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

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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 Report: ‘Ghostbusters’ Fizzles Out, ‘Pets’ Repeats in First

Melissa McCarthy;Kristen Wiig;Kate McKinnon;Leslie Jones

It wasn’t a great start, but thanks to a built in fanbase and plenty of media attention, Ghostbusters avoided being labeled a bomb with a $46 million opening weekend. That wasn’t enough to take first place, however, which instead went to The Secret Life of Pets, which took in $50 million over its second weekend. Meanwhile, Cafe Society got off to a fantastic start in limited release, while The Infiltrator flopped.

Ghostbusters had predictions all over the board in the weeks leading up to its release, with many claiming the film would be dead on arrival with a weekend of under $30 million, while others said that it would pull in over $70 million. Turns out neither of those were right, but the film still wound up on the lower end of those expectations. The controversy and nostalgia likely pushed it to a much higher opening then it would have otherwise, meaning that a potential sequel would have a difficult time recreating this number. A similar result happened with this summer’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, which made less than half of its predecessor despite better reviews and a slew of fan favorite characters. While it certainly wasn’t a flop, this will probably result in a drastically scaled back or even cancelled “cinematic universe”.

Director Paul Feig stated in an interview recently that the film would need to take in around $500 million worldwide just to break even, but there is the idea that Sony may be willing to take a small loss on this film if it means they can have a reliable franchise and kickstart their other plans, such as a male-oriented spinoff and several sequels. These plans are further evidenced by the “Ghost Corps” logo on both the poster and in the beginning of the film. However, that plan seems less likely now that the film failed to generate the opening that it really needed.

So where can Ghostbusters go from here? Well, there are some rumors that Sony has artificually inflated the numbers for this opening, and that when the actuals come in it could be notably lower. Take this with a grain of salt, of course, but it wouldn’t be terribly surprising. Between a rush of fans and curious moviegoers wanting to see the film as soon as possible, combined with a mediocre B+ Cinemascore and a slew of competition on the horizon (Star Trek BeyondIce Age: Collision Course, Lights OutJason Bourne and Suicide Squad) it’s looking like Ghostbusters is going to play less like a Paul Feig movie and more like a traditional blockbuster. If the $46 million number holds, it will likely wind up somewhere around $120-$130 million. If it’s lower, then perhaps around $110 million, but only time will tell.

In first place, The Secret Life of Pets was down 52% to $50.5 million. That’s not a great hold, but the film is doing so well that it doesn’t really mean all that much. Illumination Entertainment’s releases tend to be a bit more front loaded than other studios, but it can still likely wind up with over $300 million. In fact, there’s a decent chance that it winds up outgrossing Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, which would bump the DC tentpole down to 7th place. With several other contenders that could potentially do the same (Fantastic BeastsSuicide SquadMoana and Rogue One) there is a small but very real chance that Batman V Superman winds up outside of the top 10 for the year.

All the way down in 8th place, Broad Green Pictures’ The Infiltrator bombed with just $6.7 million since Wednesday. This is by far the biggest release yet for the new distributor, whose only other three releases are Knight of CupsThe Dark Horse and The Neon Demon, which bombed in wide release just a few weeks ago. With a budget of $47.5 million and a questionable release in just 1,600 theaters, it doesn’t look like The Infiltrator will be able to top $20 million domestically.

Among other holdovers, The Legend of Tarzan finally crossed the century mark with $11 million in its third weekend. This is easily one of the biggest surprises of the year, and could wind up with more than $120 million domestically. The Purge: Election Year is just days away from crossing the total gross of The Purge: Anarchy to become the highest grossing film in the series. With $6 million this weekend, it looks like the surprise horror hit will wind up close to $80 million, far more than originally expected.

