Dora the Explorer’s quest at the box office has begun as Paramount’s “Dora and the Lost City of Gold” earned $1.25 million from Thursday preview screenings.
By comparison, the last film produced by Nickelodeon Movies, “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows,” earned $2 million from previews in June 2016. Paramount is projecting a $15-17 million opening for “Dora and the Lost City of Gold,” which was produced on a $49 million budget. But analysts who spoke with TheWrap earlier this week said that it is possible that the family film overindexes and opens in the low $20 million range.
Directed by James Bobin, “Dora and the Lost City of Gold” is a slightly more mature but still family friendly spin on the “Dora the Explorer” Nick Jr. TV series, as Dora (Isabela Moner) teams up with her cousin Diego and a strange jungle inhabitant (Jeff Wahlberg and Eugenio Derbez) to rescue her captured parents (Eva Longoria and Michael Peña). The film has a 77% score on Rotten Tomatoes.
The highest performing new release on Thursday was Lionsgate/CBS Films’ “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark,” which made $2.33 million from approximately 2,500 screens. Based on the trilogy of young adult horror anthology books by Alvin Schwartz, the film is projected for an $15-17 million opening against a $25 million budget. Critics have enjoyed the film with an 81% Rotten Tomatoes score.
Also opening on Thursday was Fox’s “The Art of Racing in the Rain,” which made $450,000 and is projected for a $6-8 million weekend. By comparison, Universal’s dog film “A Dog’s Journey” earned $250,000 in previews this past May and opened to $8 million. Directed by Simon Curtis, “The Art of Racing in the Rain” has received mixed reviews and a 50% score on Rotten Tomatoes.
The release of the dog film starring Milo Ventimiglia and Kevin Costner comes in a week where Disney reported a $170 million operating loss by 20th Century Fox in the first financial quarter since it acquired the studio. With no films grossing over $100 million domestically this year, North American grosses for Fox have fallen 65% year over year.
All three of these films, plus Warner Bros./New Line’s “The Kitchen,” are expected to fall below the second weekend of Universal’s “Hobbs & Shaw,” which opened to $60 million last weekend and is expected to drop 50-55% and earn a weekend total in the high $20 million range.