Twenty years ago Roland Emmerich rolled out the wildest, most special-effects laden interpretation of War of The Worlds ever, and it opened succesfully to the tune of $50 million, the second highest ever opening at that time. This weekend he offered up a sequel, and it couldn't even manage to debut at number one.
Independence Day: Resurgence launched this weekend in danger of being a massive box office bomb. With just $41 million it fell painfully short of expectations. The sequel not only failed to top Finding Dory in its second weekend, it couldn't manage to best its predecessor despite enjoying ticket prices that are in some cases twice what they were in 1996. There are plenty of explanations why Resurgence tanked, from critical panning to the absence of Will Smith, but with this level of failure it's hard to rule any reasons out.
Following up on its record breaking opening weekend, Finding Dory held the number one spot with $72 million, pushing its domestic total to $286 million. That puts it on track to crack the top ten domestic animated movie earners list, but it has a long way to go to catch Toy Story 3, the highest grossing Pixar film ($415 million, 2010) or Shrek 2, the highest ever grossing animated movie ($441 million, 2004).
Blake Lively's new shark-infested horror flick The Shallows opened in fourth place with $16 million, a solid start against its $17 million production budget. That's more than can be said for Matthew McConaughey's Free State of Jones which tanked at fifth place, banking just $7 million against a reported $50 million production cost. That's a rough hit for director Gary Ross whose last film, the first Hunger Games movie, is one of the top twenty domestic grossing films of all time.
Warcraft continued to do well in international markets while slipping completely out of the domestic top ten on only its third weekend in release. While it has earned the label of being the most successful video game movie adaptation ever, it also has the distinction of being one of the most expensive and not wildly profitable (in comparison with other major franchises in theaters at the moment). At least one more sequel is possible, but with the tendency of many film franchises to decrease in profitability over time, Universal is probably looking hard at whether or not the Blizzard game is worth the long haul investment.
For the full weekend top ten, check out the chart below: