The July 4th weekend is traditionally one of the movie business' biggest, but this national holiday suffered from a weak crop of new releases, as costly adventures such as "The Legend of Tarzan" and "The BFG" failed to excite audiences. Unfortunately, none of these newcomers could defeat the champ, with Finding Dory winning for a third week in a row with $41.9 million. Disney expects the film to make about $50 million over the four-day holiday weekend.
Opening in the number two spot is "The Legend of Tarzan" earning an estimated $38.1 million for its first three days in release.
The horror sequel "The Purge: Election Year" opened solidly with $30.9 million, in line with previous "Purge" installments where crime in America is legal for 12 hours every year.
"The Legend of Tarzan" opened in 19 markets internationally, including Russian Federation and Korea, and made an estimated $7.1 million. That's slightly below the first Purge's $34.1 million start but above the $29.8 million that The Purge: Anarchy opened with in 2014 and a strong start for the modestly-budgeted movie.
Both The BFG and Tarzan hope to make up ground at the global box office, but since both have staggered rollouts, their fate overseas won't be immediately known.
Warner Bros.is looking to overseas audiences to help "The Legend of Tarzan". Playing into the madness that is this year's presidential election certainly didn't hurt the film's box office either. However, things misfired and unfortunately the movie was only able to draw in $19.6 million over the course of the weekend, from Friday to Sunday.
The unlikely Cinderella story of the weekend is Universal's "The Purge: Election Year", the most recent film in James DeMonaco's "Purge" series, produced by Blumhouse and Platinum Dunes. It's been two years since Leo Barnes (Frank Grillo) stopped himself from a regrettable act of revenge on Purge Night.
In its second weekend of release, Fox's "Independence Day: Resurgence" finished fifth with $20.2 million for the four days.
Critical reaction to Steven Spielberg's traditional take on the Roald Dahl classic The BFG has been positive, if mostly ambivalent.
Roland Emmerich's explosive blockbuster sequel Independence Day: Resurgence rounds out the new top five, while Dwayne John and Kevin Hart's Central Intelligence continues to do well at six and Blake Lively's shark survival thriller The Shallows is at seven.
Next week, Dory might have her work cut out for her. Universal Pictures' "Secret Life of Pets" hits theaters this week, and it could be some stiff competition.