Weekend Forecast: Can ‘Suicide Squad’ Break August Record?

SUICIDE SQUAD

The DC Cinematic Universe is likely going to live or die this weekend, based on the performance of the hotly anticipated Suicide Squad. After the terminal underperformance of Batman V Superman Dawn of Justice (which was expected to easily hit $1B+ and kickstart the DC universe) all eyes turned to Suicide Squad, the third installment in the DC Extended Universe. Many fans are thinking that the films eccentric premise and advertising will lead it to be a massive success, and there’s plenty of reasons why it could – or could not – end up breaking the August opening weekend record, currently held by Guardians of the Galaxy.

Speaking of Guardians of the Galaxy, there’s more than a few comparisons to be made between the two films. Firstly, they’re both ensemble teams of unlikely heroes banding together to stop some sort of villian, including marketing which heavily features humor and nostalgiac music. Additionally, both films are being released in the first weekend of August. That release date could really end up helping Suicide Squad, as outside of a few major key releases, the summer has been very slow in terms of PG-13 blockbusters, with only Captain America: Civil War able to crack the century mark in its opening weekend. Compare that to 2015, where there was Avengers: Age of UltronMinionsJurassic World, and Furious 7 (debatably a summer release but you get the idea). 2014’s slow summer ended up boosting Guardians of the Galaxy to much higher than expected results, and it’s clear that Warner Bros. is hoping for the same. Unfortunately, Guardians of the Galaxy had over 90% on Rotten Tomatoes, while Suicide Squad currently sits at 29%. This will undoubtedly turn off many mainstream audiences.

So how high will the film open, realisitically? Well, Guardians of the Galaxy opened to around $101 million with inflation, which seems like a good comparison to Suicide Squad. While expectations have shot up to the $145M+ range, that’s most likely a case of Civil War syndrome, in which expectations for a hotly anticipated blockbuster shot up in the weeks before release, most of which was due to fan anticipation and not legitimate box office analysis. Another problem is the films tone and clearly not family friendly content; while Guardians was a fun, exciting sci-fi adventure for pretty much anyone, Suicide Squad has a darker tone, much more violence, the word “suicide” in the title (which will unquestionably turn off some parents) and the non-subtle sexualization of Harley Quinn, which hasn’t really been hidden in the marketing. All of these things are going to take away a key audience from Suicide Squad, as the potential R rated audience that Deadpool pulled in was pushed aside in favor of a PG-13. Whether or not that will work is yet to be seen.

Despite me meddling on for seven centuries about Suicide Squad, there are in fact other films opening this weekend. Kevin Spacey stars in the head scratching Nine Lives, a film about a father who gets turned into a cat via Christopher Walken, yet many have commented that the film has the production quality of a direct to DVD film from the early 2000’s, and doesn’t look like something that should be opening in over 2,000 theaters. There’s not exactly a ton of comparisons in terms of talking-cat-played-by-Kevin-Spacey market, but it looks like the film will open with around $5 million.

Bar for Success

Considering how much of the DC Universe is riding on this films success, Suicide Squad really needs to hit over $100 million this weekend to get a pass, while Nine Lives is fine at $10 million.

Weekend Predictions

  1. Suicide Squad – $112M
  2. Jason Bourne – $25M
  3. Bad Moms – $14M
  4. Star Trek Beyond – $11M
  5. The Secret Life of Pets – $9M

Nine Lives – $4M

Weekend Forecast: Can ‘Bourne’ Break Disappointing Summer Sequel Streak?

Film Title: Jason Bourne

The fifth installment in the long running Bourne Identity franchise hits theaters this weekend, but it doesn’t look like its set for a great start.

Jason Bourne can be related to last years Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation in a number of different ways. For starters, they’re both the fifth installment in a long running spy action franchise that serves as a follow up to a reboot after the original trilogy concluded and given a release in the last weekend of July. Other than that, totally different. Rogue Nation may have been seen as a tad bit underwhelming in its opening weekend of $55 million, but it held very well and was able to total with over $190 million domestically and just a hair short of Ghost Protocol worldwide. Rogue Nation was also following up on the goodwill and unexpected success of said fourth installment, while Jason Bourne is following up on 2012’s The Bournce Legacy, a failed attempt at rebooting the franchise with Jeremy Renner as the lead. Oh yeah, the fifth Mission: Impossible film was also set to star Jeremy Renner. Coincidence?

