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Ghostbusters misses US top spot as Secret Life of Pets holds firm

The Secret Life of Pets

Story by Jack Foley

PAUL Feig’s all-female Ghostbusters reboot has been beaten to the top spot in the US by holdover animation The Secret Life of Pets.

Ghostbusters opened to $46 million, which is a lukewarm start considering the movie cost $144 million to make after tax rebates and incentives. But it is still being hailed as a success by distributor Sony Pictures, who view the figure as having revived an important franchise for them.

Josh Greenstein, Sony’s worldwide marketing and distribution president, commented: “We’re ecstatic with this opening. We have successfully restarted an important brand. We have lot’s of room to run in the coming weeks as the big comedy in the marketplace.”

Ghostbusters went into its opening weekend off the back of one of the worst pre-release animosity in recent memory. Firstly, the all female cast drew a backlash, despite the presence of seasoned comedy performers such as Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Wiig.

And then its trailer became one of the most disliked in YouTube history, prompting speculation that the film could be one of the biggest box office duds of all-time.

But when finally shown to critics, it drew a far more favourable response, particularly from those in the UK, who hailed it as a solid, and sometimes superior reboot of the original that held genuine laughs and chills.

And the figure still rates as the biggest US opening ever for Feig and McCarthy, his frequent collaborator, besting The Heat, which debuted to $39.1 million and cost far less to make.

Ghostbusters failure to make top spot was largely because animation is currently enjoying a purple patch at the US box office. The Secret Life of Pets enjoyed the best start ever for an original animated property last weekend and continued to remain strong, with a massive $50.6 million. It has now taken $203.2 million in the US alone and $254 million globally.

Also competing well is Disney Pixar’s Finding Dory, the record-breaking Finding Nemo sequel, which placed fourth with $11 million. It has now become the top-grossing animated title of all time in the US with $445.5 million. Globally, it has taken $721.8 million and looks set to become another member of the $1 billion club.

Elsewhere in the US top five, The Legend of Tarzan placed third with $11.1 million, bringing its US total to $103.1 million, while R-rated comedy Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates came fifth with $7.5 million, for a US total of $31.3 million.

The weekend’s only other new nationwide release was The Infiltrator, which stars Bryan Cranston as a federal agent who infiltrates Pablo Escobar’s drug cartel. It took a better-than-expected $6.7 million after nabbing a lot of positive reviews.

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