After calls for a boycott and allegations of animal abuse following a leaked TMZ video, Amblin Entertainment’s “A Dog’s Purpose” made $455,000 at the Thursday night box office. The film opened in 2,255 locations and was expected to make about $18 million this weekend by an analyst who spoke to TheWrap.
Other analysts had their estimates for “A Dog’s Purpose” all over the map, with tracking ranging from $13 million to $21 million. For comparison, the summer 2015 dog movie “Max” made $500,000 in its opening preview and $12 million in its opening weekend.
Following the release of a video that showed a German Shepherd being forced into water during filming of a rescue scene (which was featured in the trailers for the film), Universal cancelled the title’s press junket and premiere. Amblin Entertainment has denied that any animals were harmed during the making of the film, and Birds and Animals Unlimited, the company that provided the animals for the film, released a statement with their account of what happened to the German Shepherd shown in the video.
The film was produced for an amount in the low-$20 million range and stars Britt Robertson, KJ Apa, John Ortiz, Juliet Rylance, Pooch Hall, Dennis Quaid and Josh Gad. It was directed by Lasse Hallstrom and produced by Gavin Polone, who also said that the video did not accurately portray what happened on the set. Video or no video, “A Dog’s Purpose” hasn’t been a hit with critics, scoring 29 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.
A movie that had far more success last night was “Resident Evil: The Final Chapter,” Sony’s sixth and final installment in the long-running film series based on Capcom’s video game franchise. According to preliminary figures, the film made $1 million at Thursday previews with trackers expecting a domestic weekend somewhere between $13.5 and $18 million from 3,100 locations. “Resident Evil” has already been a big hit in Japan, grossing $35 million with the studio expecting a worldwide gross of $70 million by Monday. Like all the previous installments, “The Final Chapter” didn’t impress critics, with a 40 percent RT score.
Paul W.S. Anderson wrote, directed and produced the latest film in the franchise, picking up immediately where “Retribution” left off. Milla Jovovich’s Alice is the only survivor in humanity’s fight against the dead. The film also stars Ali Larter, Shawn Roberts, Iain Glen, Ruby Rose, Eoin Macken and Fraser James.
“Split” is expected to hold on to the top spot at the box office this weekend, with trackers estimating a second weekend total somewhere between $20 and $25 million. “Split” shattered the expectations of trackers and critics alike, doubling tracking estimates with an opening weekend of $40 million. Critics, meanwhile, praised M. Night Shyamalan’s direction and the creepy performance of the film’s star, James McAvoy, giving the film a 75 percent “Fresh” rating on RT.
The Weinstein Company’s “Gold,” starring Matthew McConaughey is looking at an opening between $2 million and $5 million, although the studio anticipates an opening in the $4 million to $5 million range.
Inspired by a true story, McConaughey stars as Kenny Wells, a modern day prospector desperate for a lucky break, who strikes it rich after discovering a massive gold mine in Indonesia with a geologist (Edgar Ramirez). Of course, Kenny learns that once you strike upon a fortune, everyone is going to want a piece of it. The film is directed by Stephen Gaghan and currently has a 35 percent RT score.