'Tarzan', 'BFG' and 'Purge 3' Will be No Match for 'Finding Dory'
SATURDAY AM UPDATE: While Finding Dory is performing just as expected, pulling in an estimated $13.4 million on Friday looking at a four-day right around $52 million, a pair of the July 4 weekend newcomers are vastly outperforming expectations.

First off, Universal's The Purge: Election Year scored an estimated $14.47 million on Friday and is now looking at a three-day weekend around $33 million and a four-day that could finish right around $37 million. This puts it on par with the opening three-day total for the first Purge, not to overlook the fact the "B+" CinemaScore is an improvement over the "C" the first film received and the "B" the second film received.

Looking to finish second behind Dory is WB's The Legend of Tarzan, which brought in an impressive $14 million on Friday and is now looking at a four-day weekend that could come in as high as $45 million.

The last of the weekend's new wide releases is Steven Spielberg's The BFG, which is outperforming Mojo's forecast below, but still is struggling to find much of an audience. The film delivered an estimated $7 million on Friday and is looking at a four-day weekend around $23+ million.

Both Tarzan and The BFG scored "A-" CinemaScores.

You can check out all of Friday's estimates right here and we'll be back tomorrow with a look at the three-day weekend.

FRIDAY AM UPDATE: Thursday preview results are coming in and The Purge: Election Year got off to a great start, pulling in $3.64 million from 2,343 theaters. This is an improvement over both of the previous films which saw 2013's The Purge bring in $3.44 million and 2014's The Purge: Anarchy bring in $2.64 million. This is also ahead of the $3.4 million The Conjuring 2 brought in just a few weeks ago before it went on to open with $40.4 million over the three-day. The big test will be in the Election Year's overall Friday number, which will include Thursday's previews. Should it bring in a little over $16 million we're definitely looking at a weekend that could hit $30+ million for the three day and perhaps top $40 million for the four-day holiday. As of right now Mojo's forecast below for the film is looking light.

Next is WB's The Legend of Tarzan, which hauled in $2.55 million from Thursday evening showings which is just above the $2.1 million Hercules brought in before opening with $29 million. After including it as a comparison in our weekend forecast below it's best we mention the $2 million brought in by The Lone Ranger, the difference being Lone Ranger's previews took place on a Tuesday before the Wednesday opening. These are favorable numbers for the film compared to Mojo's forecast and we'll be keeping an eye on Friday's estimates tomorrow morning as anything around $11-12 million will suggest a three-day around $30 million and a four-day that could settle in around $35+ million.

As for The BFG, it brought in just $775,000, which isn't entirely a surprise considering family films don't tend to do big business on Thursday evenings unless they are major animated features and/or sequels. Case and point would be last year's Tomorrowland, which brought in $725k on Thursday night and ended up opening with $33 million. Of course, one of the films used in our forecast below, WB's Pan, brought in $650,000 before opening with $15.3 million. So while this doesn't necessarily provide a clear signal as to how the film will perform this weekend, a Friday closer to $8 million is what this one is looking for rather than the $5.1 million Pan brought in. We'll see tomorrow morning which direction we're headed in.

The weekend preview is directly below and we'll be updating this article tomorrow morning with Friday estimates.

WEEKEND PREVIEW: July 4 fell on a Saturday last year, resulting in an Independence Day weekend without an extended holiday. Thanks to 2016 being a Leap Year, July 4 moves to Monday and we're looking at a four-day holiday weekend that not only includes the third weekend for the high-powered performance of Disney and Pixar's Finding Dory, but three new wide releases. However, like last weekend, this week's freshman class will be jostling for runner up position as Dory is looking at a three-peat atop the weekend chart. Meanwhile WB's The Legend of Tarzan and Steven Spielberg's The BFG—and their combined budgets totaling $320 million—may have a hard time taking down Universal's The Purge: Election Year, which was made for a mere $10 million.

After crossing $300 million in just 12 days, Finding Dory enters its third weekend ready to rule once again. After a 46% drop in its second weekend (42% without including Thursday previews) a holiday drop around 44% resulting in a $40+ million three-day and a $50+ million four-day seems doable as it closes in on $400 million, charging toward the all-time animated record. It's the films below Dory where things get interesting.

2016 has been a year where the phrase "needless sequel" has been tossed around quite frequently, but with Universal's The Purge: Election Year, as with WB's The Conjuring 2, it seems horror sequels are always in some measure of demand from the core fanbase. That said, while its $10 million budget is only a fraction of the weekend's two other new wide releases, it appears Election Year will be the weekend's #2 release.

Two years ago The Purge: Anarchy opened with $29.8 million while scoring a "B" CinemaScore. While the the sequel's opening was $5 million less than its predecessor, the CinemaScore improved an full grade point as it went on to gross $71.9 million domestically, $7.5 million more than the original. Added to that, IMDb traffic data shows the latest Purge installment outperforming its predecessor at the same point in its release cycle suggesting an opening that could potentially top the sequel, heading toward a $25+ million three-day and a four-day holiday that could push above $30 million. The only thing that could hinder the film's weekend prospects has little to do with the film itself, but more to do with the fact both The Conjuring 2 and The Shallows recently hit theaters, which could result in the three films competing for the same audience.

