While not exactly my personal cup of tea, “Finding Dory” is nonetheless likely to resonate with fans of Pixar’s clean, engaging, family friendly animation style. The timeless story of the search for self is one that will always find favour with a younger audience, while the opportunity to get reacquainted with some old friends is sure to pull a certain number of “Finding Nemo” fans off their couch and into the multiplex, even if it means spending two hours amidst a sea of kids playing video games on their smartphones or throwing up from too much caramel-coated popcorn and 3D.
My only question related to this particular piece of pop-culture pie is “What took you so long?” By allowing the property to languish in development hell for a decade and a half Disney has run a very real risk that their audience may have simply moved on. Sure, the movie is practically guaranteed to generate a handsome return but one can’t help but think that by dragging their feet on the sequel, the accounting department at Disney may have left more than a few ducats on the table.
In some ways Finding Dory reminds me of what’s been happening with the “Avatar” sequels. Every year James Cameron announces another sequel has been added to the queue and at the same time he announces the launch date for the first sequel has been pushed back another year. By the time he finally gets around to releasing one of the dozen or so sequels he now has in the pipeline, anyone who remembers what a mind-blowing event pic Avatar was will be more concerned with preparing for retirement than dragging their tired carcass out to the theatre (if theatres still exist by the time we see Avatar 2) to see the follow-up.
In the same manner, while the Finding Dory full movie will likely generate plenty of ka-ching at the box office, it won’t be anywhere near what it could have been (IMHO) if Pixar’s brain trust were a bit more focused on fan service and a little less focused on trying to generate an endless number of potential new sequel machines like the semi-successful “Brave”, the box office flop “The Good Dinosaur” and head scratchers like “Monsters University”.
But whether you intend to load the kids into the minivan and head to the multiplex or stream Finding Dory using an Internet service, chances are you’re going to get your money’s worth. The Pixar hit machine hasn’t misfired too many times and it seems unlikely with the pedigree of this property that they’ll be licking their wounds after a disappointing bow in mid-June.
From a box office perspective my Finding Dory expectations are as follows: Facing a weak slate of competitors I look for it to take the top spot on its debut weekend but then slip to perhaps a fairly distant second place on its second weekend as it’s overwhelmed by the humunguousness of Independence Day Resurgence; yet the latest example of a bigger, badder remake being marketed as a sequel Force Awakens .