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It rained cats and dogs this weekend as The Secret Life of Pets scored an incredibly impressive $103.1M debut, the fifth-highest non-sequel, non-remake/reboot opening ever (Spider-Man, Alice in Wonderland, Deadpool, The Hunger Games) and the highest ever for a completely original property).

The animated offering from Universal was posed to do very well, in the low $80M range – but knocked all those expectations out the doggy door (it’s like a window, right?) with a $23,609 per screen average in 4,370 theaters – also the fifth-highest theater count of all time.

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Reviews have been positive and with a slew of sadness in the news as of late, the country (the majority of whom are pet owners) came out in droves to see something a bit lighter. Pets should have an easy time next week cleaning up as well, and could even take out newcomer Ghostbusters, as the next animated feature is Ice Age: Collision Course on July 22.

Coming in second this week was last week’s surprise hit (?), The Legend of Tarzan with $20.6M. This gives the adventure flick a total of $81M, which has surpassed the entire $73M gross of 2012’s John Carter (also a Burroughs character). That film, which opened to $30M and dropped 55% to $13M in week two, was an unmitiaged disaster for Disney – but Warner Bros. looks to have a $120M hit on their hands with the Alexander Skarsgard-led actioner.

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Finding Dory continues to chug along with monster numbers in its fourth week, posting $20.3M to give it a domestic total of $422.5M. $500M is not out of the realm of possibility, though $475M is more likely. This marks Disney’s fourth $300M feature this year in as many months,  an unprecedented record.

The other major release this week was Fox’s R-rated comedy Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates, starring Zac Efron, Adam DeVine, Anna Kendrick and Aubrey Plaza. The raunchy flick scored $16.6M in its first three days, right on par with studio estimates. Don’t expect a We’re The Millers or a Let’s Be Cops out of this one – a domestic total of $32-35M is most likely here.

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Next week, at long last, the both hotly anticipated and baselessly bemoaned Ghostbusters hits theaters. We’ll find out truly where the pulse of the nation lays, as audiences speak with their wallets most loudly, not a YouTube comments section. While this writer is hoping for a debut in the $65M range, some forecasts have it as low as $45M. With the trifecta of Bridesmaids, The Heat and Spy under his belt, director Paul Feig hasn’t missed (I’m choosing not to think about Unaccompanied Minors, thank you very much). His direction and the pedigree of talent in front of the camera is hard to bet against, but we’ll know for sure next weekend.

 

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