Roland Emmerich’sIndependence Day: Resurgence failed to ignite the biggest fireworks at the North American office, where it came in behind expectations with an estimated $41.6 million from 4,068 theaters.
While that’s hardly a disastrous start, the long-awaited sequel to the 1996 blockbuster will need to do sizable business overseas to land in the black for Fox and Emmerich. So far, the tentpole seems to be getting its wish, debuting to $102 million from 57 foreign markets, including China, for a global debut of $143.6 million (specific territory breakdowns weren’t immediately available).
The popcorn tentpole was no match for holdover Finding Dory, which continued to wow in its second weekend, paddling to an estimated $73.2 million from 4,305 theaters. The animated sequel has now earned $286.6 million domestically and $397 million globally. And if Sunday’s estimate holds, Dory will boast the biggest second weekend for an animated film, beating Shrek 2 ($72.2 million), not accounting for inflation. Final numbers will be released Monday.
Independence Day 2 placed No. 2 behind Dory in North America, while topping the foreign chart.
Emmerich’s film sports a hefty net budget of $165 million and was made without Will Smith, who opted to sit out the sequel. The first film, released 20 years ago over the Fourth of July holiday, broke records on its way to temporarily becoming one of the top-grossing films of all time with $817.4 million worldwide, not adjusted for inflation.
As in real life, ID4 is set two decades after the events in Independence Day (including the spectacular destruction of the White House and other iconic landmarks), and sees the same menacing aliens once again wreaking havoc.
Smith might be absent but a number of other stars appearing in the original film reprised their roles, including Bill Pullman, Jeff Goldblum, Judd Hirsch and Sela Ward. Newcomers include Liam Hemsworth, who plays a hot-shot military pilot whose parents died in the first alien attack and who is now dating the former first daughter (Maika Monroe), and Jessie Usher, who plays the stepson of Smith’s character, now deceased.
Elsewhere, Sony’s shark thriller The Shallows was the only new film to beat expectations, biting off an estimated $16.7 million from 2,962 theaters for a fourth-place finish behindDory, ID4 and holdover Central Intelligence, which just declined 48 percent in its second weekend to $18.4 million for a 10-day domestic total of $69.3 million for New Line and Universal.
The Shallows, starring Blake Lively as a surfer in a fight-to-the-death battle with a great white shark, cost a modest $17 million to make and is a needed win for Sony. The big question now is how well the movie holds up; Sony believes it has transformed into a classic summer thriller, but horror-thrillers tend to drop fast.
Jaume Collet-Serra, known for such action films as Non-Stop and Unknown, directed The Shallows. In an unexpected twist, it was the best-reviewed new film of the weekend with a Rotten Tomatoes score of 75 percent. Shallows earned a B+ CinemaScore from audiences.
The outcome was grim for the two other new nationwide offerings. STX Entertainment’s Civil War drama Free State of Jonesopened to a dismal $7.8 million from 2,815 locations, McConaughey’s worst showing in years. Directed by Gary Ross, Free State of Jones is no doubt being hurt by generally poor reviews; it’s current score on Rotten Tomatoes is 40 percent.
The movie’s net budget is $50 million. STX insiders note the company’s financial risk on the film is minimized thanks to a number of partners, including IM Global, which is handling the movie internationally.
Free State of Jones tells the real-life story of Newt Knight, a defiant Southern farmer and Confederate medic who led an uprising and later married a former slave. Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Keri Russell and Mahershala Ali also star in the film, which played best in Mississippi, where the story is set.
Nicolas Winding Refn’s Neon Demon, a twisted take on the modeling industry, is D.O.A. at the box office, opening to an estimated $606,594 from 783 locations. The movie’s theater average is $783.