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Box Office Nightmare: ‘Independence Day 2’ Bombs, ‘BFG’ and ‘Tarzan’ Tracking Poorly for July 4 Weekend

Disney/Pixar’s Finding Dory topped the box office during its second weekend of release and Fox’s Independence Day sequel looked like anything but a “resurgence” as Hollywood’s summer offerings continued to disappoint this weekend.

Dory led all newcomers this weekend with an estimated $75 million haul to bring its 10-day total to around $289 million, according to Variety. The sequel to 2003’s Finding Nemo dipped just 44% from its record-breaking first weekend, making it one of the few bright spots at the summer box office this year.

Fox’s Independence Day: Resurgence took in $16.8 million on Friday and is estimated to earn around $43.4 million for the three-day frame, below even the studio’s modest hopes for a $50 million weekend. Roland Emmerich’s sequel to his 1996 alien invasion movie will need a strong performance at the international box office if it is going to recoup its reported $165-$200 million price tag.

ID:2‘s poor performance means Hollywood has not yet found the cure for its “sequel-itis” problem, despite Dory‘s strong performance. The original Independence Day earned $96 million in its opening frame on its way to becoming the top-grossing movie of 1996; but while the original film felt fresh and featured an up-and-coming Will Smith, the Smith-less sequel currently sits at a dismal 33% rating on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes and earned a tepid B CinemaScore, suggesting word-of-mouth won’t do the film any favors in its second weekend.

The failure of ID:2 is the latest in a string of Hollywood misfires this summer as moviegoers stay away from an onslaught of unwanted sequels. Aside from the summer-opening Captain America: Civil War, X-Men: Apocalypse and Dory, no other film has opened to more than $100 million at the box office (and X-Men still underperformed when compared with its predecessors).

Instead, films like Kung Fu Panda 3, Alice Through the Looking Glass, Warcraft, Neighbors 2 and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows all landed with a thud at the box office, and in some cases, outright bombed (though Warcraft did fantastic business in China). Even modestly-budgeted non-tentpoles like the Russell Crowe-Ryan Gosling starrer The Nice Guys and this weekend’s Matthew McConnaughey-led Free State of Jones failed to connect with audiences.

Unfortunately for Hollywood, it does not appear that the July 4 holiday weekend’s releases will right the ship. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Steven Spielberg’s Roald Dahl adaptation The BFG is tracking to open to around $30 million, which would be a disappointing result for Disney and Amblin Partners given the film’s hefty budget and the involvement of an A-list director.

The real test next weekend will be Warner Bros. The Legend of Tarzan, which is also tracking to open in the $30 million range, according to THR. An opening that small would be a disaster for Warners as the film reportedly cost the studio and its financing partners around $180 million before marketing costs. Variety notes that the film would have to take in around $400 million just to break even.

Elsewhere this weekend, the Blake Lively-starring shark attack movie The Shallows took in $6.8 million on Friday and is estimated to end up with around $16 million for the weekend. That’s a great result for Sony, which spent just $17 million on the thriller.

Warner Bros./Universal/New Line’s Central Intelligence is estimated to come in third place this weekend with a solid $18.1 million, while Nicholas Winding Refn’s The Neon Demon failed to drum up much business with an estimated $609,000 from 783 theaters.

 

Follow Daniel Nussbaum on Twitter: @dznussbaum

 

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