Finding Dory Now Projected For $140 Million Plus Opening Weekend

(Photo: Disney)

If Finding Dory wants to become one of the year's highest-grossing films, it's off to a pretty good start.

The Disney/Pixar sequel, almost universally beloved by critics, is now looking at a potentially massive opening in the neighborhood of $140 million.

That would make the film the third-highest-grossing opening weekend of 2016, behind Captain America: Civil War and Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice but ahead of Deadpool.

It would also make the film one of the ten highest-grossing films of 2016 immediately: Angry Birds, currently the year's eighth-highest-grossing movie of the year, has earned only $101 million at the North American box office to date.

Currently in its third week of release, X-Men: Apocalypse has earned $140 million.

Perhaps more importantly than comparing to other films, Finding Dory will open bigger than any animated film in history, with its projected $140.6 million opening weekend easily besting the $122 million by current recordholder Shrek the Third.

On Friday, Finding Dory made an estimated $55 million, beating out the single-day records from Shrek the Third, $47 million.

Finding Nemo director Andrew Stanton, who returns for the sequel, is likely breathing a sigh of relief at these numbers; his last job as a director was John Carter, which lost Disney around $200 million in spite of building a pretty solid following among audiences who saw it.

Currently, Disney holds three of the year's top five spots at the domestic box office with Civil War, Zootopia, and The Jungle Book. They've also got a stake in Fox's Deadpool, since that's a Marvel property. If Finding Dory ousts Batman V Superman from the top spot before something else creeps in, Disney could potentially have a financial stake in all five of the year's top films.

Warner Bros.' Central Intelligence will earn around $33.5 million this weekend, per exhibitor estimates, outperforming the $30 million that most analysts had set as its likely upper limit.

Warcraft is projected to drop 74% in its second weekend, one of the biggest drops for a major release in recent history -- more than Batman V Superman, but less than Fifty Shades of Grey or the 2009 Friday the 13th reboot.