A Dog’s Purpose opened amid allegations of animal abuse, but that didn’t seem to keep movie-goers away.
The film, which shared the story of a dog that is reincarnated to carry on as man’s best friend, took $18.4-million (US) at the box office opening weekend in the United States. It cashed in $22.1-million worldwide, according to estimates by ComScore.
The film’s producers and distributors, Universal and Amblin, came under fire by groups such as PETA after a video surfaced from the set of a German Shepherd being seemingly forced into rushing water. There were calls for a boycott. The video prompted internal and external investigations, which are still underway.
The film cost about $22-million to make and its producers were pleased with the box office showing.
“It opened right in the sweet spot, if not on the higher end of expectations,” Nick Carpou, Universal’s domestic distribution chief, said in a statement. “The fact that the film has worked so well speaks directly to its resonating message. The controversy surrounding the protests generated by a highly edited video is hard to ignore. However, the box office shows that this film rises above that.”
The filmmakers have refuted claims of abuse on the set, which have been detailed in The Hollywood Reporter.