Summer movie season 2016 has been an odd one and, by most accounts, a fairly beige one at the box office. Aside from standard bearer Marvel and their gargantuan Captain America: Civil War, it’s been fairly bleak, especially on terms of tentpoles (Warcraft, Independence Day: Resurgence, Alice Through the Looking Glass and X-Men: Apocalypse all under-performed for instance). A reprieve and an much needed shot in the arm has come thanks to two animated features that have over-performed and then some – Finding Dory, which has been setting the box office ablaze for weeks now, and newcomer The Secret Life of Pets, the latest animated offering from Illumination Entertainment (home to those pesky Minions).
While Dory, which has held the top spot on the box office for the last three weeks, had to settle for third place (being barely edged out for second by The Legend of Tarzan), Disney and Pixar can now boast that the film is the, for now at least, the highest grossing title of 2016 at the North American box office. With its $422 million cume to date, Finding Dory is also the third highest grossing animated feature of all time (un-adjusted) and will more than likely be first in a few short weeks – currently Shrek 2 holds the number one title at $441 million domestically. This past weekend, Finding Dory edged out Toy Story 3 as Pixar’s highest grosser and looks to only add to its mighty toll with quite a bit of primetime summer placement ahead.
Number one this week was The Secret Life of Pets, which breezed past industry expectations to a massive opening of $103 million. While Finding Dory had a better opener a few weeks back, Pets can boast the highest grossing animated opener for an original title – the previous champ for this title was Pixar’s Oscar winning Inside Out last summer. Pets‘ opening was just shy of the opening of Minions at the same point last summer (that film opened to $115 million) but proved the marketplace was big enough to support to animated juggernauts.