Early Weekend Estimates: ‘Dory’ Three-peats ($44.5M 3-Day/$54M 4-Day); ‘Purge: Election Year’ ($32M/$37M) & ‘Tarzan’ ($38.5M/$45.4M) Surprise; ‘BFG’ Modest ($22.7M/$28.6M)

Saturday Update: Universal reports The Purge: Election Year bowed to an excellent $14.47 million on opening day Friday, including Thursday night’s $3.64 million start. The overall opening day came in 11 percent stronger than The Purge: Anarchy‘s $13.0 million in July 2014, while just 14 percent shy of the original film’s $16.78 million first day in June 2013. In terms of early word of mouth, the pic scored a 67 percent on Flixster as of this morning, comparable to its predecessor’s 70 percent. On a modest production budget of just $10 million, this marks another resounding success in the thriller franchise as this film in particular capitalizes on the synergy created by a highly divisive real-world political atmosphere. Boxoffice is projecting $32 million over the three-day weekend and $37 million over the four-day frame.

Launching in second place yesterday was The Legend of Tarzan with $14.04 million. Warner Bros.’ live action reboot of the classic property came in significantly ahead of our pre-release expectations with that figure (topping Hercules‘ $11.06 million first day in 2014), while also bucking the poor reviews (33 percent from Rotten Tomatoes critics). With a lack of any well-received big action film in the market recently, audiences are clearly interested in the ensemble cast enough to check the film out over the long holiday weekend. We don’t expect extraordinary staying power with a competitive July ahead, but for now the film is pacing toward a healthy $38.5 million three-day haul and $45.4 million over the four-day.

Finding Dory scooted down to third place (albeit, temporarily) with another $13.44 million yesterday, off just 42 percent from last Friday. That brings the blockbuster animated sequel’s domestic tally up to an incredible $343.8 million through 15 days of play — putting it 28 percent ahead of the pace of Toy Story 3 and 27 percent ahead of Shrek 2 (which stand as the top two animated earners in domestic history, led by the latter). Dory will also blow past the final $356.6 million total of last year’s Inside Out sometime on Saturday. For the weekend, look for a third straight first place finish with $44.5 million over the three-day and $54 million over the four-day.

The BFG scored $7.03 million in fourth place on opening day Friday. While that comes in slightly ahead of our initial expectations, the Steven Spielberg film is unfortunately going to end up on the short end of this weekend’s three new releases. The opening day was 27.5 percent below Alice Through the Looking Glass ($9.7 million) and 9 percent behind Jack the Giant Slayer. Aside from questionable popularity among today’s audiences regarding the original Roald Dahl novel, the demand for another family film in the market just isn’t there as fellow Disney release Finding Dory continues to rake in the cash. The upside is that generally positive reviews (72 percent) could help it find some staying power among families throughout July. Boxoffice projects $22.7 million three-day and $28.6 million four-day frames.

Independence Day: Resurgence rounded out the top five yesterday with $4.65 million, down over 72 percent from opening day last Friday. The franchise sequel isn’t catching fire, and although it could receive a brief boost on Sunday and Monday due to the holiday tie-in, it’s looking likely to fall short of $100 million domestically by the end of its run. Look for a three-day weekend around $15 million and a four-day take of $18.4 million.

Other key three-day/four-day estimates include:

Central Intelligence ($12.7 million / $15.0 million)
The Shallows ($9.6 million / $11.6 million)
Free State of Jones ($3.9 million / $4.7 million)
The Conjuring 2 ($3.8 million / $4.6 million)
Now You See Me 2 ($3.0 million / $3.6 million)

Our complete three-day estimates chart is below.

3-Day Estimates WIDE (1000+ locations)

1 Finding Dory $44,500,000 -39% 4,305 0 $10,337 $374,849,602 3 Disney
2 The Legend of Tarzan $38,500,000 3,561 $10,812 $38,500,000 1 Warner Bros.
3 The Purge: Election Year $32,000,000 2,796 $11,445 $32,000,000 1 Universal
4 The BFG $22,700,000 3,357 $6,762 $22,700,000 1 Disney / DreamWorks
5 Independence Day: Resurgence $15,000,000 -63% 4,091 23 $3,667 $71,157,073 2 Fox
6 Central Intelligence $12,700,000 -30% 3,166 -342 $4,011 $92,137,074 3 Warner Bros. / New Line
7 The Shallows $9,600,000 -43% 2,962 0 $3,241 $35,851,647 2 Sony / Columbia
8 Free State of Jones $3,900,000 -48% 2,781 -34 $1,402 $14,965,711 2 STX Entertainment
9 The Conjuring 2 $3,800,000 -51% 2,008 -1025 $1,892 $95,233,538 4 Warner Bros. / New Line
10 Now You See Me 2 $3,000,000 -46% 1,788 -957 $1,678 $58,739,445 4 Lionsgate / Summit

3-Day Estimates LIMITED (100 — 999 locations)

1 X-Men: Apocalypse $910,000 -63% 630 -1049 $1,444 $153,507,455 6 Fox
2 Me Before You $860,000 -56% 523 -1015 $1,644 $53,746,795 5 Warner Bros. / New Line
3 Captain America: Civil War $725,000 -47% 367 -386 $1,975 $405,373,388 9 Disney
4 The Jungle Book (2016) $715,000 -43% 294 -184 $2,432 $359,549,598 12 Disney
5 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows $710,000 -71% 719 -1228 $987 $79,457,502 5 Paramount
6 Warcraft $475,000 -79% 411 -1541 $1,156 $45,763,925 4 Universal
7 Alice Through the Looking Glass $415,000 -78% 192 -303 $2,161 $75,695,329 6 Disney
8 Zootopia $200,000 -26% 191 -42 $1,047 $340,751,819 18 Disney


Friday Update: Sources report that The Purge: Election Year scored an estimated $3.64 million from Thursday night’s opening shows, topping the $2.6 million earned by The Purge: Anarchy in July 2014 as well as the $3.4 million of the original film in 2013. As expected, the synergy of debuting the third film over Independence Day weekend in the middle of a highly divisive real-world election year is generating strong results. The film may even land ahead of the weekend’s other openers should it hold up well enough over the weekend.

The Legend of Tarzan pulled an estimated $2.55 million last night, a stronger-than-expected bow. By comparison, that tops the $2.1 million of the Dwayne Johnson-led Hercules in July 2014 and the $2.0 million of 2013’s The Lone Ranger. The film looks to be Election Year’s biggest source of competition for a second place finish this weekend, although Independence Day: Resurgence could remain a bit of a wild card in that conversation as well.

Meanwhile, Steven Spielberg’s The BFG took in an estimated $775,000 last night. Family movies are notorious for underperforming in Thursday shows (particularly when they aren’t sequels), so it’s difficult to tell how strong its weekend ahead will be given the holiday frame and competition from Finding Dory. Still, for initial benchmarks, last night’s take was noticeably higher than Jack the Giant Slayer‘s $400,000 and close to half of Alice Through the Looking Glass ($1.5 million).

In the mean time, Finding Dory is expected to easily win the three-day and four-day frames as its animated record-breaking run continues. We’ll have early weekend and official Friday estimates from the studios on Saturday morning.