studio has now topped $5 billion worldwide and is nearing $2 billion domestically.

Meanwhile, the weekend's other new wide release was Fox's R-rated comedy Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates, which was expected to open around $12 million or so, scored a solid $16.6 million, fourth place debut. The film played to an audience that was 48% male vs. 52% female and split right down the middle in age demographic, playing 50% under the age of 25. It scored a satisfactory "B" CinemaScore and should be looking at a domestic run somewhere around $35-42 million.

Finishing in sixth place for a second weekend in a row is the continuing, strong performance of the Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart action-comedy Central Intelligence. After topping $100 million domestically heading into the weekend, the film continues to show strong legs as it dropped only 35% this weekend for an estimated $8.1 million, bringing its domestic cume to $108.3 million. WB's The Conjuring 2 is also looking to become a $100+ million earner, but it looks as if it will have to wait until Monday as its estimated $1.7 million weekend brings its domestic total to $99.37 million.

Rounding out the top ten is a stellar opening for Yash Raj's Sultan starring Salman Khan. The film delivered a top ten finish from just 283 theaters, bringing in an estimated $2.2 million, the largest Bollywood opening of 2016 and already the top-grossing Bollywood film overall this year.

The weekend's per theater crown, should estimates hold, won't actually go to Secret Life of Pets, but to Bleecker Street's limited release of Captain Fantastic, which scored an estimated $98,451 from four theaters for a $24,613 per theater average. The film, which stars Viggo Mortensen, recently won the Golden Space Needle Award at the Seattle Film Festival and earned writer/director Matt Ross the Un Certain Regard - Best Director award at the Cannes Film Festival.

Other limited openings included Well Go's Cold War 2, which brought in $165,500 from 22 theaters; Sony Classics' Our Little Sister delivered $27,070 from three theaters and Music Box's Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You opened with an estimated $20,000 from two New York theaters.

Finally, Me Before You made a little noise this weekend as it added another $10.5 million to its international total which now stands at $103 million for a global cume of $157.8 million. Also, with a $3.8 million opening in the UK, Lionsgate's Now You See Me 2 added another $10.1 million this weekend, bringing its international cume to over $175 million and a global gross-to-date of $238.3 million with an opening in South Korea set for this coming Wednesday.

Next weekend sees the release of Sony's remake of Ghostbusters directed by Paul Feig and starring Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon. The film has been something of a lightning rod for online conversation ever since it was first announced and as it makes its way to opening in over 3,700 theaters next weekend its performance will be one to watch. Also opening is Broad Green's The Infiltrator, which begins its release on Wednesday, and Lionsgate will release Woody Allen's Cafe Society into five theaters.

For a look at this weekend's estimated results click here and we'll be updating the charts with weekend actuals on Monday afternoon.

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