This past weekend was supposed to be the weekend for a massive intergalactic smackdown. It's unlikely anybody expected the winner of the battle to be a small animated fish. Independence Day: Resurgence wasn't so much a resurgence as it was a faltering attempt to recapture past glory. From the rubble, the sequel to a film that was nearly as old, Finding Dory, took home the box office crown for the second week in a row, and set a record for an animated film's second weekend in the process.
The return of the Independence Day franchise was a big deal, with a lot of promotion ahead of time, but that apparently wasn't enough as Independence Day: Resurgence only took home an estimated $41.6 million according to Deadline. This opened the door for Finding Dory to swim through it and take the title for the second consecutive weekend. Last weekend, Finding Dory set the record for the best-animated film opening ever. Thanks to a minimal second-weekend drop-off, only about 45%, Dory was also able to set the record for an animated film's second weekend, at $73.2 million, beating out the previous record holder for over a decade, Shrek 2.
Setting a record for a second weekend may seem like a dubious distinction, but even successful box office hits don't always have the staying power to put up consistent numbers for several weeks in a row. As a perfect example, the estimated second-weekend take for Finding Dory is actually higher than what Captain America: Civil War did in its second weekend, which is the highest grossing movie of 2016. While Dory didn't have an opening nearly as big as Civil War , it saw a significantly lower drop in its second weekend. This slow and steady result usually means a bigger box office take overall as a lower weekend drop-off in the second week usually holds through for several weeks.
This puts Finding Dory at a domestic total of $286 million for the year, which is already good enough for the number six spot for the year, ahead of X-Men: Apocalypse and less than $50 million behind Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. It will be interesting to see if Dory will be able to keep its momentum going into weekend number three. Disney will be competing with itself for the family movie audience come Friday and the release of The BFG. While this could be bad news for one of the two films, it's almost destined to be a good weekend for Disney.