Summer box office showed signs of slowing this weekend as the animated “DC League of Super-Pets” opened in theaters across North America.
The superhero spin-off about Superman’s Dog made $23 million from 4,314 locations, according to studio estimates Sunday. Although it was slightly less than expected, it was still enough to take first place and knock Jordan Peele’s “Nope” to second on the second weekend.
Analysts had pegged “DC League of Super-Pets” with a $25 million launch, which was on the low end for animated openings this summer. In June, the $50.6 million for “Lightyear” was deemed disappointing for the $200 million Disney/Pixar film. In early July, Universal’s “Minions: The Rise of Gru” grossed $107 million in its first three days.
But “Super-Pets” is more comparable to Universal’s “The Bad Guys,” which grossed about $97 million domestically after opening $23 million, and it’s much, much stronger than Paramount’s “Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank’s $6.3 million debut just weeks ago.
“This opening is a huge win for DC fans, the box office, WB and our filmmakers,” said Jeff Goldstein, the studio’s president of domestic distribution.
“DC League of Super-Pets” was not intended as a midsummer release. Originally, “Super-Pets” was scheduled for May, while this weekend was reserved for “Black Adam,” Warner Bros.’ another superhero photo of Dwayne Johnson. But post-production delays due to a backup at VFX houses forced “Black Adam” to go back to October. Rather than give up on the prime date, the studio filled the open space with a family-friendly title featuring an all-star voice cast, including Kevin Hart, John Krasinski, Keanu Reeves and Kate McKinnon as an evil guinea pig.
“Super-Pets” still has several summer holidays to go with little significant competition, and the hope is that it will continue to grow steadily thanks to the positive feedback from the public this weekend. And with $18.4 million in international impressions, it has already grossed $41.4 million worldwide.
“The interest is red hot,” Goldstein said. “Young family films continue to play for a long time. Given our CinemaScore of A and word of mouth, we will be around for a while.”
Second place went to Universal’s “Nope,” which dropped 57% from its debut last weekend, earning an additional $18.6 million. North American grossing for “Nope” now stands at $80.6 million before it begins its international expansion in August.
“Thor: Love and Thunder” took third place on its fourth weekend with $13.1 million, bringing the domestic total to $301.5 million. The worldwide total now stands at $662 million, without a release in China.
“Minions: The Rise of Gru” stayed in fourth place on its fifth weekend at $10.9 million. Globally, it has now earned $710.4 million.
And rounded out the top five with “Top Gun: Maverick,” which grossed another $8.2 million on its 10th weekend, bringing the domestic total to $650.1 million.
Major new theatrical releases were limited this weekend, but gave audiences a variety of options. Focus Features debuted the movie “Vengeance” at 998 locations this weekend, earning an estimated $1.8 million. BJ Novak’s directorial debut follows a podcaster (Novak) who travels from New York to western Texas to investigate the death of his girlfriend. The well-reviewed thriller features Issa Rae and Ashton Kutcher. And Bleecker Street opened the Sundance charmer “A Love Song,” starring Wes Studi and Dale Dickey, in four theaters, where it made an estimated $18,702.
On the way to August, things slow down at the domestic checkout, which is not uncommon. And there are still big movies coming, like Sony’s “Bullet Train” with Brad Pitt, which hits theaters next weekend.
“July generated over $1 billion, which is impressive. It’s the first $1 billion month since December 2019,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Comscore. “That gives us a tailwind going into August, but don’t expect $100 million debuts for now.”
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday in U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Comscore. The final domestic figures will be announced on Monday.
1. “DC League of Super-Pets,” $23 million.
2. “No,” $18.6 million.
3. “Thor: Love and Thunder,” $13.1 million.
4. “Minions: The Rise of Gru,” $10.9 million.
5. “Top Gun: Maverick,” $8.2 million.
6. “Where the Crayfish Sing,” $7.5 million.
7. “Elvis”, $5.8 million.
8. “The Black Phone”, $2.5 million.
9. “Jurassic World: Dominion,” $2.1 million.
10. “Revenge,” $1.8 million.
Follow AP film writer Lindsey Bahr on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ldbahr