It's impossible to talk about A Dog's Purpose without bringing up the huge controversy surrounding the film. After TMZ released a video showing a dog actor struggling during production, online outrage erupted and PETA called for a boycott of the film. Producers have claimed that the video does not tell the whole picture of what happened on set, but they prepared for some opening day backlash. The film did not open at number one this weekend, but despite the drama, it didn't do as badly as one might think.
According to numbers gathered over at Variety, A Dog's Purpose will likely take the number two spot for the weekend after fetching $5.3 million on Friday. The film is estimated to make around $19 million dollars for its opening weekend. Before the controversy, it was estimated that A Dog's Purpose would bring in closer to $25 million, which was decreased to $18 million after the set video was leaked. So, technically, the film performed better than expected, but it was nevertheless impacted from its recent controversy.
A Dog's Purpose first came under fire when a set video was leaked showing Hercules the German Shepard struggling to complete his scene. Hercules was noticeably stressed about jumping into artificial waters, and the video makes it look like he was thrown into the water where he was quickly submerged. Producers, stars, and the director of the film have all stated that the video is intentionally misleading and that the dog was never harmed or in serious danger. Still, the press junket and Hollywood premiere of the movie was canceled in light of the controversy.
The controversy most likely kept A Dog's Purpose from taking the number one spot, which instead went to the thriller Split for the second week in a row. The M. Night Shyamalan-directed movie earned nearly $8 million on Friday and is on it's way to a weekend total of $25 to $26 million. This totals up to about $77 million after two weeks of release; not bad for a film with a budget of less than $10 million. That Unbreakable sequel is looking more and more likely every day.
The only other new film to open this weekend was Resident Evil: The Final Chapter. Directed by Paul W.S. Anderson and starring Milla Jovovich, the film pulled in $5 million on Friday. The final installment of the Resident Evil series is looking at a weekend of $14 million, which is equal to what was projected. The zombie action movie is doing better overseas. Since opening in Japan on December 23, The Final Chapter has earned over $35 million. Combined with its domestic score, we're looking at a total of over $75 million for the weekend.
A Dog's Purpose is in theaters right now, but if you are boycotting the film, you've always got Split or Resident Evil: The Final Chapter as options. Or La La Land. Just go see La La Land.