Weekend Box Office: ‘Finding Dory’ Trounces ‘Independence Day: Resurgence’

Fox was surely hoping for better than a $41.6 million weekend when they spent $160 million making Independence Day: Resurgence. The “not good” opening that was “below even the low end of” estimates (Forbes) put the sequel well behind the original’s $104 million Wednesday – Monday opening, and even behind its $50 million weekend back in 1996 (which is actually $97 million, adjusted for inflation).

The studio didn’t screen Resurgence for critics, or in the bigger markets screened it just a few hours before it officially opened, which is never a good sign. Sometimes it’s hard to tell whether that lack of studio confidence is affecting audience interest, or whether that lack of audience interest is affecting studio confidence. In any case, Resurgence ended up with a 33% recommended rating from critics (per RottenTomatoes) and a B Cinemascore. Pretty bad to be sure, but plenty of big movies have done fine with worse (Batman V Superman was B and 27%, for instance). Still, chances for it to “have legs” and keeping making money in the US seem slim. Overseas, it’s earned $143.6 million in the last five days, which helps some, but international markets aren’t saving it the way they did, say, Warcraft (which also reported a $160 million production budget), which by the time it opened here had made $156 million from China alone. Reportedly, this hasn’t dampened Roland Emmerich’s sequel plans.

On the flip side, Finding Dory, with its A Cinemascore and 94% recommended rating, repeated at number one this week, adding $73.2 million in its second weekend, declining just 46% from its record opening. Doing almost as well as Dory was Central Intelligence, which fell only 48.3% from its opening, and added another $18.4 million. Conjuring 2 saw a similar hold, dropping 48.2% and adding $7.7 million, a very small decline, especially for a horror movie.

Other new releases this weekend included Blake Lively fighting sharks in The Shallows (B+ Cinemascore, 74% RottenTomatoes), which brought in $16.7 million on a $17 million budget, much better than Matthew McConaughey’s Free State of Jones (A-, 40%), which earned just $7.8 million on a $50 million budget.

In the arthouse department, Nicolas Winding Refn’s The Neon Demon (my review) attempted a somewhat unique, bigger-than-limited-but-not-quite-wide release in 783 theaters, where it still played like a limited, earning $606,594 total, and just $775 per location. The much better reviewed Swiss Army Man (63% to 49%), the Daniel Radcliffe farting corpse movie (the role he was born to play), opened in just three locations in New York and LA, earning $114,000, or $38,000 per screen. It’s sort of in the eye of the beholder which one of those openings is better at this point, though the word of mouth seems to favor Swiss Army Man.

That’s about it for this weekend. Join us again next week, when our new movies will include The BFG, The Legend of Tarzan, and The Purge: Election Year.

Film Weekend Per Screen
1 Finding Dory $73,234,746 (-45.8) $17,012 $286,552,649
2 Independence Day: Resurgence $41,600,000 $10,226 $41,600,000
3 Central Intelligence $18,370,000 (-48.3) $5,237 $69,302,458
4 The Shallows $16,700,000 $5,638 $16,700,000
5 Free State of Jones $7,772,000 
$2,761 $7,772,000
6 The Conjuring 2 $7,705,000 (-48.2) $2,540 $86,096,434
7 Now You See Me 2 $5,650,000  (-39.7) $2,058 $52,054,214
8 X-Men: Apocalypse $2,475,000 (-53.4) $1,474 $151,126,991
9 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows $2,400,000 (-54.3) $1,233 $77,117,555
10 Alice Through the Looking Glass $2,147,144 (-50.0) $4,338 $74,574,007

[chart via ScreenCrush]

Vince Mancini is a writer, comedian, and podcaster. A graduate of Columbia’s non-fiction MFA program, his work has appeared on FilmDrunk, the UPROXX network, the Portland Mercury, the East Bay Express, and all over his mom’s refrigerator. Fan FilmDrunk on Facebook, find the latest movie reviews here.