Weekend Box Office: ‘Ghostbusters’ Couldn’t Take Down ‘Secret Life Of Pets’

Paul Feig’s Ghostbusters was basically the only new film in wide release this weekend (The Infiltrator was technically a wide release, but playing at less than half as many locations), and it still couldn’t knock The Secret Life of Pets off the top spot. Ghostbusters‘ $46 million domestic was a career high opening for both Feig and Melissa McCarthy, but not enough to match Pets‘ $50 million in its second weekend.

But $46 million, still pretty good, right? With some caveats, yes. Going into the weekend, estimates were anywhere from $38 million to $50 million, and Ghostbusters didn’t break out in either direction. For a comedy, it did pretty well:

It’s the biggest live-action comedy debut since Pitch Perfect 2 back in May of 2015. It’s the third-biggest live-action opening of the summer behind X-Men: Apocalypse and Captain America: Civil War. And just this year, it’s the second biggest live-action/non-superhero opening thus far behind only Walt Disney’s The Jungle Book. [Forbes]

That said, it cost Sony $144 million to make, so whether it earns out depends on foreign markets and how well it continues to play.

…realistically, we’re probably looking at a domestic run around $135-145 million. Ghostbusters carries a $144 million budget (net after tax incentives and rebates) and received an “A-” CinemaScore for the under 25 crowd, and an overall “B+”, on par with Bridesmaids and Spy and just behind The Heat‘s “A-“. [BoxOfficeMojo]

So, time will tell and all of that. Hindsight is 20/20 and everything, but I thought the strongest parts of the movie were the comedy that didn’t cost much, and far and away the weakest parts were the throwaway special FX extravaganza near the end that must’ve cost a fortune. It’s a weird bargain moviegoers have to make, where to see a Kristen Wiig/Melissa McCarthy/Kate McKinnon/Leslie Smith comedy (yay!) we have to buy a ticket to a mega tired reboot/overdue sequel dealamajig (with the giant portal that needs to be closed at the end). Overall, it played 54% female, received a B+ Cinemascore, and was 73% recommended among RottenTomatoes critics.

Meanwhile, speaking of expensive movies, The Legend of Tarzan is still holding up better than expected after its opening, landing in third place with another $11 million, bringing its domestic total to $103 million. It still has a ways to go to make back that $180 million budget, but it’s playing longer than most people predicted.

Moving down the list, Finding Dory is now the highest-grossing animated release of all time (domestically) as it added $11 million this weekend bringing its domestic total to $445.5 million. Woody Allen’s Cafe Society had the biggest per-screen average of 2016, $71,000, after earning $355K from five locations in New York and LA. Combining the charisma of Kristen Stewart and Jesse Eisenberg was just that much of an unstoppable combo.

This weekend brings us Star Trek Beyond, the horror movie Lights Out, the latest Ice Age, and Absolutely Fabulous in a few theaters, thanks to Fox Searchlight.

Film Weekend Per Screen
1 The Secret Life of Pets $50,560,000 (-51.5) $11,541 $203,147,000
2 Ghostbusters $46,000,000 $11,607 $46,000,000
3 The Legend of Tarzan $11,120,000 (-47.1) $3,132 $103,050,000
4 Finding Dory $11,040,000 (-47.0) $3,122 $445,504,000
5 Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates $7,500,000 (-54.9) 
$2,493 $31,323,000
6 The Purge: Election Year $6,080,000 (-50.9) $2,276 $71,001,000
7 Central Intelligence $5,300,000  (-34.0) $2,226 $117,508,000
8 The Infiltrator $5,287,000 $3,304 $6,749,000
9 The BFG $3,747,000 (-52.0) $1,717 $47,336,000
10 Independence Day: Resurgence $3,450,000 (-55.7) $1,507 $98,516,000


[Chart via ScreenCrush]