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‘The Secret Life of Pets’ Shatters Expectations With Massive $103.2 Million Opening

It’s the sixth-largest opening weekend for an animated feature

Illumination Entertainment and Universal Pictures’ “The Secret Life of Pets” made an estimated $103.2 million during its three-day debut, earning the sixth-biggest opening weekend of all time for an animated feature — ahead of Disney-Pixar’s “Inside Out.”

The animated original easily dethroned Disney-Pixar’s “Finding Dory” from the top spot and far surpassed even the highest predictions.

The studio initially expected “Secret Life of Pets” to open north of its “Despicable Me” numbers from 2010 ($56.4 million), but experts were putting its debut weekend somewhere north of $80 million.

The lead character in “Secret Life of Pets” is a terrier named Max, voiced by Louis C.K., who embarks 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.

The film, which played over the weekend in 4,370 locations, has a favorable Metascore of 61 from Metacritic, which weights an average score among top critics. The animated feature also has a strong A- Cinemascore.

Fox’s R-rated comedy “Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates” also beat expectations, grossing an estimated $16.6 million from 2,982 locations. Forecasts initially had the film opening in the low double digits.

The movie starring Zac Efron, Anna Kendrick and Aubrey Plaza was made for $33 million before marketing costs.

Director Jake Szymansk’s debut feature 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.

The film has a mixed Metascore of 51 and a B Cinemascore.

The Top Five:
1. “The Secret Life Of Pets” (Universal) — $103.2 million in Week 1 ($103.2 million total)
2. “The Legend of Tarzan” (Warner Bros.) — $20.6 million in Week 2 ($81.4 million total)
3. “Finding Dory” (Disney) — $20.4 million in Week 4 ($422.6 million total)
4. “Mike And Dave Need Wedding Dates” (20th Century Fox) — $16.6 million in Week 1 ($16.6 million total)
5. “Purge: Election Year” (Universal) — $11.7 million in Week 2 ($58.1 million total)