Weekend Box Office: ‘Finding Dory’ Threepeats, ‘Tarzan’ Defies Expectations, And ‘The Purge’ Tripled Its Budget

It was good news for everyone but Steve Spielberg this weekend, with Finding Dory landing at number one for the third weekend in a row with $41.9 for the three-day weekend and $380.5 million total. It’s on pace to pass Toy Story 3‘s $415 million to become Pixar’s highest-grossing feature. Meanwhile, The Legend of Tarzan defied expectations (“decimating Mojo’s weekend forecast and much higher than industry expectations”-Box Office Mojo; “way above the tracking and way above most predictions” –Forbes) to gross $38.1 million for the three-day weekend.

Thanks to the massive, $180 million budget, The Legend of Tarzan still has a ways to go to earn out, but it did receive an A- Cinemascore, so its chances are promising. Critics mostly dumped on it (35% recommended) and I assume tracking numbers bought into some of the same assumptions, but silly as it was, I thought it did an amazing job turning a patriarchal white savior into an anti-colonial freedom fighter, no small feat. Looks like their only biggest mistake was shelling out for all that extravagant CGI primate punching. I say this as one of the internet’s foremost John Carter defenders, but if Disney had only cast Alexander Skarsgard in that it’d be a billion dollar franchise right now.

Down (but not out) in third was The Purge 3: Election Year, which capitalized on a purge-crazy populace to gross $30.8 million for the three-day weekend. That’s triple the budget in three days, in case you were wondering why they keep making these movies. It received a B+ Cinemascore, which is actually the best of the franchise. The first was a C, second a B. People seem to hate these movies but can’t stop seeing them. I’m sure there’s a lesson in that, but I don’t know what it is. People love silly masks? I don’t know.

Finally, Steven Spielberg’s The BFG (which I believe stands for “Bum-Friendly Gigolo) an adaptation of Roald Dahl (fun fact: this past weekend saw the release of adaptations of both noted anti-semite Roald Dahl and avowed eugenics supporter Edgar Rice Burroughs) struggled, earning just $18.6 million for the three-day weekend, despite an A- Cinemascore. Not great when your budget is $140 million.

As for July comparisons that opened in a similar range, Disney’s The Sorcerer’s Apprentice opened with $17.6 million back in 2010 and went on to gross $63 million while Sony’s Zookeeper open with $20 million in 2011 and went on to gross just over $80 million. Spielberg’s The Terminal opened with $19 million back in 2004 and went on to gross $77.8 million and Bridge of Spies opened with $15.3 million last year and grossed $72.3 million. [BoxOfficeMojo]

With numbers like that, you wonder if this “Steven Spielberg” guy will ever get another shot. I’m an eternal optimist, so I have to think he will.

As for last week’s releases, Independence Day: Resurgence fell 60%, in comparison to The Shallows‘ 46.4%. This weekend brings us The Secret Life Of Pets and Mike And Dave Need Wedding Dates. Always nice when the plot is right there in the title.

Film Weekend Per Screen
1 Finding Dory $41,900,000 (-42.6) $9,733 $372,250,000
2 The Legend of Tarzan $38,135,000 $10,709 $38,135,000
3 The Purge: Election Year $30,870,00 $11,041 $30,870,000
4 The BFG $19,584,000 $5,834 $19,584,000
5 Independence Day: Resurgence $16,500,000 (-59.8) 
$4,033 $72,657,000
6 Central Intelligence $12,330,000 (-32.4) $3,895 $91,767,000
7 The Shallows $9,000,000  (-46.4) $3,038 $35,251,000
8 Free State of Jones $4,134,000 (-45.4) $1,487 $15,199,000
9 The Conjuring 2 $3,850,000 (-50.9) $1,917 $95,283,000
10 Now You See Me 2 $2,950,144 (-47.3) $1,650 $58,689,000

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.