After opening this past June, Finding Dory finally crossed the $1 billion worldwide box office mark this weekend. The movie has grossed $485 million domestically and $517 million internationally for a total of $1,001.5 million worldwide. It becomes Pixar’s second movie to gross $1 billion worldwide (the first being Toy Story 3, which made $1,067 million worldwide), Disney’s fourth billion-dollar movie in the past 12 months, and its 12th ever. It’s also the fifth biggest animated film of all time (Its currently behind Frozen, Minions, Toy Story 3, and Zootopia).
Finding Dory is currently the highest-grossing domestic release of the year, and it may very well keep that record. Its only serious competition for the crown is Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, and I don’t see either of those outgrossing Dory because even though one is a Harry Potter spin-off and the other is a Star Wars spin-off, that’s their issue: they’re spin-offs. I don’t think they’re going to make more than a bona fide sequel, especially one that has the built-in love that Dory had.
So if you’re wondering why Disney-Pixar is currently on a sequel kick (next year sees the release of Cars 3 and the year after that is Toy Story 4), this is why. These sequels are basically bulletproof at the box office. It doesn’t matter that Dory isn’t as good as Finding Nemo. It’s good enough, and when the brand is that strong, you can swim your way to over a billion dollars worldwide.
That being said, I’m curious to see if Dory has any staying power in the long run. Finding Nemo wore out parents’ DVD players, but I don’t think Dory is going to be at the level of a Toy Story 2 where it’s as beloved as the original. It’s probably going to operate at the level of Toy Story 3 and Monsters University, which is fine, but nowhere near a classic.