Mon | Jan 22, 2018

Record opening for 'Pets'

Published:Tuesday | July 12, 2016 | 12:00 AM
Tarzan and Jane return to the jungle in ‘The Legend of Tarzan’.
The characters Hank, voiced by Ed O'Neill (left), and Dory, voiced by Ellen DeGeneres, in 'Finding Dory'.
Max’s life is turned upside down when his owner takes in a stray mutt in ‘The Secret Life of Pets’.


It's a good time for animated animals at the box office. The Secret Life of Pets follows Zootopia and Finding Dory as the latest success this year, opening to a massive US$103.2 million, according to studio estimates Sunday.

The Illumination Entertainment and Universal Pictures film cost only US$75 million to produce, and it features the voices of comedians like Louis C.K. and Kevin Hart. Pets has been warmly received by critics and audiences, who gave the film a promising A- CinemaScore.

Going into the weekend, analysts predicted it would earn only around US$70 million, which would still have been a big success.

Not adjusting for inflation, Pets earned the title of best opening ever for an original animated property. The previous record holder was Disney and Pixar's Inside Out, which opened to US$90.4 million last year.

Pets effectively unseated Finding Dory from its three-week run in first place. The little blue fish actually fell to third place with US$20.4 million, behind The Legend of Tarzan which took in US$20.6 million in its second weekend in cinemas.

Even with the drop, Dory surpassed Captain America: Civil War to become the top film of 2016 domestically, with its US$423 million in grosses.

There were also a fair number of adults looking for something new to see this weekend without the kids, helping the raunchy R-rated comedy Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates surpass expectations with an estimated US$16.6 million for a fourth-place debut. The film, distributed by 20th Century Fox, cost US$33 million to make, and stars Zac Efron, Adam Devine, Aubrey Plaza and Anna Kendrick.

The Purge: Election Year rounded out the top five with US$11.7 million.

The year is still up three per cent from last summer, despite a string of underperformers lately. But there are still some would-be blockbusters on the horizon, including the new Ghostbusters, which opens next weekend.

Following are estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at US and Canadian cinemas, according to comScore.

1. The Secret Life of

Pets, US$103.2m (US$7.8m international)

2. The Legend of Tarzan, US$20.6m (US$27m


3. Finding Dory, US$20.4m (US$29.7m international)

4. Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates, US$16.6m (US$3.6m international)

5. The Purge: Election

Year, US$11.7m (US$2m


6. Central Intelligence, US$8.1m (US$9.8m


7. Independence Day: Resurgence, US$7.7m (US$21.5m international)

8. The BFG, US$7.6m (US$4.6m international)

9. The Shallows, US$4.8m (US$2.3m international)

10. Sultan, US$2.2m (US$18.2m international)