Weekend Forecast: “Minions” to Rule Over Competition with $100M+ Opening.

With a serious shot at one of the highest animated opening weekends of all time, Minions should be able to heartily top $100M in its opening weekend. Also opening is found footage horror film The Gallows and the sci-fi thriller Self/Less, both of which have received scathing reviews from critics.

Minions is the sequel spin-off to the Despicable Me franchise, though it should easily be able to break the spinoff syndrome that films such as The Penguins of Madagascar suffered in the last few years. The reason for this is that the titular minions are the main reason why people enjoy the first two, becoming extremely popular with brand tie ins just about everywhere. The trailers make it clear that this is another silly, fun adventure with the pill shaped creatures, and families will likely turn out in droves to see it.

Also opening this weekend is found footage horror film The Gallows, with marketing and a release date that is strikingly similar to that of 2013’s The Conjuring, albeit nowhere near as effective or exciting. The Conjuring had a sort of epic, event film feel to it, which obviously turned out well given its $42M opening weekend, propelled by great reviews and word of mouth, two things in which The Gallows is severely lacking. Currently it is sitting at a nasty 13% on Rotten Tomatoes, and the found footage genre has become nowhere near as interesting or exciting as it was five years ago. The horror genre seems very desperate for a hit, as both Poltergeist and Insidious: Chapter 3 did somewhat mediocre business in the last few months. There actually hasn’t been a horror film that opened over $30M since Annabelle in October. The Gallows probably won’t even get close to that mark, but it was obviously dirt cheap to make (probably under $5M) so pretty much anything will be a decent result. A closer comparison would be last years As Above/So Below, the catacombs themed found footage film with very poor reviews and minimal budget. Granted, the school setting is somewhat more unique, and some of the trailers look like it could be interesting, but awful reviews and lots of other competition will keep this from doing very well. Not to mention, the school setting and young characters make it seem as though it is aiming for a younger audience but is strangely getting an R rating, meaning most of that audience is out of luck. The same problem plauged Unfriended earlier this year, which opened to a somewhat low $16M. If it had gotten PG-13 it probably would’ve doubled that, and it seems the same problem is going to plauge The Gallows this weekend.

Finally, Self/Less is opening, the immortality themed scifi film starring Ben Kingsley and Ryan Reynolds. The marketing and release date make it seem as though it is trying to copy the success of Lucy, which shocked last summer with an excellent $43M debut. Self/Less will be lucky if it opens to a tenth of that. The marketing has been very vague and confusing, not really giving a clear picture of what exactly the film is about, other than Ryan Reynolds and Ben Kingsley swapping places or something along those lines. However everything about it seems like it should’ve gone direct to Redbox, and doesn’t really seem like something that needs to be a full theatrical release, especially one that is somehow getting a release smack dab in the middle of July. If it can open over $5M this weekend, it’ll be surprising.

Predictions

1. Minions – $110M

2. Jurassic World – $14.5M

3. Inside Out – $12.5M

4. The Gallows – $10M

5. Terminator: Genisys – $9.7M

<6. Self/Less – $3.1M

The Bottom Line

Despicable Me 2 managed over $140M over 4th of July weekend two years ago. If Minions opens over $90M, it’ll be a big win. The Gallows may have cost less to make than a McDonalds burger, but with little competition and somewhat original premise should be doing at least $15M this weekend. Self/Less may have a decent size budget (officials have not been released yet) but given how low expectations are, $10M will be surprising, and there is literally zero chance that happens.

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