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 Report: ‘Star Trek’ Takes Off, ‘Lights Out’ Shatters Expectations

lights-out-official-stills-017-1280x720

It was a very busy weekend at the box office, and moviegoers decided to spread the wealth, with five different films all making over $20 million this weekend. Among the newcomers, Star Trek Beyond took in a solid if unspectacular $59 million, but the real story was newcomer horror film Lights Out, which was able to make more than fellow newcomer Ice Age: Collision Course, which flopped in fifth place with just $20 million.

Star Trek Beyond is the third film in the rebooted Star Trek franchise, and took in an estimated $59.6 million in its opening weekend. Among its predecessors, Star Trek Into Darkness opened about $10 million higher, but it also opened on Thursday instead of Friday. Overall, this wasn’t a great start, but it was enough to avoid being labeled a disappointment. With a steady stream of competition in the next few weeks, look for Star Trek to finish with around $160 million.

In second, The Secret Life of Pets continued to do well, bringing in an additional $29 million. Despite being in its third week of release, that’s $9 million higher than Ice Age did in its opening weekend.

Third and fourth place were too close to tell; literally. Both Ghostbusters and Lights Out were estimated to take in the exact same amount, $21.6 million. This is extremely unusual, but my guess is that Lights Out edges out Ghostbusters by just a hair.

Regardless of which place it came in, Lights Out still did phenomenally well in its opening weekend. Carrying a production budget of just $4.9 million, the film pulled in a whopping $21.6 million, a fantastic start for a PG-13 horror film with no brand recognition or recognizable stars attached. This great start can be attributed to the films fantastic marketing, which did a great job of making the simple yet effective premise known in the first 30 seconds, in which a woman walking around an eerie textile factory sees some sort of figure that can only appear in the dark. Often times the most successful horror films are ones with some sort of simple, easily marketable premise. That isn’t everything, however; the film genuinely looked scary, and an 81% on Rotten Tomatoes likely convinced any skeptics to check it out. Director David Sandberg has already been picked up to helm Annabelle 2, set for release next may.

Continuing in the trend of disappointing sequels, Ice Age: Collision Course bombed with just $20 million all the way down in fifth place. Considering the $105 million production budget and recognizable franchise, this is a terrible start. Even with competition from Finding Dory and The Secret Life of Pets, there’s really no reason as to why any animated film from a major studio should open with less than $30 million. Even The Angry Birds Movie managed to pull in nearly double this, despite being based on a phone game that peaked in popularity years ago. This could wind up being another Warcraft, grossing over $400 million worldwide with only around 10% of which coming from the domestic market.

Several new noteworthy releases came out in the specialty market, including the British comedy Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie, which took in a solid $1.88 million from 313 theaters. Indian film Kabali grossed $4 million from 236 theaters since its excellent start on Wednesday. The only problem is that it was absurdly front loaded, making nearly half of that just from Wednesday alone, when it opened in third place. Hillary’s America expanded into nationwide release, making a solid $3.7 million from over 1,200 theaters. That’s a solid start for a documentary, and was likely aided by the Wikileaks release of over 20,000 DNC emails. That’s just lucky timing, but it will still probably gross over $10 million by the end of its run. Don’t Think Twice opened exclusively in one theater, and pulled in a phenomenal $90K. Given that the film is about a sketch comedy show, and New York is obviously the filming location of Saturday Night Live, the connection makes sense.

Among various holdovers, The Purge: Election Year became the highest grossing film in the series domestically, with an excellent $76 million and counting. Independence Day: Resurgence finally topped $100 million, but that’s really nothing to celebrate given that the first film did that in a matter of about 4 days when adjusted for inflation.

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