‘Finding Dory’ takes in a record $9.2M in Thursday previews

This image released by Disney shows the characters Hank, voiced by Ed O'Neill, left, and Dory, voiced by Ellen DeGeneres, in a scene from "Finding Dory." (Pixar/Disney via AP)

NEW YORK (AP) — The Pixar sequel “Finding Dory” took in $9.2 million in Thursday previews, a record for an animated film.

The strong start surpasses the best previous Thursday opening night of $6.2 million for last year’s “Minions.” At such a pace, “Finding Dory” should top $100 million at the weekend box office and could potentially pass “Toy Story 3” for Pixar’s biggest opening. That 2010 film opened with $110.3 million.

If moviegoers really turn out for “Finding Dory,” it could challenge (without accounting for inflation) the animated movie record of “Shrek the Third,” which debuted with $121.6 million in 2007.

Opening night previews were once midnight screenings. But they have in recent years been moved up to earlier Thursday evening, making it possible for family-friendly films to capitalize on eager moviegoers.

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