The original expectations for Rogue Nation were at around $60-$70 million, a bit higher than what Jason Bourne is now tracking (around $50-$60 million or so). Considering the mixed reviews and a lack of online buzz, it wouldn’t be surprising if Jason Bourne wound up under $50 million for the weekend, and it could even end up closer to The Bourne Legacy than any of its other predecessors.

Also opening is low budget comedy Bad Moms, which is going after the very underserved summer female audience. This is also a good chance for STX Entertainment to have a solid win, after disappointing results from Hardcore Henry and Free State of Jones likely put their organization on the chopping block. With a budget of just $20 million and strong pre sale tickets, Bad Moms could wind up with over $25 million for the weekend, which would be a huge success. Reviews are also solid, with a 60% on Rotten Tomatoes. That’s actually higher than Jason Bourne, surprisingly enough.

Finally, Nerve is getting a wide release as well. The film also carries a $20 million price tag, and is mostly going after the teen audience. The film got a solid start on Wednesday, with a $3.7 million start on opening day. For a non holiday Wednesday start, that’s a good sign, and the film will likely wind up with more than $15 million by Sunday. It’s going to have a tough time holding on with Suicide Squad on the way next weekend, and the Wednesday start was likely done to squeeze a bit more cash out before the real competition sets in. With a solid A- Cinemascore, Nerve should be able to total with more than $40 million domestically.

Among holdovers, Star Trek Beyond will benefit from holding onto most of its IMAX and 3D screens with no major release in either of those formats, while Lights Out will prove whether or not it’ll play like a traditional horror film, or more like the surprise long term success of 2013’s The Conjuring. Regardless, its low budget and simplistic premise means its probably already a franchise in the making.

Bar for Success

The Bourne Legacy was able to get to $38 million in its opening despite way more competition and no Matt Damon. Considering how slow the summer box office has been, Jason Bourne needs at least $50 million to get a pass. Bad Moms is fine at $20 million, while Nerve is fine at $15 million over its five day start.

Weekend Predictions

  1. Jason Bourne – $43M
  2. Bad Moms – $31M
  3. Star Trek Beyond – $29M
  4. The Secret Life of Pets – $19M
  5. Nerve – $12M ($18M Five Day)

 

Weekend Forecast: ‘Star Trek’ Set to Easily Top Busy Weekend

STAR TREK BEYOND

With three new wide releases and plenty of holdovers, it’s going to be a very busy weekend at the box office. Star Trek Beyond is poised to easily take first place, while newcomer horror film Lights Out seems as though it could become a sleeper hit. Finally, Ice Age: Collision Course will likely continue the trend of lower and lower domestic grosses in the aging franchise.

Star Trek Beyond marks the third installment in the rebooted franchise, after Into Darkness took in slightly lower domestic numbers than its predecessor. That was a bit surprising given the 3D and IMAX boost and the first films extremely strong reputation, but ultimately these two sequels have essentially just been more of the same. Strong reviews should help this latest installment (88% on Rotten Tomatoes), and a lack of major blockbusters this summer should help push this past the $50 million mark.

Ice Age: Collision Course is the fifth installment in the animated franchise, which seems to get lower and lower domestic results with every installment. So why do they keep getting made? Well, the fourth film only made $161 million domestically, but a whopping $715 million internationally. That $800M+ total makes it very appealing given that the films only cost around $100 million to produce.

Finally, Lights Out seems poised to jump on an unusually under served market; that of the PG-13 supernatural horror. So far the only major films released in 2016 that fall into this category are The Boy and The Forest, both of which were released upwards of six months ago. The Conjuring 2 managed to pull in an impressive $101 million, but that was rated R. That teenage demographic of 13-16 often propels films like InsidiousMamaThe Last ExorcismThe VisitOuija and more to ridiculous levels of profitability against very low budgets. Lights Out is no exception, carrying a production budget of just $4.9 million and a cheap marketing campaign that has primarily targeted the online audience. The simple yet effective premise, strong reviews and genuinely creepy advertising seems set to make this a big win. A good comparison could be The Shallows, which took in $17 million back in June. Considering all of this films added benefits, a debut of over $20 million seems possible.

After last week’s so-so opening, Ghostbusters will live or die based on its long term performance. Director Paul Feig stated in an interview that the film would need around $500 million worldwide in order to become profitable, and a lack of a Chinese release is going to make that very difficult. The rush of fans and curious moviegoers going out to see it on opening weekend, combined with the loss of many 3D and IMAX screens to Ice Age and Star Trek will likely see a drop of over 55%.

