Last year, Pixar had an unusual year. Their traditional summer release, Inside Out, was a huge success, even by the normal Pixar standards. However, at Thanksgiving, The Good Dinosaur failed to make a significant impact on the box office. This weekend, Pixar will look to rebound with a sequel to one of their most successful films of all time, Finding Dory. According to pre-release tracking, the studio could rebound in a big way as Dory looks like it might have Pixar's biggest opening ever, and possibly the biggest opening ever for an animated film.
When Finding Nemo was released in 2003, it became Pixar's highest-grossing film with nearly $340 million at the box office. That record was held until the release of Toy Story 3 in 2010. That movie also set Pixar's opening weekend record, with over $110 million in receipts. However, according to The Hollywood Reporter, that total could be eclipsed by Finding Dory, which is tracking toward $120 million. This number would also put Dory in the neighborhood of Shrek the Third, which currently holds the all-time animated film opening with $121.6 million, so it wouldn't take much more than what's expected for Dory to take the crown.
While 13 years have passed since the release of Finding Nemo, the sequel is set a year after the events of the first film, when Ellen Degeneres' character Dory has flashes of memory that remind her that she has parents. This sends her, along with Marlon and Nemo, on a quest across the ocean to find them. In addition to the returning cast members, the film co-stars the voices of Ed O'Niel, Idris Elba, Diane Keaton and Sigourney Weaver.
If reviews are any indication, Finding Dory is off to a good start, as the film has a 95% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. While many, including our own Eric Eisenberg, say that the movie doesn't quite live up to its predecessor, most still call the film a success. While it may not make you laugh quite as hard, or cry quite as much, as Pixar's best work, it will certainly make you laugh, and possibly require you to check you eyeballs for leaks.
Will you be one of those people checking out Finding Dory this weekend? The film marks the first of a series of sequels that Pixar will be releasing over the next few years. Hopefully, the quality of Dory is a good sign for those of us waiting patiently for The Incredibles 2.