NEW YORK • Consider Dory found.
Putting to rest worries of sequel fatigue and a soft overall start to the summer box office, at least for now, the strongly reviewed Finding Dory (Disney) arrived to US$136.2 million (S$183.1 million) in estimated weekend ticket sales in North America, setting a record for a Pixar film, even when adjusting for inflation.
Overseas, the sequel to Finding Nemo (2003) took in an additional US$50 million.
The results are a return to form for Pixar, which suffered disappointing sales last year for The Good Dinosaur. Finding Dory, which cost at least US$300 million to make and market worldwide, played in 4,305 theatres in the United States and Canada, one of the widest releases for an animated film. About 3,200 locations played the film in 3D, which raised the ticket price by US$3 to US$5.
Audience interest was always expected to be huge: Dory, a memory-impaired blue tang fish, has emerged in recent years as one of Disney's most popular characters. She has more than 25 million followers on Facebook, leaving Mickey, Minnie and most other Disney characters in the dust. Tinker Bell and Captain Jack Sparrow come close.
Still, after adjusting for ticket price increases over the years, Finding Dory fell a dorsal fin short of breaking the opening record for an animated film. The record-holder remains Shrek The Third, which took in an adjusted US$140.9 million in 2007.
Second place for the weekend went to Central Intelligence (New Line and Universal), an action comedy starring Kevin Hart and Dwayne Johnson that cost roughly US$50 million to make. It collected an estimated US$34.5 million in its first weekend in domestic release, a better-than-expected result.
NEW YORK TIMES