‘Secret Life of Pets’ earns $103.2M in opening days

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‘Secret Life of Pets’ earns $103.2M in opening days

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LOS ANGELES - It’s a good time for animated animals at the box office. “The Secret Life of Pets” follows “Zootopia” and “Finding Dory” as the latest success this year, opening to a massive $103.2 million according to studio estimates on Sunday.

The Illumination Entertainment and Universal Pictures film cost only $75 million to produce, and it features the voices of comedians like Louis C.K. and Kevin Hart. “Pets” has been warmly received by critics and audiences, who gave the film a promising A- CinemaScore.

Not adjusting for inflation, “Pets” earned the title of best opening ever for an original animated property. The previous record-holder was Disney and Pixar’s “Inside Out,” which opened to $90.4 million last year.

It’s a big moment for Illumination Entertainment - the shop behind the hugely successful “Despicable Me” series and “Minions.” The company is not quite Pixar yet, but it’s working toward that sort of recognition.

“Illumination has been building a consistency of vision, and now they have become what every studio covets - a draw,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for box-office tracker comScore. “They’re building that brand reputation with every movie.”

The main draw, though, was likely in the simple premise: What do your pets do when you’re not around? “I think this movie resonates among all people,” said Nick Carpou, Universal’s president of domestic distribution. “It’s a very charming way in for everyone to have fun with the concept of imagining their pets that way.”

“Pets” effectively unseated “Finding Dory” from its three-week run in first place. The little blue fish actually fell to third place with $20.4 million, behind “The Legend of Tarzan” which took in $20.6 million in its second weekend in theaters.

Even with the drop, “Dory” this weekend surpassed “Captain America: Civil War” to become the top film of 2016 domestically, with its $423 million in grosses. It helped push The Walt Disney Studios to reach $5 billion globally in record time. Much of that was propelled by the success of its family fare including “The Jungle Book.”

“Family films have generated so much money this year,” Dergarabedian said. “That’s an audience who is always looking for content in a world filled with options for entertainment.”

The year is still up 3 percent from last summer, despite a string of underperformers lately. But there are still some would-be blockbusters on the horizon, including the new “Ghostbusters.”

AP
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