Disney and Pixar have again created what looks like box office gold. Finding Dory, the much belated sequel to 2003’s Finding Nemo is on its way to an impressive record: The film is expected to garner over $130 million at the domestic box office this weekend, which would make it the biggest debut to date of an animated flick, according to Deadline.
There are good indicators that Finding Dory will crush earlier records. Estimates put its first-day earnings at between $50 million to $52 million, which would top the $46 million brought in by current opening-day record-holder Minions (set July 10, 2015). The Nemo sequel’s Thursday previews were also unprecedented; Finding Dory grossed $9.2 million, yanking away yet another honor from Minions, which grossed $6.2 million, according to THR.
Assuming Finding Dory performs as projected, the film’s ticket sales would be enough to dethrone current animated top dog, DreamWorks Animation’s Shrek the Third, which opened to $121.63 million in 2007. Dory would also boast the best opening ever for any Disney-Pixar flick; Toy Story 3, which was released in 2010, is the reigning champ with its $110.3 million debut.
Finding Nemo, of course, deserves immense credit for building the foundation for Dory‘s popularity now. The film was received with enthusiasm in 2003, opening to $70.25 million and ultimately grossing $380.84 domestically, according to Box Office Mojo data. Its critical response was also notable. Not only did Nemo win the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, it was nominated in three other Oscar categories as well.
Finding Dory brings back the characters made popular by its predecessor: Dory, a forgetful Pacific royal blue tang (voiced by Ellen DeGeneres); Marlin, a clownfish and concerned father (Albert Brooks); and Nemo, Marlin’s son (now voiced by Hayden Rolence, who replaces Alexander Gould). The trio’s adventure this time around is finding Dory’s family. The voice cast also includes Diane Keaton, Ed O’Neill, Eugene Levy, Kaitlin Olsen, and Ty Burrell.