So what of third position? Third through fifth place on this weekend's chart seems like a toss-up. Do audiences head to see Independence Day: Resurgence the same way they flocked to Mother's Day earlier this year due to the fact it has the name of the holiday weekend baked into its title? Can The Legend of Tarzan and The BFG outperform competitive data that points toward an audience that just isn't interested in either big budget title?

We'll first look to Independence Day, which opened with a soft $41 million last weekend from 4,130 theaters and carried with it a "B" CinemaScore. On average, films opening with similar data points drop around 56% on their second weekend. You extend that out to include films that also had "B-" CinemaScores and ignore theater counts and you're looking at a drop closer to 52%. Whether the holiday gives it a bump or not could be the difference between a $20+ million three-day or something closer to $17 million. Best bet is to expect something near the middle, around $18.5 million for the three-day and a possible $23+ million for the four-day. Question is, is that enough to top the weekend's two other new wide releases?

Industry sources suggest both Tarzan and BFG are looking at openings around $30 million with most expecting Tarzan top pop a little higher. Looking at competitive titles it becomes very difficult to agree with what appears to be optimistic expectations.

Beginning with Legend of Tarzan, the best comparison looks to be The Lone Ranger, which disappointed at the box office over July 4 weekend back in 2013. Lone Ranger carried a $215 million budget and hauled in a mere $29.2 million over the three day weekend and $48.7 million after its first five days in theaters after opening on Wednesday. What must be immediately noted here is the fact Tarzan star Alexander Skarsgard does not carry the box office weight of Johnny Depp and, even with Depp, Lone Ranger was unable to amass much of an audience. So how much box office firepower does Skarsgard add? Or how about co-star Margot Robbie?

Skarsgard has yet to have much of an impact theatrically and Robbie has yet to prove her box office draw, though that may change dramatically once Suicide Squad lands in August. As for the immediate future, Tarzan is looking at an opening closer to the $18.6 million Robbie's Focus brought in last February and a four-day that could possibly top out around $25 million if all goes well. Yet, the 33% the film currently holds at RottenTomatoes is almost on par with the 31% Lone Ranger holds, and for a film carrying a reported budget of $180 million that's not a good sign.

As for Steven Spielberg's The BFG, the reviews are the best of the weekend's three new wide releases, but audience interest doesn't appear to match critical enthusiasm. Carrying a reported budget of $140 million, the family feature is opening in 3,357 theaters and comparisons are a bit tough to nail down. Films such as Jack the Giant Slayer and Pan come to mind, though both opened outside the competitive summer corridor. Looking at competitive data on IMDb, BFG is just behind Jack the Giant Slayer and, in something of a conflict of data, actually further behind Pan at the same point in the release cycle. If we stick with those two films as comparisons we're looking at an opening weekend range of $15-27 million for the three-day with smart money on an opening closer to $15 million and a four-day around $18-20 million.

In limited release, IFC will release Roseanne for President! into two theaters while Roadside will release Our Kind of Traitor into 373 theaters.

Also of note this week is the expansion of A24's Swiss Army Man into 628 theaters (+625). The comedy stars Paul Dano, Dan Radcliffe and May Elizabeth Winstead and is looking for a $2-3 million four-day. Of course, the same was said last weekend of Nicolas Winding Refn's The Neon Demon before it barely geeked over the $500,000 mark. Swiss Army Man, however, should have a much broader appeal.

This weekend's three and four-day forecasts are directly below. This post will be updated on Friday morning with Thursday night preview results followed by Friday estimates on Saturday morning.

  • Finding Dory (4,305 theaters) - $40.86 M
  • The Purge: Election Year (2,796 theaters) - $25.16 M
  • The Legend of Tarzan (3,561 theaters) - $19.94 M
  • Independence Day: Resurgence (4,091 theaters) - $18.7 M
  • The BFG (3,357 theaters) - $16 M
  • Central Intelligence (3,166 theaters) - $10.76 M
  • The Shallows (2,962 theaters) - $8.74 M
  • Free State of Jones (2,781 theaters) - $5.15 M
  • The Conjuring 2 (2,008 theaters) - $3.93 M
  • Now You See Me 2 (1,788 theaters) - $3.08 M

  • Finding Dory - $52.25 M
  • The Purge: Election Year - $30.9 M
  • The Legend of Tarzan - $25.5 M
  • Independence Day: Resurgence - $23.56 M
  • The BFG - $19.65 M
  • Central Intelligence - $13.22 M
  • The Shallows - $10.73 M
  • Free State of Jones - $6.56 M
  • The Conjuring 2 - $5.02 M
  • Now You See Me 2 - $3.94 M

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