Playing in just five theaters, Cafe Society got off to an excellent $355K, with a per theater average of $71K. That’s much higher than Irrational Man from the same weekend last year, but notably lower than Blue Jasmine from 2013, which took in over $100K average in 6 theaters. Still, this is an excellent start, and the film seems widely appealing enough to get some sort of nationwide expansion over the next few weeks. Elsewhere in the limited release market, Hillary’s America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party grossed a solid $82.5K from just 3 theaters. That’s a similar number to 2016: Obama’s America from 2012, which grossed around $33K from 1 theater back in 2012. Hillary’s America is expanding into 1,200 theaters next weekend, but hasn’t gotten anywhere near the amount of media attention that 2016 did. The latter ended up grossing over $33 million domestically, making it the second highest grossing political documentary ever, only behind Fahrenheit 9/11 from 2004.

 

 

Weekend Report: ‘Secret Life of Pets’ Roars Into First

secret-life-of-pets-4

Illumination Entertainment officially cemented itself as a major name in animation, with their latest film The Secret Life of Pets taking the highest opening ever for an original animated film. Thanks to its strong marketing campaign and appealing premise, the film opened to a phenomenal $103.1 million. That’s way higher than last years Inside Out and only around $12 million lower than Minions.

It’s really hard to overstate just how impressive this debut is. Even with the marketing, the premise of talking animals is usually not one that can lead to such a monstrous debut. Disney’s Zootopia had zero competition and ended up $28 million lower in its opening weekend. Granted, that was a February release as opposed to July, but it gives an indication of how credible Illumination is as a brand.

In fact, the only ones not celebrating this release are Sony Pictures. Next week, they have the highly controversial Ghostbusters set to open, and with a big chunk of the family audience taken out, it’s looking like Pets will be able to maintain first place next weekend.

Also opening was wedding comedy Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates, which took in a solid $16 million. That’s notably above the $10-$12 million expectations going into the weekend, but still isn’t a great start for a film that cost $33 million. For comparisons sake, Dirty Grandpa opened with around $11 million, while Neighbors 2 took in $21 million. Overall, this is a fine start for the R rated comedy, which should be able to pull in over $40 million by the end of its run.

Surprisingly, second place didn’t go to Finding Dory this weekend. Instead, The Legend of Tarzan held surprisingly well after its breakout 4th of July weekend, down just 47% to $20.6 million. That brings it up to $80 million in just two weeks, and should be able to top the $100 million mark without breaking a sweat. At this point, it seems likely that the film winds up with over $110 million, making it one of the biggest surprise hits of the year.

Don’t feel too bad for Finding Dory, however, as the film managed to top fellow Disney release Captain America: Civil War to become the highest grossing 2016 release to date.

The Purge: Election Year took an unsurprisingly sharp fall, down 63% to $11 million. Believe it or not, that’s actualy the best hold yet for any film in the franchise. That’s especially surprising consdering it seemed like the Fourth of July weekend would attract extra attention. The first film fell over 70% in its second weekend, but that was mostly due to the very poor reception and word of mouth. By the third film, however, it became pretty clear what it was going to be, and audiences seemed to respond accordingly. With $58 million in just two weeks, it looks like Election Year will be able to pass the original film, and could even top the $71 million total of Anarchy. Don’t be surprised if a fourth Purge film gets greenlit any day now.

The final release from last weekend was The BFG, which failed to save face in its second week of release. Suffering a 60% drop, the film took in just $7.6 million. That’s less than half of what The Legend of Tarzan has made with the same amount of time in theaters, and about 2/3’s of what The Purge Election Year has made, despite costing fourteen times as much to produce.

In the limited release market, the only noteworthy opening was Captain Fantastic with a so-so $98K from four theaters. Given the strong reviews and appealing premise, it seemed like this really had the potential to break out, but a $24K per theater average for a film like this isn’t anything to write home about. It should be expanding in the next few weeks, but don’t expect it to get into more than 200-300 theaters at the most.

Action comedy Central Intelligence was able to top the century mark this weekend, bringing its new total to $108 million. Considering its still in sixth place, it should be able to wind up with around $120-$130 million by the end of its run. Speaking of which, The Conjuring 2 is just about to hit that same number, with a total of $99.3 million after 5 weeks of release.

 

 

Weekend Forecast: ‘Pets’ Set to Take First

the-secret-life-of-pets-trailer

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