Finding Dory and The Shallows a hit at box office

NEW YORK • A something-for- everyone weekend at movie theatres delivered mixed results. Pixar's Finding Dory turned out families in droves, and The Shallows, a well- reviewed thriller, was a hit with horror fans and young women.

But the big-budget Independence Day: Resurgence, aimed at the presumed indiscriminating audience, sputtered badly, and the drama Free State Of Jones, hoping to appeal to older adults, was a dud.

The No. 1 movie in North America was again Disney's Finding Dory, which took in about US$73.2 million (S$99.1 million) for a two-week domestic total of US$286.6 million, according to comScore, which compiles box-office data.

Fox's Independence Day: Resurgence, which cost at least US$300 million to make, was a distant second, arriving to estimated ticket sales of US$41.6 million. It brought in US$102 million overseas, including in China, where results were soft compared with other releases, despite efforts by Fox to cater to that market by casting Chinese model-singer Angelababy as a fighter pilot.

Fox tried to slow negative word of mouth by refusing to screen the film for mainstream critics, but audiences still smelled a stinker - perhaps aided by Will Smith, who starred in the first Independence Day (1996), but sat out the sequel.

"Smoke and mirrors in marketing are over," Smith said at a conference last week. With social media, he added, "people are going to know, and they're going to know globally".

The Shallows, starring Blake Lively and costing about US$17 million to make, took in US$16.7 million, more than double what most analysts had expected before its release.

Less successful was Free State Of Jones, which received mostly weak reviews. Costing US$50 million to make, the Civil War drama earned US$7.8 million, or roughly 30 per cent less than some analysts had predicted.

NEW YORK TIMES

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 28, 2016, with the headline 'Finding Dory and The Shallows a hit at box office'. Print Edition | Subscribe