Bar for Success

Star Trek Beyond carries a $150 million budget, lower than the $190 million for Into Darkness, so it can’t be expected to pull in similar numbers. If it can hit around $55 million for the weekend, that’s a win. Ice Age should be hitting around $35 million, while Lights Out is fine at $10 million.

Weekend Predictions

  1. Star Trek Beyond – $59M
  2. Ice Age: Collision Course – $34M
  3. The Secret Life of Pets – $24M
  4. Ghostbusters – $20M
  5. Lights Out – $19M

Weekend Forecast: ‘Pets’ Set to Take First

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Illumination Entertainment is set to further cement its reinforce its credibility in the animation department with The Secret Life of Pets, set to open in over 4,300 theaters. The studio found massive success with their Despicable Me franchise, with two films, a spinoff and another sequel set for next summer. Additionally, their adaptation of The Lorax was incredibly popular, opening to over $70 million back in 2012. So far, none of Illuminations animated films have opened under $56 million, which is a claim that neither Pixar or Dreamworks could proclaim. Granted, its only a matter of time before one of their films isn’t a hit, and it could very well be Sing, set to hit theaters this Christmas For the time being, however, Secret Life of Pets seems set to be a huge hit.

The main reason why Pets has such great potential is because of its premise. Cute talking animals and the idea of what pets do while their owners are away is a very universally appealing idea, as pretty much everyone has experience with dogs or cats. As a result, it wouldn’t be at all surprising if Pets opened higher than The Lorax this weekend.

Also opening is the latest R rated comedy Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates. The comedic duo of Zac Efron and Adam Devine isn’t exactly going to sell a ton of tickets, but the pairing of Aubrey Plaza and Anna Kendrick could make this a good choice for a date film. The trailers have done a decent job at marketing some decent jokes, and it seems like an entertaining enough premise for a summer comedy. So far, the reviews aren’t great (currently sitting at a 45% on Rotten Tomatoes) and it doesn’t seem like Mike and Dave will be able to break out like other comedies have in the past few months.

Last weekends releases probably won’t hold too well. The Purge: Election Year ended up being massively front loaded, dropping 35% from Friday and Saturday. The BFG continues to go up against strong competition from Finding Dory and now Pets, and The Legend of Tarzan will likely have a harsh fall due to poor reviews and mixed word of mouth.

In limited release, Captain Fantastic opens in four theaters in New York and Los Angeles, and should be able to pull in a very strong per theater average, likely above $30K

Bar for Success

Considering the budget for The Secret Life of Pets is just $75 million, it doesn’t need to be massive this weekend. If it can hit $50 million, it’s a win.

With a $33 million budget and heavy marketing, Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates is in good shape at $15 million.

Predictions

  1. The Secret Life of Pets – $68M
  2. Finding Dory – $21M
  3. The Legend of Tarzan – $18M
  4. Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates – $13.5M
  5. The Purge: Election Year -$11M

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

 

Weekend Report: Can ‘Independence Day’ Surge Into First?

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It’s going to be a crowded weekend before 4th of July, with a bit of something for everyone going into wide release. For the teen horror audience, there’s The Shallows. For the blockbuster audience, there’s Independence Day: Resurgence. For the adult history audience, there’s Free State of Jones, and finally The Neon Demon for the art house crowd. However, it’s still likely that Finding Dory is going to win the weekend.

A few months ago, it seemed like all but a guarantee that Independence Day would follow suit of other reboot/sequels of incredibly popular licenses and open in the $65-$70M+ range. However, the hype has been way below average for a film of this caliber, and due to a numer of different circumstances, expectations have been lowered into a far more modest $45-$50M range. For a $200M film, that wouldn’t be a great result, but it’s looking more and more likely. For starters, the film is sitting at a very mediocre 55% on Rotten Tomatoes. That isn’t really going to help or hurt the films performance, as its only a bit lower than its predecessor. Considering how drab most of the summer releases have been, don’t be shocked if Independence Day opens under $40 million for the weekend.

The Shallows could very possibly hit a surprisingly strong third place debut ahead of Free State of Jones this weekend. Surprisingly, the film has gotten a very strong 75% on Rotten Tomatoes, far above average for any sort of shark themed horror film.

