LOS ANGELES — It’s a good time for animated animals at the box office.

“The Secret Life of Pets” follows “Zootopia” and “Finding Dory” as the latest success this year, opening to a massive $103.2 million, according to studio estimates Sunday.

The Illumination Entertainment and Universal Pictures film cost only $75 million to produce, and it features the voices of comedians such as Louis C.K. and Kevin Hart. “Pets” has been warmly received by critics and audiences, who gave the film a promising A- CinemaScore.

Going into the weekend, analysts predicted it would earn only around $70 million, which would still have been a big success.

Not adjusting for inflation, “Pets” earned the title of best opening ever for an original animated property. The previous record-holder was Disney and Pixar’s “Inside Out,” which opened to $90.4 million last year.

It’s a big moment for Illumination Entertainment – the shop behind the hugely successful “Despicable Me” series and “Minions.” The company is not quite Pixar yet, but it’s working toward that sort of recognition.

“Illumination has been building a consistency of vision, and now they have become what every studio covets – a draw,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for box office tracker comScore.

The main draw, though, was likely in the simple and appealing premise: What do your pets do when you’re not around?

“I think this movie resonates among all people,” said Nick Carpou, Universal’s president of domestic distribution. “It’s a very charming way in for everyone to have fun with the concept of imagining their pets that way.”


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