The Secret Life of Pets 2 may have lead the weekend at the box office, but it fell somewhat below where tracking had it, earning $47 million, Box Office Mojo is reporting. That’s a lot less than projections which suggested that the movie would open to $65 million or more.
What happened here? One suggestion might be that Universal went absolutely overboard with the marketing, creating no fewer than seven theatrical trailers, most of which consisting of extended scenes from the film. Try to imagine Disney making an individual preview for every Toy Story 4 character. It would be overkill. If audiences feel like they’re seeing the entire movie for free, why should they spend money on a ticket opening weekend?
That is, of course, a very broad and potentially unlikely assessment. Kids usually don’t mind that sort of thing, and they are a big part of the target audience for Pets 2. We should also note that Pets 2 is not a disaster by any stretch despite its somewhat disappointing debut. Like other Illumination releases, the budget was kept moderate, carrying a price tag of only $80 million, something it should be able to make back when all is said and done.
We should also note that, despite some websites saying otherwise, it made perfect sense from a financial standpoint for Universal to want to move forward with a Secret Life of Pets sequel. The original opened to more than $100 million back in 2016, and it’s actually Illumination’s highest grossing film ever with a total of $368 million. If this premiere is underwhelming, it goes against the norm for the studio, which has seen almost consistent success. Every single one of Illumination’s fully animated features has crossed the $200 million mark stateside, and even the live-action production Hop made it past $100 million.
What’s next for Pets 2? It’s going to have a little time to enjoy summer weekdays, but Toy Story 4 opens on June 21st, and that’s going to be a box office monster for Disney. And speaking of Disney, they are probably one of the reasons Pets 2 didn’t make more, as Aladdin continued to perform very well with the family market. A take of $24 million brings the film’s total to $232 million, meaning the remake should have about $300 million in its magic lamp before its run is over.
Final figures are due tomorrow.