ByBrooke Geller, writer at
Awkward nerd, aspiring shieldmaiden and friend to all doggos.
Brooke Geller

A leaked video that shows a dog being possibly mistreated by its handler on the set of A Dog's Purpose has caused some tangible damage to the movie's image, with the film already estimated to report underwhelming figures at the box office.

However, it's possible that the family film never stood a chance against its competitors in the first place. An estimation of predicted domestic box office figures for this weekend's releases from Entertainment Weekly show losing out against Resident Evil: The Final Chapter.

A Dog's Purpose [Universal]
A Dog's Purpose [Universal]

A Dog's Purpose is expected to earn around $14 million on its opening weekend, whilst Resident Evil will most likely sneak past with $15 million— after all, it's already made a whopping $35 million from Japanese ticket sales alone.

Earnings from both Resident Evil and A Dog's Purpose will most likely pale in comparison to Split, M Night Shyamalan's latest psychological horror, which is expected to take home $19 million— and that's a week after its $40 million opening weekend.

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What's The Deal?

Based on the financial success of similarly heartwarming-but-sad dog movie Marley and Me, it's surprising that A Dog's Purpose looks like it's going to do so poorly. Many have spoken out in support of the filmmakers, saying the video was edited to make the alleged abuse incident look worse than it actually was. Shouldn't those numbers be higher?

As much as people love both dogs and a good old fashioned boycott, there's more to those low figures than people abstaining from supporting unethical animal treatment with their hard-earned dollars. Let's break down exactly why A Dog's Purpose isn't going to be the hit we all thought it would:

1. PETA's Presence

Even those who haven't decided to jump on the boycott bandwagon have reason to avoid the cinema this weekend. Animal rights radicals PETA have promised to be picketing outside movie theatres, confronting those who dare to buy tickets to see the controversial film. Considering PETA's scandalous history of taking their animal rights message way too far (like handing out comic books to children that contained photos of skinned animals), it wouldn't be surprising that parents would opt out of a trip to the movies.

2. Way Too Many Dog Deaths

A Dog's Purpose [Universal]
A Dog's Purpose [Universal]

It's not a spoiler for me to tell you that the dog dies in this movie. It's literally the premise of the entire narrative— a dog dies and gets reincarnated, over and over again. Whilst this is good in terms of way more adorable pups on screen, it's terrible in terms of having to watch a bunch of dogs dying.

Remember in Independence Day, how everyone cheered for the labrador that survived the explosion in the tunnel, but no one gave a shit about all the actual people who'd just died? No matter how brilliantly written and well-acted the human characters are, most people are probably still going to be more emotionally invested in a dog that has less than a few minutes of screen time.

Besides, we've all seen Marley and Me. No one needs to go through that pain again.

3. Negative Stereotypes

A Dog's Purpose [Universal]
A Dog's Purpose [Universal]

A Dog's Purpose has already been criticized for a fairly problematic scene, and it doesn't even involve a dead dog. In his final incarnation, our furry protagonist is forced to live his life chained up and neglected in the backyard of a couple who are obviously very poor. The negative stereotype that those who are less wealthy are incapable of providing a loving home for a dog is incredibly harmful and, quite frankly, lazy writing.

4. Effect On Children

A Dog's Purpose [Universal]
A Dog's Purpose [Universal]

Problematic clichés aside, some critics have also voiced their concern that the movie could have a negative impact on its intended audience of children. Any former child can attest to the power of a good dog movie in relation to a kid's desperate pleas for a new furry friend. But A Dog's Purpose puts a dark new spin on that whole dilemma.

Kids who watch the movie may very well develop a sudden fear of losing their beloved pet dog. While children do have to learn the important lesson of losing a pet, A Dog's Purpose is perhaps a bit too much of a death fest for children to be able to process without some small amount of trauma, or as it's otherwise known: The Old Yeller effect.

5. Bad Reviews

A Dog's Purpose [Universal]
A Dog's Purpose [Universal]

Judging from its average ratings, this isn't exactly the greatest film. In fact, critics tend to agree that it's pretty shit. It's been called "grim", "cloying" and "inauthentic". Unfortunately, those aren't quite the right words to motivate people to shell out ten bucks or more on a two hour movie.

Are you going to watch A Dog's Purpose this weekend?

(Credit: Entertainment Weekly)


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