While there have already been plenty of massive hits at the box office in the first half of this year, a number of sequels have been underperforming as of late. Both X-Men: Apocalypse and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows came in far below their predecessors over the past few weeks, although last weekend's The Conjuring 2 opened on par with the first movie. This weekend, Finding Dory breathed new life into the summer movie season by opening with $136.1 million, the third highest debut this year.
Box Office Mojo reports that Finding Dory opened in a whopping 4,305 theaters, the 12th widest release of all time. Warner Bros' Central Intelligence opened in a distant second place but still performed well, earning $34.5 million, earning a solid $9,835 per-screen average from 3,508 theaters. Finding Dory, which features a star-studded voice cast including Ellen DeGeneres, Albert Brooks, Diane Keaton, Eugene Levy, Ty Burrell, Willem Dafoe, Ed O'Neil and Idris Elba, is already a hit with critics, earning an astounding 95% Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, Central Intelligence posting a 66% rating on RT. Finding Dory's opening weekend haul breaks Shrek the Third's $121.6 million record as the biggest debut for an animated movie, while also surpassing Toy Story 3's $110.3 million mark for the biggest debut in Pixar history.
It's certainly possible that the success of The Conjuring 2 and the record-breaking debut of Finding Dory could lead to other follow-ups hitting it big at the box office. Next weekend brings the long-awaited Independence Day: Resurgence from 20th Century Fox, while the weekend after will mark the debut of The Purge: Election Year. However, both of those movies will be going up against some rather stiff competition, with Independence Day: Resurgence facing The Free State of Jones and The Neon Demon, while The Purge: Election Year faces The BFG, The Legend of Tarzan and The Shallows.
Finding Dory reunites the friendly-but-forgetful blue tang fish with her loved ones, and everyone learns a few things about the true meaning of family along the way. The all-new big-screen adventure dives into theaters this summer, taking moviegoers back to the extraordinary underwater world from the original film. The story takes place six months after the events of Finding Nemo, with Dory living what appears to be a nice, quiet life swimming amongst the other clown fish. But after setting off with Nemo on a class trip to see manta rays migrate back home, she becomes a bit homesick herself. This leads the forgetful blue tang on a quest to discover where she truly comes from, where she meets a number of new ocean creatures along the way.
Central Intelligence follows a one-time bullied geek, Bob, who grew up to be a lethal CIA agent (Dwayne Johnson), coming home for his high school reunion. Claiming to be on a top-secret case, he enlists the help of former 'big man on campus,' Calvin (Kevin Hart), now an accountant who misses his glory days. But before the staid numbers-cruncher realizes what he's getting into, it's too late to get out, as his increasingly unpredictable new friend drags him through a world of shoot-outs, double-crosses and espionage that could get them both killed in more ways than Calvin can count. The top 5 will be rounded out by The Conjuring 2 ($15.5 million), Now You See Me 2 ($9.6 million) and Warcraft ($6.5 million). Warcraft dropped a whopping 73% from its opening weekend, but the film has become a huge hit overseas, already raking in $339.9 million internationally for a worldwide total of $377.6 million.
The top 10 will be rounded out by X-Men: Apocalypse ($5.21 million), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows ($5.20 million), Me Before You ($4.1 million), Alice Through the Looking Glass ($3.6 million) and Captain America: Civil War ($2.2 million). Also opening in limited release is Magnolia's documentary Tickled, which earned $24,000 from two theaters for a $12,000 per-screen average, The Weinstein Company's horror-thriller Clown, which earned $27,000 from 100 theaters for a paltry $270 per-screen average. No box office data was released for Magnolia's action-adventure The Last King, Film Movement's documentary My Love, Don't Cross That River, First Run's documentary Argentina, Hannover House's romantic comedy A Remarkable Life. It isn't clear yet if any of these limited release titles have plans to expand in the weeks and months ahead.
Looking ahead to next weekend, 20th Century Fox's highly-anticipated sequel Independence Day: Resurgence, STX Entertainment's The Free State of Jones and Broad Green Pictures' The Neon Demon. Also opening in limited release next weekend is Independent's sci-fi action-thriller The Call Up, Sony Pictures Classics' documentary Eat That Question: Frank Zappa in His Own Words, Argot Pictures' documentary From this Day Forward, The Orchard's Hunt for the Wilderpeople, Strand's dramatic comedy The Kind Words, Cohen Media Group's drama Les Cowboys, A24's comedy Swiss Army Man and IFC's documentary Wiener Dog. Be sure to check back on Sunday for the box office estimates, and again on Tuesday for next week's predictions. Until then, take a look at our projected top 10 for the weekend of June 17.