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 out with 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" debut at $6.3 million 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 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 Johnson, 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.
"Young family movies play for a long time," Goldstein said. 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.