Box Office: ‘Pets’ Hits Big With $100M+ Opening

Drew Dietsch

The box office power of cute cartoon animals is proven once again. The Secret Life of Pets blazed passed industry predictions for an opening north of $100 million, making it the sixth film of 2016 to open past $100 million. The Secret Life of Pets benefited heavily by having the widest opening ever for an animated film (4,370 screens), and it’s likely it will have some legs in the coming weeks. Illumination Entertainment has to be pretty ecstatic, and I hope their continued success means they branch out with the kinds of animated films they produce.

For the adults this weekend, Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates debuted in fourth place with a respectable $16 million. This figure also exceeded most estimates and should help the film end its run with $35-$40 million. Comedies have it tough when it comes to being breakout hits, but this is a solid showing for a film that was going up against The Secret Life of Pets and Finding Dory. All in all, it was a good weekend for the newcomers.

A few tidbits from the numbers:

  • Finding Dory has now become the highest grossing domestic release of 2016, and it’s a scant $19 million away from surpassing Shrek 2 as the highest grossing animated film ever. I can already hear screenwriters furiously tapping away at a script for a third movie.
  • The Conjuring 2 will pass the $100 million mark tomorrow. That’s great news for horror fans, but it’s a shame about the actual movie.

The Numbers Game

Each week, I will guess how much wide-release films will be making on their opening weekend. My estimates come from my heart and my gut. You’d think I’d use my brain but that makes far too much sense. Fandom editor Nick Nunziata will also be providing his guesses because two stabs in the dark are better than one.

Last Week:

The Secret Life of Pets
My Guess: $72,000,000
Nick’s Guess: $110,000,000
Actual: $103,170,000
Result: I thought Finding Dory would take a bigger chunk out of Pets‘ audience but I was way wrong. Nick called this one well.

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates
My Guess: $16,000,000
Nick’s Guess: $20,000,000
Actual: $16,600,000
Result: Another week where my prediction was less than $1 million off! Slowly but surely, I’m getting the hang of this gig. But now that I’ve said that, I’m sure I’ll whiff it with this week’s guess. Such is the life of Drew.

This week:



Here it is. After all the controversies, coverage, and endless streams of deplorable YouTube comments, the Ghostbusters remake has arrived. Will it be a good remake or a bad remake (*spoken like Glinda the Good Witch*)? Odds are it will fall somewhere in between, but guessing how this is going to hit is going to take more thinking than I usually do.

First off, we should always look at what else is playing alongside the new release. If The Secret Life of Pets experiences a second-weekend drop similar to Finding Dory, that will give it around $55 million. That’s a tough number for Ghostbusters to beat but it’s not impossible. It has a huge advantage thanks to it being the only new wide release this coming weekend, but it will be showing on fewer screens that Pets which will hurt its chances.

Secondly, this is a film that has garnered immense curiosity, more than any other tentpole franchise release this summer. With early reviews leaning on the positive side, it’s likely that more people will be coming out of the woodwork than previously expected. It’s difficult to gauge how average moviegoers will respond to films, especially when you’re deeply entrenched in film culture like I am. I’m betting that there’s a significant contingent of audience members that will be seeing Ghostbusters with little to no awareness of all the hubbub that’s surrounded it.

I’m rooting for this movie insomuch as I want its financial return to showcase the viability of female-led genre pictures, but I can’t let my personal bias cloud my judgment. I’m going to lowball this one in the hopes that I’m wrong and it exceeds my expectations.

My guess: $49,000,000
Nick’s guess: $56,000,000

See you next week, box office buddies!

Source: Box Office Mojo