“The Secret Life of Pets” got off to a great start at the Thursday box office, taking in $5.3 million across 3,009 theaters.
Universal expects the animated feature to open north of its “Despicable Me” numbers from 2010 ($56.4 million), which would likely easily propel it past “Finding Dory” as the Disney film enjoys its fourth weekend in theaters.
Industry analysts have offered dramatically higher estimates for the Illumination-Universal animated feature, predicting a domestic debut somewhere between $75 and $80 million. It will expand into 4,329 theaters on Friday.
The lead character in “Secret Life of Pets” is a terrier named Max, voiced by Louis C.K., who em-barks on an odyssey through New York City with his newly-adopted roommate Duke — a massive furry brown dog voiced by Eric Stonestreet. The rest of the film is dedicated to their attempt to get back home.
Fox’s R-rated comedy “Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates” started off modestly with $1.6 million in 2,560 locations. Forecasts have the film grossing in the low double digits for the weekend, likely more than $11 million.
Director Jake Szymansk’s debut stars Kendrick and Plaza as a couple of hapless friends who agree to be the wedding dates for two guys played by Efron and Adam Devine. Their main motivation is the free trip to Hawaii that comes with the job.