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‘Finding Dory’ Keeps Swimming to No. 1, ‘The BFG’ Falls Hard

”The Legend of Tarzan“ exceeds expectations, ”The Purge“ turns profit

Disney-Pixar’s animated hit “Finding Dory” continued its swim to box office glory, winning the four-day Fourth of July weekend with an estimated $50.2 million from 4,305 screens.

In its third weekend in theaters, the record-breaking sequel to 2003’s “Finding Nemo” beat all new wide releases during an otherwise low-grossing holiday period at the movies.

Warner Bros.-Village Roadshow’s “The Legend of Tarzan” came in second place with an estimated $45.6 million from 3,561 screens — not great given the film’s expansive $180 million production budget, but well ahead of initial estimates.

Third place went to “The Purge: Election Year” with $34.8 million from 2,787 locations. That’s pretty great for a horror sequel that was produced for $10 million.

And Disney’s “The BFG” brought in only $22.3 million from 3,357 screens — an abysmal showing for a Steven Spielberg family film that was produced for $140 million, not counting marketing costs.

Fifth place went to last weekend’s Fox holdover “Independence Day: Resurgence,” another big-budget disappointment that earned $20.3 million for the four-day weekend for a domestic cume of $76.5 million.

Disney-Pixar’s “Finding Dory” met weekend estimates of $50 million. The long awaited sequel took in $73 million last weekend after hooking $135 million in its first frame, a record for an animated movie.

Given that the production budget for “The BFG” was estimated at $140 million, the Roald Dahl adaptation’s opening was an epic flop — particularly when you factor in the pedigree of the talent involved.

The film, starring Oscar winner Mark Rylance as the “big friendly giant,” has been well received by critics with a score of 71 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. It also has an A- Cinemascore — which measures fan anticipation levels among those surveyed.

“The Legend of Tarzan,” starring Alexander Skarsgard and Margot Robbie, performed much better than anticipated but did not finish out the weekend strong enough to justify its hefty production budget.

Hollywood’s latest in a long line of adaptations of author Edgar Rice Burroughs’ literary jungle character did easily pass $30 million to come in well ahead of most initial estimates. $4.8 million of its $45.6 million in grosses came from IMAX screens.

Telling the tale of the titular character’s return to the jungle, the movie is directed by David Yates and also stars Christoph Waltz and Samuel L. Jackson. It has received unimpressive reviews, with a current Rotten Tomatoes score of 35 percent. Though the film has a strong A- Cinemascore.

Given its modest production budget, “The Purge” is a bright spot in a mostly dim weekend at the box office. The R-rated Blumhouse horror sequel, distributed by Universal, far outperformed four-day weekend predictions of $25 million.

Universal credits the timing of the election-themed movie — during an election year and on a holiday weekend that speaks to American patriotism and politics — as major elements to its successful opening.  “It’s a great blend of circumstances and not coincidental,” Universal’s president of domestic distribution Nick Carpou told TheWrap on Sunday.

The horror sequel stars Elizabeth Mitchell (“Lost”) as a presidential candidate who is running on the platform of a Purge-less society, attempting to eliminate the one day when killing is deemed legal. Frank Grillo (Crossbones in the “Captain America” series) returns as police sergeant Barnes.

It continues the series’ tradition of high revenue margins. Building off the success of the first two “Purge” films, the franchise has so far earned $200 million worldwide. The movie currently holds a score of 54 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and a B+ Cinemascore.

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