Finding Dory Sparkles, The BFG Is a Dud at July 4 Weekend Box Office


Finding Dory Sparkles, The BFG Flops, Tarzan Exceeds Expectations at Box Office

Has Steven Spielberg lost his magic touch?

Audiences seemed to think so over the three-day Independence Day weekend as “The BFG,” the acclaimed director’s return to family friendly fare after several prestige historical dramas, flopped at the North American box office.

A stop-motion animated tale based on a book by Roald Dahl, “The BFG” opened with only $18.5 million for fourth place, according to estimates.

Finding Dory Dominate Box Office for Third Straight Week

The Ellen DeGeneres-starring “Finding Dory” led the box office for the third straight week, adding $41 million to bring its total domestic take to $372 million so far while bucking the tide as the rare sequel to score with moviegoers this year. (More typical: “Independence Day: Resurgence,” which stumbled to fifth place in its second week with $17 million).

“The Legend of Tarzan,” featuring Alexander Skarsgard as the apeman and Margot Robbie as Jane, exceeded expectations by collecting about $39 million to finish second, but with a hefty reported $180 million production budget, it has a long way to go with overseas audiences to turn a profit.

The Purge: Election Year Scares Up Solid Box Office Numbers on a Low Budget

“The Purge: Election Year” became the latest film proving the wisdom of Blumhouse’s strategy of producing movies with big scares on tiny budgets. The latest micro-budgeted flick in the horror franchise grossed $31 million for third place.

With the continued strength of “Dory” and new releases “Tarzan” and “The Purge” doing respectable business, “The BFG” found itself lost in the box office mix and gave Spielberg a rare misfire.

“There’s a lot of product out there,” Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at comScore, tells Reuters. “That leads to a lot of fragmentation and cannibalization, and a lot of spreading the wealth.”

Several other factors seemed to weigh against “The BFG.” Although critics gave it mostly positive reviews, many noted that it didn’t live up to what audiences had expected from Spielberg with such classic family fantasy movies as “E.T.: the Extra-terrestrial.”

Also, as children’s writers go, Dahl is a couple of generations removed from today’s audiences, lacking the same punch as J.K. Rowling or any number of YA authors. Plus, “The BFG” — with head-scratching title for kids brought up on text-messaging initials — is also less known than his other (already filmed) classics like “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” and “James and the Giant Peach.”