Weekend Forecast: Can ‘Finding Dory’ Retain First over Crowded 4th of July?

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Between holdovers Finding Dory and Independence Day: Resurgence and newcomers The Legend of TarzanThe Purge: Election Year and The BFG, it’s going to be a very busy weekend at the box office.

Unless something drastic happens, it looks like Finding Dory is set to easily take first once again over the holiday weekend. Well, technically it isn’t the holiday, as the 4th happens to fall on a Monday this year. Typically, the releases for this week will open on the Wednesday before the Holiday, but because of this unusual circumstance, they’re simply opening on a normal Friday. That means all the new releases will probably open a bit lower than normal but have above average results on the 4th. As a result, it would make more sense to compare this weekend with Memorial Day than usual 4th of July releases.

With direct competition from The BFG (which Disney strangely set for just 2 weeks after Dory) it’s undoubtedly going to get a bit cannibalized. Still, it should wind up with at least $35 million for the weekend, and closer to $45 million over the four day weekend.

The Purge: Election Year marks the third installment in the very successful Purge franchise, which started off with a major surprise back in 2013. The original Purge cost just $3 million to produce, but opened to nearly $35 million in its opening weekend alone. That was one of the biggest surprise hits in years, and instantaneously a franchise was born. However, the film received poor word of mouth and ended up being absurdly front loaded, making nearly 53% of its total from opening weekend alone. Regardless, an $89 million worldwide total for a film that cost a fraction of that is undoubtedly a success. The Purge: Anarchy was debatably more successful. Despite opening lower, word of mouth led it to hold much better and wind up out grossing its predecessor by a solid $7 million. Despite the increased political angle and ramped up chaos in its marketing, it’s still going to have a hard time overcoming the “yet another Purge movie” mantra. As a result, lower grosses are inevitable. Look for The Purge: Election Year to wind up with around $25 million over the holiday.

Two big budget live action fairy tale adaptations hit theaters this weekend, but neither of them look like they’re going to be successful. The BFG will likely top The Legend of Tarzan thanks to its Steven Spielberg and Disney brand recognition, which should get some family audiences in the door. The Legend of Tarzan looks more like last years uber flop Pan than Disney’s infinitely more successful Jungle Book adaptation, and its box office results will reflect that. With a $140 million price tag for The BFG and a $180 million tag for The Legend of Tarzan, it looks like a double feature flop for the weekend.

Also opening is A24’s Swiss Army Man in 636 theaters. The film has relied primarily on internet hype and buzz, which has turned out to be much cheaper and more effective for the kinds of films that A24 releases. While it certainly has gotten a fair amount of attention, it doesn’t seem like something that will end up being a hit with general audiences. Green Room was debatably more hyped, but only opened with around $400K from 777 theaters. Don’t be surprised if Swiss Army Man ends up even lower than that thanks to its bizarre talking corpse premise.

Bar for Success

The Purge: Election Year is in good shape if it can hit $25 million over the four day weekend. The Legend of Tarzan and The BFG both carry massive price tags, and as a result really need to hit $40 million each over the holiday weekend, though that’s seeming less and less likely.

Predictions

(4 Day Weekend)

  1. Finding Dory – $48M
  2. The Purge: Election Year – $29.5M
  3. Independence Day: Resurgence – $21M
  4. The BFG – $19M
  5. The Legend of Tarzan – $17M

Swiss Army Man – $300K

 

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