Box Office Futures Listcore: “Pets” Vs. Pixar

Weekend: July 8th-10th, 2016
Big New Releases: “The Secret Life of Pets,” “Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates,” “Sultan” (limited)
Big Holdovers: “Finding Dory,” “The Legend of Tarzan,” “The BFG,” “The Purge: Election Year”

Projected Domestic Top 5:

1. “The Secret Life of Pets” (PG, 4,369 theaters) – $75 million opening weekend, $200 million final

After finishing as a bridesmaid with “Central Intelligence” three weeks ago (which is holding up fantastically well, by the way — at its current pace, it could cruise to a $115-120 million domestic final gross), Kevin Hart looks to rocket into pole position this weekend, as one of the many celebrity voices in Universal’s “The Secret Life of Pets,” a new CG movie benefitting greatly from (a) a title that describes the movie precisely and (b) a terrific trailer, earning brownie points with the 18-34 demographic via a well-placed System of a Down song. Look for it to recoup its entire $75 million budget within its first four days — as you can see, I think it’ll cross that line in three.

2. “Finding Dory” (PG, 3,871 theaters) – $25 million (-40%) fourth weekend, $450 million final

The unreal reign of “Finding Dory” atop the box office charts will at last come to an end this weekend, as it will see itself displaced by another movie about adorable animated critters, though these are more land-based (don’t worry — the cast includes fish and fowl, too, though). After posting a terrific third weekend victory, grossing $41.8 million over its three-day weekend and $51.4 million over the full holiday weekend, the totals for Pixar’s smash sequel stand, at $396.4 million stateside and $570.2 million worldwide, with untold millions left to come. I’d be very, very surprised if “Dory” didn’t join the ranks of “Toy Story 3,” “Minions” and this year’s “Zootopia” as only the fourth-ever animated movie to cross $1 billion in worldwide coin. Though it looks to take a hit with the advent of the fresher “Pets” arriving to theaters this weekend, “Dory” should ease by 40% or so to a $25 million weekend, good for second place, and should still be well on its way to a $450 million+ final gross before all is said and done.

3. “The Legend of Tarzan” (PG-13, 3,591 theaters) – $21 million second weekend (-45%), $120 million final

Last weekend, Alexander Skarsgaard’s abs shocked the world (or, at least, me) by opening at a better-than-expected #2, with a $38.5 million three-day take. A hit with audiences, but a flop with critics, the very, very familiar story of Tarzan (Skarsgaard) and Jane (Margot Robbie) should drop by a decent 45% to a $21 million weekend, putting it cumulative gross after Sunday at $80 million. Budgeted at an insane $180 million, it’s going to be an uphill climb for this latest “Tarzan” reimagining to hit that number domestically. Warner Brothers’ would-be blockbuster is still going to fair okay, and its broad, effects-heavy scope should translate well abroad (although it’s only taken in $19.3 million internationally to date) and should fly past the $110 million mark for sure.

4. “Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates” (R, 2,982 theaters) – $14 million opening weekend, $45 million final

Trailers for this look absolutely awful, despite 3/4 of a likable quartet anchoring the cast (sorry, Zac Efron, I’m not a fan). Despite the success of the original “Neighbors,” the “High School Musical” star has not shown any ability to anchor a hit. The poor guy’s Box Office Mojo page is littered with bombs. Last year’s “We Are Your Friends” had one of the worst showings ever for a movie opening in over 2,000 theaters, finishing up with a paltry $3.6 million (not a typo); this winter’s “Dirty Grandpa,” which like “Mike and Dave” co-starred Aubrey Plaza, pulled in just $35.6 million; this summer’s “Neighbors 2” was one of the first underwhelming sequels of the summer (a welcome trend for people who actually like quality movies), it’s taken in $55.2 million to date — a steep drop from its predecessor’s $150.2 million domestic finish. “Up In The Air” and “Pitch Perfect” star Anna Kendrick may be the bigger draw, but the marketing materials emphasize the hijinks of Efron and “Workaholics” star Adam Devine over Kendrick and “Parks and Rec” vet Plaza. Sporting a modest $33 million budget, “Mike and Dave” should have no problem outpacing its production price, but I wouldn’t count on it getting much further than $55 million stateside.

5. “The BFG” (PG, 3,392 theaters) – $11 million second weekend (-40%), $80 million final

Steven Spieberg’s Roald Dahl adaptation “The BFG” looks to follow up a disappointing first weekend (it took in just $18.8 million over three days, an almost DOA summer showing for a flick with blockbuster aspirations) by holding onto a perch in the top five, as the producers of “The Purge: Election Year” brace themselves for a mighty plummet from grace, “Independence Day: Resurgence”-style, by 65% or so to a $11 million second weekend. “The BFG,” a well-reviewed kid movie, should hold up better, though it took in almost $13 million less than “The Purge” last weekend. I’m pegging it for a 40% dip (yes, even with the arrival of “The Secret Life of Pets” no doubt stealing some of its already-limited thunder), which would put it right around $11 million for this upcoming weekend. Should be a neck-and-neck race with “The Purge,” two movies based on pre-existing properties that couldn’t be more different from one another.

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