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Box office hits and misses: ‘Ghostbusters’ settles for second behind ‘Pets’

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It’s the fifth weekend in a row that an animated feature took the top spot at the box office, with The Secret Life of Pets edging out director Paul Feig’s polarizing remake of Ghostbusters for the win.

Life of Pets continued its good run in theaters, but the results weren’t nearly as certain for Ghostbusters, which had a $46 million debut that studio Sony Pictures seems proud of. Positive reviews from both critics and audiences also played a part, but the take is still well below the level where a $144 million film (particularly one based on a popular franchise) should be at this point. While the critical consensus was positive for Feig’s remake of the 1984 supernatural comedy, audiences were starkly divided along gender lines, with female audiences almost universally pleased with the film and male audiences decidedly less enthusiastic about the female-led reboot.

Only time will tell whether Ghostbusters can generate the sort of word-of-mouth buzz that will turn a decent opening weekend into a successful run, but there’s no denying the runaway success of Finding Dory, which added another $11 million  over the weekend to become the highest-grossing animated feature of all time, domestically. The film’s $445.5 million topped the $441.2 million earned by former record-holder Shrek 2, and now the sequel to Finding Nemo is the 11th highest-grossing film of any genre in U.S. theaters, and is likely to pass The Dark Knight Rises next week to slide into 10th overall domestically.

# Title Weekend U.S. Total Worldwide Total
1. The Secret Life of Pets $50.5M $203.1M $253.9M
2. Ghostbusters $46M $46M $65.1M
3. The Legend of Tarzan $11.1M $103M $193.6M
4. Finding Dory $11M $445.5M $721.7M
5. Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates $7.5M $31.3M $38.3M
6. The Purge: Election Year $6M $71M $149.2M
7. Central Intelligence $5.3M $117.5M $180.5M
8. The Infiltrator $5.2M $6.7M $6.7M
9. The BFG $3.7M $47.3M $64.4M
10. Independence Day: Resurgence $3.4M $98.5M $337.7M

As for the rest of the weekend’s highest-grossing films, the only other newcomer was Bryan Cranston’s crime drama The Infiltrator, which opened to $5.2 million across 1,600 theaters.

This upcoming week features the debut of Star Trek Beyond, which is likely to take over the top spot at the box office, though it could face a challenge from yet another new animated feature, Ice Age: Collision Course. There’s also the horror film Lights Out — based on the terrifying, award-winning short film of the same name — which could pull in scary-movie audiences similar to what The Purge: Election Year and The Conjuring 2 accomplished this year.

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Rick Marshall
A veteran journalist with more than two decades of experience covering local and national news, arts and entertainment, and…
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