That’s the biggest domestic opening ever for an animated film; Dwayne Jonson and Kevin Hart’s action comedy ‘Central Intelligence’ opens to a solid $34.5 million.
Good things come to those who wait — at least in the case of a forgetful blue fish named Dory.
Some 13 years after Finding Nemo first hit theaters, Pixar and Disney’s sequel Finding Dory made a gigantic splash at the box office, landing the biggest domestic opening of all time for an animated title with $136.2 million from 4,305 theaters. It’s also the only animated movie to crack the overall list of top 20 openings, ranking No. 18.
Finding Dory easily topped the box-office chart, while Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart’s Central Intelligence did solid business in its opening, earning $34.5 million from 3,508 theaters to come in No. 2. Some rival studios have the action-comedy coming in higher, but Sunday’s NBA Finals Game 7 could subdue moviegoing later on Father’s Day.
Overseas, Finding Dory grossed $50 million as it rolled out in 32 percent of the marketplace for a global bow of $186.2 million, including a Pixar-best $17.5 million in China and $7.6 million in Australia.
The previous crown-holder for top animated domestic launch was DreamWorks Animation’s Shrek the Third, which debuted to $121.6 million in 2007. Until now, Pixar’s best was Toy Story 3 (2010) with $110.3 million.
Finding Dory — which garnered an A CinemaScore — is a needed boost for the summer box office, which has seen a number of sequels underperform. It also reminds of the power of families in driving mega openings, as well as underscoring the nostalgia for Nemo. While families made up the largest chunk of the audience (65 percent), adults turned out in force (26 percent), followed by teens (9 percent). Imax theaters, not generally a family destination, turned in $5 million domestically.
“In a funny way, the 13-year separation between the first and second movie was serendipitous,” said Disney domestic distribution chief Dave Hollis. “It’s part of what created a want-to-see, need-to-see movement. And it’s the 17th consecutive Pixar film to receive some variation of an A CinemaScore.”
Finding Dory’s Friday haul of $55.2 million marked the largest single day ever for an animated film, eclipsing the record $47 million earned by Shrek the Third on its first Saturday. Finding Dory kicked things off by earning $9.2 million in Thursday night previews, likewise a record for an animated pic, besting last year’s Minions ($6.2 million).
Directed by Andrew Stanton and Angus MacLane, the follow-up sees Finding Nemo voice stars Ellen DeGeneres and Albert Brooks returning to voice the roles of Dory and Marlin, respectively. Newcomer Hayden Rolence voices the character of Nemo.
The tale centers on Dory’s attempts to reunite with her parents, whom she lost years ago. Accompanied by Nemo and Marlin, Dory arrives at a marine institute, where she engages with new friends, including a white beluga whale named Destiny (Ty Burrell), a white shark (Kaitlin Olson) and a cranky octopus (Ed O’Neill).
Central Intelligence, pairing Johnson and Hart on the big screen for the first time, earned an A- CinemaScore and skewed slightly female (51 percent). As expected, it played older, with 57 percent of ticket buyers over the age of 25.
While it came in ahead of last summer’s action-comedy, Melissa McCarthy’s Spy ($29.1 million), Central Intelligence didn’t come close to matching Hart’s Ride Along ($41.5 million). It came in only slightly behind Hart’s Ride Along 2 ($35.2 million) and Johnson’s action-comedy The Other Guys ($35.5 million).
Central Intelligence, directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber, follows a CIA agent (Johnson), a one-time teenage geek returning home for his high-school reunion, who enlists his former classmate (Hart) to help him complete a mission. Amy Ryan and Aaron Paul co-star in the movie.
New Line, Warner Bros. and Universal teamed on Central Intelligence, which cost $50 million to produce. Overseas, where Universal has distribution duties, the action-comedy earned $6.8 million from its first 24 smaller markets for a total world bow of $41.3 million.
“These two guys are just so funny together,” Jeff Goldstein, domestic distribution president at Warner Bros., said of Johnson and Hart.
Elsewhere, filmmaker James Wan’s The Conjuring 2 placed No. 3 in North America with $15.6 million from 3,256 theaters for a domestic total of $71.7 million for Warner Bros. and New Line. That’s a 62 percent drop from its opening weekend, but horror films generally decline fast.
The Conjuring 2 is doing huge business overseas, earning another $41.9 million from 57 foreign markets for a foreign total of $116.2 million and worldwide tally of $187.9 million. It opened to a stellar $6.7 million in the U.K. and $2 million in Germany, where it had to compete with Thursday’s Euro 2016 soccer match.
Also in its second weekend, the caper-thriller Now You See Me 2 fell 57 percent in North America to $9.7 million from 3,232 locations for a domestic total of $41.4 million for Lionsgate. In 2013, Now You See Me fell only 35 percent in its second outing. Overseas, Jon M. Chu’s sequel took in another $15.8 million from 54 markets for a foreign total of $49.7 million and global cume of $91.1 million.
Still, that’s nothing compared to Warcraft, which tumbled 73 percent to $6.5 million from 3,406 theaters for a meek domestic 10-day domestic sum of $37.7 million. The good news: Warcraft has done massive business in China, earning $205 million to date for a global total of $377.6 million. It has, however, slowed dramatically in China as well.