While it may not be surprising that some critics find Disney/Pixar’s Finding Dory to be good, but not as good as it’s successor, Finding Nemo, it is surprising that the blue fish film has already made history by becoming the largest animation movie opening weekend of all time. Estimated to bring in $132.2 million on Father’s Day weekend, Finding Dory’s success is ahead of the $100 million the studio had expected.
Beating the record held by DreamWork’s 2007 film, Shrek the Third ($121.6 million), and Pixar’s own 2010 release of Toy Story 3 ($110 million), Finding Dory also has the distinction of being the second-largest opening of all films trailing behind 2015’s Jurassic World.
According to The Wrap, Dory brought in $9.2 million during its Thursday night showing (which beat the 2015 Universal hit Minions and its $6.2 million record number) and $55 million on Friday (which beat Shrek the Third’s $47 million). Some may consider that Dory had a head start, considering that the film was Fandango’s top pre-selling animated movie of all time, a title previously held by Minions.
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“The film simply obliterated expectations, and in true Pixar fashion, delivered a perfect family movie-going experience that proved irresistible to all audiences,” Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at comScore (SCOR) told CNN. “Finding Nemo was beloved by audiences in theaters and for over a decade on home video, culminating in ‘Dory’s’ performance that was 13 years in the making.”
Disney has had a banner year, with its films creating a bright spot in already lagging summer movie sales. The animated Zootopia was a surprise hit by raking in more than $1 billion in box office sales. “Not only that, Zootopia was also very well-received critically along with being loved by audiences. It featured stellar animation, a wonderful voice cast and an original concept that has potential for sequels,” says Henry Faherty of MXDWN. Now available on Blu-ray and DVD, Zootopia is still making money for Disney.
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Disney has also seen huge successes with its live action version of The Jungle Book and Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War, before dipping down with the release of the much-panned Alice Through the Looking Glass (the film brought in just $34.2 million during its Memorial Day weekend release). And Disney has high hopes for its other big summer releases that include Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of Roald Dahl’s The BFG (coming out July 1) and the re-imaging of Pete’s Dragon (August 12) which stars Robert Redford and Byrce Dallas Howard.
Finding Dory is currently reading at 95 percent positive on Rotton Tomatoes’ “Tomatometer” and 90 percent with the audience score. Some critics give the film high praise, like Kate Taylor from Globe and Mail, who says that Dory is “[a] sequel that betters the boffo 2003 animated feature Finding Nemo and provides more evidence, after last year’s highly original Inside Out, that Pixar has finally emerged from the uninspiring years of the Cars franchise.”
Others, like Will Leitch from The New Republic, give the film high marks, but think it could have been made better. “It’s a sequel that’s a continuation of the original film rather than an expansion of it, and it is still a success, though not a triumph.”
However, not every critic is a fan of the Ellen DeGeneres-voiced fish story. Sean Burns of Spliced Personality claims, “Perhaps it’s because I’m a soulless husk of a man and dead inside, but the Pixar formula just isn’t cutting it for me anymore.”
[Photo courtesy of Disney/Pixar]