Elsewhere in the United States top ten, The Legend of Tarzan came in second place with a better than expected $45 million for the four-day weekend.
However, the film, which is the latest offering from Pixar, did face some tough competition from The Legend of Tarzan, which had to settle for the number two spot as it grossed $38.1 million on its opening weekend.
The horror sequel The Purge: Election Year opened solidly with $30.9 million, in line with previous Purge installments where crime in America is legal for 12 hours every year. It "collapsed" at the box office, the report said, bringing in $19.6 million for the three-day weekend and is on pace for $23.6 million for the four-day holiday weekend. And Universal Pictures' The Purge: Election Year and its timely title earned the third film of the franchise an outstanding $34 million debut.
Both The BFG and Tarzan hope to make up ground at the worldwide box office, but since both have staggered rollouts, their fate overseas won't be immediately known. The BFG, which is a fantasy/adventure film, received positive reviews, however, those reviews were not enough to get people into the theaters.
The haul made Disney and Warner Bros. the weekend's big winners.
The BFG is, intriguingly, Steven Spielberg's first film for Disney - and it's another Disney film, Finding Dory, that is cutting massively into The BFG's box office sales, at least domestically. While this is a promising start (and a new record for the hero, beating Disney's 1999 Tarzan, $34.2 million debut), The Legend of Tarzan still has a very long way to go before it can recoup its massive $180 million budget.
In comparison, "The Purge: Election Year" is already minting money for Universal and Blumhouse, given its skimpy $10 million price tag. The sequel follows a presidential candidate (Elizabeth Mitchell) campaigning to end the purge, a legally sanctioned night of lawlessness. Considering this cost $140 million, it's starting to smell another box office flop for Disney (after Alice Through the Looking Glass). "The Legend of Tarzan" pulled in $19.3 million at 6,900 screens in from 19 markets, led by by South Korea with $4 million, and will open in the U.K., France, Australia and Mexico this weekend.
The timely "Independence Day: Resurgence", dropped to fifth place for its second week in theaters, cashing in $16.5 million. The shark-themed survival thriller has brought its total to $35.3 million and is definitely set to become Lively highest-grossing film that she's been the top star in.
Next week's openings include Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates and The Secret Life of Pets.