Free State of Jones seemed like it could work as solid counter programming for adult audiences, but now that’s seeming less and less likely. The film has received a terrible 32% on Rotten Tomatoes, and a lack of marketing is also going to hurt. Don’t be shocked if Jones opens with under $10 million.

Also opening is The Neon Demon in a very surprisingly high 783 theaters. Considering the directors last film, Only God Forgives was released in about 1/10th of that, this result is very surprising. The film has very limited appeal outside of the art house crowd, and has had almost zero marketing, making it questionable as to why the studio chose to gave it such a wide release. Ultimately, expect The Neon Demon to only gross between $1-$2 million.

In limited release, A24’s very hyped Swiss Army Man is getting released in just 3 theaters this weekend. Supposedly the film will get a nationwide release next weekend, but it would be surprising to see such a bizarre, niche film getting released in over 1,000 theaters. Still, A24 has had a surprisingly successful track record recently, so don’t be surprised if they can turn this one into a hit.

Bar for Success

For a massive budgeted reboot of a very well known 90s film, Independence Day Resurgence really should be getting to at least $55 million this weekend. Free State of Jones is good with $15 million, while The Shallows is fine at $10 million. For a film that has very little appeal and zero marketing, The Neon Demon is okay if it can get past $2 million for the weekend.

Predictions

  1. Finding Dory – $76M
  2. Independence Day Resurgence – $42M
  3. Central Intelligence – $18M
  4. The Shallows – $17M
  5. Free State of Jones – $11M

– The Neon Demon – $1.2M

Weekend Report: ‘Finding Dory’ Set to Reinvigorate Lifeless Box Office

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After a somewhat underwhelming May and a very disappointing June, Finding Dory is set to be one of the first (and possibly the last) mega blockbuster of the summer. With its strong brand recognition, total lack of competition, and massive potential audience, Dory has a legitimate chance at taking the animated record for opening weekend, which is currently held by Shrek the Third with $151 million (adjusted for inflation).

Finding Dory has more or less no limit to what it could pull in this weekend. The original Finding Nemo is a staple in Pixar’s filmography, and also their highest grossing film to date when adjusted for inflation, with a whopping $483 million in its original run back in 2003. Not only was that a remarkable feat for an original animated film, but it did that during one of the most crowded summers on record. Now, more then a decade later, it has a much wider potential audience. Not only do you have any family audiences familiar with Pixar, but you also have kids that grew up watching the original who are nostalgiac fans, ready to see the characters again. Throw in a 95% on Rotten Tomatoes, and there’s a very good chance that it winds up with over $120 million for the weekend.

For historical comparisons, last years Inside Out took in $91 million on its opening weekend, which was far above its $70 million expectations. Toy Story 3 is probably the closest comparison, however, with $116 million back in 2010. With a bit wider audience and less competition, it seems like Finding Dory can wind up a good bit above that.

Also opening this weekend is action comedy Central Intelligence, a fairly standard looking buddy cop movie that has entirely relied on its two stars to make it a hit, right down to using both of their last names in the films tagline. Kevin Hart may not have the appeal that he used to, but Dwayne Johnson definitely does. He managed to get San Andreas to over $50 million last summer. There are more than enough jokes in the trailer to make it seem worthwhile, and could work as a solid mixup to traditional summer fare. There’s a good chance that Central Intelligence ends up opening with over $30 million.

As far as last weekends releases, they’ll probably see above average drops. That’s typical for smaller releases that come out before the weekend of a mega blockbuseter; films like Spy and Insidious: Chapter 3 saw abnormally large drops last year after the release of Jurassic World, but managed to bounce back in the later weeks. Warcraft will probably drop around 65% or more, while The Conjuring 2 and Now You See Me 2 will probably drop over 50%.

In the limited release market, Eli Roth’s Clown is opening in a very surprising 100 theaters. The film was made in 2014 with virtually zero budget, and shelved for the past few years. Typically, a midnight movie like this would get a Video On Demand release or be unceremoniously dumped into a few theaters before disappearing. However, 100 theaters is surprising, but ultimately Clown probably won’t hit $100K for the weekend.

Bar for Success

Finding Dory is in good shape if it hits $100 million for the weekend. Meanwhile, Central Intelligence is in good shape at $30 million.

Predictions

  1. Finding Dory – $139M
  2. Central Intelligence – $36M
  3. The Conjuring 2 – $19.5M
  4. Now You See Me 2 – $10M
  5. Warcraft – $8.5M