Box Office: 'Finding Dory' Dominates 'Tarzan,' Spielberg's 'The BFG' Bombs
By Brent Lang
LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - "Finding Dory" dominated the Independence Day box office, overcoming a trio of new releases to provide the weekend's biggest fireworks.
The Pixar release swam to the top of the charts for the third consecutive weekend, picking up $41.9 million to bring its domestic total to $372.2 million. The follow-up to "Finding Nemo" should end the four-day holiday with another $50.5 million in receipts. It is on pace to surpass "Toy Story 3" and its $415 million haul as the highest-grossing Pixar film in history on a domestic basis.
"It's showing no signs of slowing down," said Dave Hollis, distribution chief at Disney, Pixar's parent company. "As people are weighing what to see, it stands out as the only option that's going to entertain everyone."
The July 4th weekend is traditionally one of the movie business' biggest, but this national holiday suffered from a weak crop of new releases, as costly adventures such as "The Legend of Tarzan" and "The BFG" failed to excite audiences. The influx of new releases did lift industry-wide grosses, and the weekend should be among the five biggest.
"There's a lot of product out there," said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at comScore. "That leads to a lot of fragmentation and cannibalization, and a lot of spreading the wealth."
With a smaller budget, "The Legend of Tarzan" might rank as a hit. But Warner Bros. and Village Roadshow spent lavishly to update Edgar Rice Burroughs' jungle king stories, shelling out a reported $180 million to produce the picture and millions more to market it.
Despite the high costs, the film did better than projected, earning $38.1 million for the three-day weekend to take second place. It should make $44 million for the holiday, roughly $10 million more than analysts expected it would generate, but that may not be enough to cover the massive budget. David Yates, who directed several Harry Potter installments, was behind the camera on the film, with Alexander Skarsgard donning Tarzan's loincloth and Margot Robbie serving as his Jane.
To make a profit, the film will have to resonate with foreign crowds. In its first weekend of international release, "The Legend of Tarzan" pulled in $18.8 million from 19 markets, including South Korea and Russia. Continued...