finding dory, finding nemo, nemo, dory, marlin, pixar, pixar animation, animation, disney, ellen degeneres, ty burrell, ed o'€™neill, kaitlin olson, eugene levy, albert brooks, diane keaton, andrew stanton, lindsey collins, idris elba, dominic west"Finding Dory" is already making a splash ahead of its release this coming weekend, scoring some excellent early reviews in anticipation of a massive opening weekend haul.

"Dory," the sequel to 2003's Oscar-winning "Finding Nemo," is the latest sequel to a beloved Pixar property, but unlike, say, "Cars 2," "Dory" is a hit with critics so far, earning a jaw-dropping 96 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes so far. The star-studded sequel features the returning Ellen DeGeneres as the titular forgetful blue tang fish, who sets out to find her family in the follow-up. Other big names in the voice cast include Albert Brooks (returning as Nemo's dad, Marlin), Diane Keaton (Dory's mom), Eugene Levy (Dory's Dad), and a lively bunch of supporting oceanic characters, played by Ty Burrell, Kaitlin Olson, Willem Dafoe, Ed O'Neill, Dominic West, and Idris Elba.

All those familiar faces (or voices, in this case), not to mention the stellar Pixar pedigree, should add up to a big opening weekend at the box office, according to industry analysts. With "Dory" set to open on 4,305 screens, it will be the widest opening in the company's history, and that's not an accident: Pixar is surely hoping to top its current biggest opener record holder, "Toy Story 3," which bowed to $110.3 million in 2010.

Right now, "Dory" is pegged to open somewhere in the $110 to $115 million range, and obviously, parent company Disney would like it to fall on the higher end of that scale. Considering that fan excitement for the flick was already at a fever pitch way back in January, "Dory" should have no trouble swimming to the top of the box office -- and hopefully make off with a record, too.

"Finding Dory" opens on Friday.

[via: Rotten Tomatoes, Deadline]

Photo credit: Disney