By Pamela McClintock, The Hollywood Reporter
Good things come to those that wait — at least in the case of a forgetful blue fish named Dory.
Some 13 years after Finding Nemo first hit theaters, Pixar and Disney’s sequel Finding Dory made a huge splash, landing the biggest domestic opening of all time for an animated title with $136.2 million from 4,305 theaters.
Dory easily topped the box-office chart, although Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart’s action comedy Central Intelligence also pleased in its opening, earning a solid $34.5 million from 3,508 theaters to come in No. 2.
Overseas, Finding Dory grossed $50 million as it rolled out in 32 percent of the marketplace for a global bow of $186.2 million, including a Pixar-best of $17.5 million in China and $7.6 million in Australia.
In North America, Finding Dory — grabbing an A CinemaScore — is a needed boost for the summer box office, which has seen a number of sequels underperform. It also reminds of the power of families in driving mega openings.
The previous crown holder for top animated launch was DreamWorks Animation’s Shrek the Third, which debuted to $121.6 million in 2007. Until now, Pixar’s best was Toy Story 3 (2010) with $110.3 million.
Finding Dory’s Friday haul of $55.2 million marked the largest single day in history for an animated film, eclipsing the record $47 million earned by Shrek the Third on its first Saturday. Dory kicked things off by earning $9.2 million in Thursday-night previews, likewise a record for an animated film, besting last year’s Minions ($6.2 million).
Directed by Andrew Stanton and Angus MacLane, the sequel sees Finding Nemo voice stars Ellen DeGeneres and Albert Brooks returns to voice the roles of Dory and Marlin, respectively. Newcomer Hayden Rolence voices the character Nemo.
The tale centers on Dory’s attempts to reunite with her parents, whom she lost years ago. Accompanied by Nemo and Marlin, Dory arrives at a marine institute, where she engages with new friends, including a white beluga whale named Destiny (Ty Burrell), a white shark (Kaitlin Olson) and a cranky octopus (Ed O'Neill).
Central Intelligence, pairing Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart on the big screen for the first time, earned an A- CinemaScore and skewed slightly female (51 percent). It came in ahead of last summer’s action comedy, Melissa McCarthy’s Spy, which debuted to $29 million.
Central Intelligence, directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber, follows a CIA agent (Johnson), a one-time teenage geek returning home for his high-school reunion, who enlists his former classmate (Hart) to help him complete a mission. Amy Ryan and Aaron Paul co-star in the movie, which earned an A- CinemaScore.
New Line, Warner Bros. and Universal teamed on Central Intelligence, which cost $50 million to produce.
Elsewhere, The Conjuring 2 placed No. 3 with $15.6 million from 3,256 theaters for a domestic total of $71.7 million for Warner Bros. and New Line. That’s a 62 percent decline from opening weekend, but horror films generally drop fast.
Also in its second weekend, Now You See Me 2 fell 57 percent to $9.7 million from 3,232 locations for a domestic total of $41.4 million for Lionsgate. In 2013, Now You See Me fell only 35 percent in its second outing. Overseas, Jon M. Chu’s sequel took in another $15.8 million from 54 markets for a foreign total of $49.7 million and global total of $91.1 million.
Still, that’s nothing compared to Warcraft, which tumbled 73 percent to $6.5 million from 3,406 theaters for a meek domestic 10-day domestic total of $37.7 million. The good news: Warcraft has done massive business in China, pushing its global total well past $300 million.
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