The Secret Life of Pets smashes competition this weekend

It's a big moment for Illumination Entertainment - the shop behind the hugely successful "Despicable Me" series and "Minions".

The Secret Life of Pets certainly seems like it won't be a flash in the pan film, either, as it will likely earn a good deal of money for weeks.

The film about the little blue fish actually fell to third place with $20.4 million (£15.7 million), behind The Legend Of Tarzan, which took in $20.6 million (£15.9 million). It helped push The Walt Disney Studios to reach $5 billion globally in record time.

As the "The Secret Life Of Pets" film aimed to dethrone Disney-Pixar's blockbuster comedy adventure film "Finding Dory", the production of "The Secret Life Of Pets" expected to hit at least $70 million this weekend.

Dory was a critical success perfectly timed in a year with strong family-friendly performers (such as The Jungle Book and Zootopia), but being part of Pixar is its real "magic dust", Dergarabedian says. The film cost about $180 million to make.

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates opened in fourth place with $16 million against a $33 million production budget.

"Secret Life", which benefited from children being on summer break as well as a marketing campaign that courted adult animal lovers as well as children, is another welcome boost to an unpredictable year at the box office.

[Image via Disney]Animated films may be ruling the box office this year and especially this summer, but it's hard to avoid looking at some of the bombs that have come forth.

The Purge: Election Year rounded out the top five with $11.7 million from 2,821 theaters in its second weekend for a domestic tally of $58.1 million. "It's nearly the end of summer, and there's a lot of ground to make up, but one movie can make all the difference".

"The prognosticators had us as low as $10 million - we never believed that - but this has even exceeded our pre-release expectations", said Chris Aronson, the studio's domestic distribution chief.

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