Box office: Ghostbusters gets off to a good but not great start, while animated films continue to set new records

Box office: Ghostbusters gets off to a good but not great start, while animated films continue to set new records July 17, 2016

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After months of controversy, an all-female reboot of a popular comedy franchise had a good but not great start at the box office this weekend, while a couple of animated films continued to set new records for the animation medium.

Ghostbusters — a reboot of the 1980s spooky-comedy series that has attracted some very loud haters and defenders alike because it stars four women instead of men — grossed an estimated $46 million between Thursday and Sunday nights.

That’s a personal best for director Paul Feig (previous champ: The Heat, 2013, $39.1 million) and co-star Melissa McCarthy (previous champ: The Hangover Part III, 2013, $41.7 million); it is also the second-best opening of any live-action film with Kristen Wiig (behind The Martian, in which she had a supporting role).

But unlike most comedies, which have relatively modest budgets, Ghostbusters has a lot of visual effects, which pushed the film’s production budget to $144 million.

So the film will have to show significant staying power in North America and/or do great business overseas if it is going to warrant a sequel (and the film ends with a post-credits tag which indicates that the studio wants to make a sequel).

Ghostbusters also has the second-biggest opening of any horror comedy (behind Scary Movie 3, 2003, $48.1 million) and the second-biggest opening of any comedy remake (behind Adam Sandler’s The Longest Yard, 2005, $47.6 million).

As good as its first weekend was, Ghostbusters didn’t claim the top spot at the box office this week. That honour went to The Secret Life of Pets, which earned $50.6 million in its second week, thereby raising its domestic cume to $203.1 million.

Between The Secret Life of Pets and Finding Dory, animated films have now been #1 at the box office for an unprecedented five consecutive weeks.

Animated films have also been #1 at the box office for eleven weeks in total this year, which matches the record that was set in 2010 — and the year’s not over yet!

Finding Dory, for its part, earned $11 million and ranked fourth for the week, thereby raising its domestic cume to $445.5 million and pushing it past 2004’s Shrek 2 to become the top-grossing animated film of all time in North America.1

Finding Dory still lags significantly behind overseas, though, where it has earned only $276.2 million so far and is currently nowhere near the animated top thirty.

The weekend’s only other wide release — though it has not played in Canada yet — was The Infiltrator, in which Bryan Cranston plays an undercover federal agent who goes up against Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar. The film has made $6.7 million since opening on Wednesday, and it landed in eighth place for the weekend.

Meanwhile, in other box-office news…

The Legend of Tarzan earned $11.1 million and ranked third in its third week, thereby raising its domestic cume to $103.1 million. The film has earned another $90.6 million overseas for a global total of $193.7 million.

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates earned $7.5 million and ranked fifth in its second week, thereby raising its domestic cume to $31.3 million. The film has earned another $4.4 million overseas for a global total of $35.7.

The Purge: Election Year earned $6.1 million and ranked sixth in its third week, thereby raising its domestic cume to $71 million. The film has earned another $78.2 million overseas for a global total of $149.2 million.

Central Intelligence earned $5.3 million and ranked seventh in its fifth week, thereby raising its domestic cume to $117.5 million. The film has earned another $63 million overseas for a global total of $180.5 million.

The BFG earned $3.7 million and ranked ninth in its third week, thereby raising its domestic cume to $47.3 million. The film has earned another $17.1 million overseas for a global total of $64.4 million.

And Independence Day: Resurgence earned $3.5 million and ranked tenth in its fourth week, thereby raising its domestic cume to $98.5 million. The film has earned another $215.5 million overseas for a global total of $314 million.

Now for a bit of extra data on the year’s top-grossing animated films:

In North America, Finding Dory now ranks first (and Zootopia still ranks ninth):

  • 2016 — Finding Dory (Pixar) — $445.5 million
  • 2004 — Shrek 2 (DreamWorks) — $441.2 million
  • 1994 — The Lion King (Disney) — $422.8 million
  • 2010 — Toy Story 3 (Pixar) — $415.0 million
  • 2013 — Frozen (Disney) — $400.7 million
  • 2003 — Finding Nemo (Pixar) — $380.8 million
  • 2013 — Despicable Me 2 (Universal) — $368.1 million
  • 2015 — Inside Out (Pixar) — $356.5 million
  • 2016 — Zootopia (Disney) — $341.1 million
  • 2015 — Minions (Universal) — $336 million

Overseas, Zootopia still ranks fifth:

  • 2013 — Frozen (Disney) — $875.7 million
  • 2015 — Minions (Universal) — $823.4 million
  • 2012 — Ice Age: Continental Drift (Fox) — $715.9 million
  • 2009 — Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs (Fox) — $690.1 million
  • 2016 — Zootopia (Disney) — $680.6 million
  • 2010 — Toy Story 3 (Pixar) — $648.2 million
  • 2013 — Despicable Me 2 (Universal) — $602.7 million
  • 1994 — The Lion King (Disney) — $564.7 million
  • 2003 — Finding Nemo (Pixar) — $555.9 million
  • 2012 — Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted (DreamWorks) — $530.5 million

And worldwide, Zootopia still ranks fourth:

  • 2013 — Frozen (Disney) — $400.7 + 875.7 = 1276.5 million
  • 2015 — Minions (Universal) — $336.0 + 823.4 = 1159.4 million
  • 2010 — Toy Story 3 (Pixar) — $415.0 + 648.2 = 1063.2 million
  • 2016 — Zootopia (Disney) — $341.1 + 680.6 = 1021.7 million
  • 1994 — The Lion King (Disney) — $422.8 + 564.7 = 987.5 million
  • 2013 — Despicable Me 2 (Universal) — $368.1 + 602.7 = 970.8 million
  • 2003 — Finding Nemo (Pixar) — $380.8 + 555.9 = 936.7 million
  • 2004 — Shrek 2 (DreamWorks) — $441.2 + 478.6 = 919.8 million
  • 2009 — Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs (Fox) — $196.6 + 690.1 = 886.7 million
  • 2012 — Ice Age: Continental Drift (Fox) — $161.3 + 715.9 = 877.2 million

Next week brings us Star Trek Beyond, Ice Age: Collision Course and Lights Out.

1. Shrek 2 was the top-grossing animated film in North America for 12 years (2004-2016) — longer than any other film in Box Office Mojo’s archives. Prior to that, the record was held by: Finding Nemo (2003-2004), The Lion King (1994-2003), Aladdin (1993-1994), Beauty and the Beast (1992-1993), Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1987-1992), The Jungle Book (1984-1987), Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1983-1984) and The Jungle Book (?-1983). Box Office Mojo’s detailed list of releases and re-releases only goes back to 1982. My list does not include Who Framed Roger Rabbit.

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