The summer box office showed signs of slowing down this weekend as the animated “DC League of Super-Pets” opened in theaters across North America.
The superhero spinoff about Superman’s dog earned $23 million from 4,314 locations, according to studio estimates Sunday. Though slightly less than expected, it was still enough to capture the first-place spot and knock Jordan Peele’s “Nope” into second place in its second weekend.
Analysts had pegged “DC League of Super-Pets” for a $25 million launch, which was on the lower end for animated openings this summer. In June, the $50.6 million for “Lightyear” was considered underwhelming for the $200 million Disney/Pixar movie. Then in early July, Universal’s “Minions: The Rise of Gru” captured $107 million in its first three days.
But “Super-Pets” is more comparable to Universal’s “The Bad Guys,” which netted around $97 million domestic after a $23 million opening, and it’s much, much stronger than Paramount’s “Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank’s” $6.3 million debut several 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 to be a midsummer release. Originally, “Super-Pets” had been slated for May, while this weekend was reserved for “Black Adam,” Warner Bros.’ other Dwayne Johnson superhero pic. But postproduction delays due to a backup at VFX houses forced “Black Adam” to move back to October. Instead of giving up the prime date, the studio filled the open spot with a family-friendly title with an all-star voice cast, including Kevin Hart, John Krasinski, Keanu Reeves and Kate McKinnon as an evil guinea pig.
“Super-Pets” has several summer vacation weeks left with little significant competition, and the hope is that it will continue to grow steadily thanks to positive feedback from audiences this weekend. And with $18.4 million from international showings, it has already grossed $41.4 million globally.
“The interest is red hot,” Goldstein said. “Young family movies play for a long time. Given our CinemaScore of A- and word of mouth, we’re going to be around for a while."
Second place went to Universal’s “Nope,” which fell 57% from its debut last weekend and earned an additional $18.6 million. The North American grosses for “Nope” are now sitting at $80.6 million before it begins its international expansion in August.
“Thor: Love and Thunder” took third place with $13.1 million in its fourth weekend, bringing its domestic total to $301.5 million. Its global total is now sitting at $662 million, without a release in China.
“Minions: The Rise of Gru” stuck its heels in fourth place in its fifth weekend with $10.9 million. Worldwide, it has now earned $710.4 million.
And rounding out the top five was “Top Gun: Maverick,” which made an additional $8.2 million in its 10th weekend, bringing its 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 film “Vengeance” in 998 locations, where it earned an estimated $1.8 million. B.J. Novak’s directorial debut follows a podcaster (Novak) who travels from New York to west 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 earned an estimated $18,702.
Things are slowing down at the domestic box office heading into August, which is not uncommon. And there are still big films to come, like Sony's “Bullet Train” with Brad Pitt, which speeds into theaters next weekend.
“July generated over $1 billion, and that’s impressive. It's the first billion-dollar month since December 2019,” said Paul Dergarabedian, the senior media analyst for Comscore. “That gives us a tailwind going into August, but don’t expect any $100 million debuts for a while."
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Comscore. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.
1. “DC League of Super-Pets,” $23 million
2. “Nope,” $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 Crawdads Sing,” $7.5 million
7. “Elvis,” $5.8 million
8. “The Black Phone,” $2.5 million
9. “Jurassic World: Dominion,” $2.1 million
10. “Vengeance,” $1.8 million
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.