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2016 Preview: June

June 1st, 2016

Finding Dory

May was great, as long as you don't compare it to last May. Captain America: Civil War was a monster hit and is closing in on $400 million, while both X-Men: Apocalypse and The Angry Birds Movie will earn over $100 million. Looking ahead, every week in June, there is one movie that should top $100 million; however, only Finding Dory is expected to make more than $200 million. In fact, that film is expected to make close to $400 million domestically and over $1 billion worldwide. Last June, there were two monster hits, Inside Out and Jurassic World, plus one $100 million hit, Spy. I don't see how 2016 will top that. Even if every film with a shot at $100 million gets to that milestone, 2016 still might not top last year's pace. Fortunately, 2016 does have a large lead and that could be enough to keep 2016 ahead of 2015's pace in the year-over-year competition. It could be really close at the end of the month, on the other hand.

Weekend of June 3rd, 2016

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows

The month starts off with three wide releases: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, Me Before You, and Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping. Out of the Shadows is by far the biggest release of the week and it will make more than the other two films combined, perhaps a lot more. Me Before You is a romantic drama, but not based on a book by Nicholas Sparks. I think this will help it at the box office. Popstar is the latest film from Lonely Island. Their first film, Hot Rod, bombed. Hopefully this one doesn't suffer the same fate. This weekend last year, there were also three wide releases: Spy, Insidious Chapter 3, and Entourage. The TMNT film has a higher box office potential than Spy, plus it should be a lot more front-loaded. That should help 2016 win in the year-over-year competition.

Me Before You

Me Before You poster
Trailer: Click to Play
Official Site: MeBeforeYouMovie.com
Distributor: Warner Bros.
Release Date: June 3rd, 2016
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for thematic elements and some suggestive material.
Source: Based on Fiction Book/Short Story
Genre: Drama
Keywords: Romance, Confined to a Wheelchair, Paralysis, Assisted Suicide, Accidental Injury
Directed By: Thea Sharrock
Written By: Scott Neustadter, Michael H. Weber
Starring: Sam Claflin, Emilia Clarke
Production Budget: Reported at $20 million
Box Office Potential: $50 million

If I were only allowed to use one word to describe this movie, it would be tearjerker. This isn't a complaint, just a statement of fact. Because of this, I don't expect its reviews to be in the overall positive level. Critics tend to watch a hundred movies a year, some times a lot more than that, and there are certain sins that critics usually don't forgive and being emotionally manipulative is one of them. However, this isn't an issue for this film's target audience. They go in knowing their heartstrings will be played with. As long as the chemistry between Sam Claflin and Emilia Clarke is as good as it looks in the trailer, then this movie will be a hit. I don't think it will come close to $100 million, but even getting halfway there will be enough to break even during its initial push on the home market.

Last Minute Update: When I first wrote my prediction, the film's Tomatometer Score was at 40% positive. That's not good, but not fatal for this type of release. However, since then it has climbed above the 50% positive level and just hit the overall positive mark. Because of this, I've increased the film's box office potential from $40 million to $50 million. If it can stay above 60% positive, then its box office potential might grow even more.

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping poster
Trailer: Click to Play
Official Site: PopstarMovie.com/
Distributor: Universal
Release Date: June 3rd, 2016
MPAA Rating: R for some graphic nudity, language throughout, sexual content and drug use.
Source: Based on Web Series
Genre: Comedy
Keywords: Musicians, Pop Music, Music Industry, Spoof, Directing Yourself, Screenplay Written By the Star, Gratuitous Cameos, Comeback, Boy Band, Saturday Night Live
Directed By: Akiva Schaffer, Jorma Taccone
Written By: Andy Samberg, Akiva Schaffer, Jorma Taccone
Starring: Andy Sandberg, Jorma Taccone, Akiva Schaffer, Imogen Poots
Production Budget: Estimated at $25 million
Box Office Potential: $25 million

Popstar is a mockumentary about a popstar, Andy Sandberg, who is struggling after his sophomore album flops. He needs to regain his fame and is willing to do anything, except rejoin his old boy band.

Lonely Island have made some of the most popular viral videos around, including the Emmy winning music video for "Dick in a Box". ... I double-checked. It did win an Emmy. Anyhow, despite this popularity, the buzz for this movie is awfully quiet and not positive either. This film has the weakest buzz of of the three wide releases this week and arguably the weakest buzz of any wide release opening this month. (The Shallows is the only wide release in June that is earning weaker buzz. It's an odd case, but we will get to that later.) I think the film will do better than Hot Rod did, but it will need to find a loyal following on the home market to break even.

Last Minute Update: The early reviews are in... well, review. There's only one on Rotten Tomatoes, but it is positive. Hopefully this is a good omen, but it is not enough to make me change my opinion on the film's box office potential.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows poster
Trailer: Click to Play
Official Site: TeenageMutantNinjaTurtlesMovie.com
Distributor: Paramount Pictures
Release Date: June 3rd, 2016
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sci-fi action violence.
Source: Based on Comic/Graphic Novel
Genre: Adventure
Keywords: Live Action Cartoon, Mutants, Mad Scientist, Revenge, Alternative Dimensions / Parallel universe, Independent/Other Comics
Directed By: David Green
Written By: Josh Applebaum, Andre Nemec
Starring: Megan Fox, Will Arnett, William Fichtner
Production Budget: Estimated at $150 million
Box Office Potential: $125 million

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles opened in 2014. The film earned terrible reviews, but still managed to make nearly $200 million domestically and close to $500 million worldwide. It comes as no surprise that a sequel has been made. The sequel, Out of the Shadows, is the biggest release of the week and the trailer does look better than the trailers for the first film did. However, when an audience is burned the first time, it takes more than an okay trailer to get them back. If the reviews are in the 60% positive range, then perhaps it can come close to matching its predecessor. If it is barely better, or even worse, then $125 million is as good as it gets. The above box office potential is a weighted average of those two extremes.

Last minute update: The reviews are trickling in and they are not good, to put it mildly. A Tomatometer Score of 20% positive is actually worse than the first film's reviews were. I'm dropping the film's box office potential from $150 million to $125 million. Perhaps this is an over-correction, or perhaps this is still too bullish.

Weekend of June 10th, 2016

The Conjuring 2: The Enfield Poltergeist

There are three wide releases coming out this week and while none of them are expected to be truly monster hits, all of them at least have a shot at $100 million. The Conjuring 2: The Enfield Poltergeist is the only one that has a better than 50/50 shot of getting to the century mark, as it would have to fall nearly 30% from the original to not get there. The original Now You See Me earned nearly $120 million domestically, but Now You See Me 2 is expected to miss that mark by tens of millions of dollars. $100 million remains a possibility, but it probably won't get there. Finally there's Warcraft. When the studio gave the okay to a $160 million production budget, they were expecting at least $100 million domestically in return. If the buzz is accurate, it won't come close to that number. This weekend last year, Jurassic World opened with over $200 million. This year, the entire box office won't get to $200 million. It likely won't even be close. 2016 is going to take a beating in the year-over-year comparison.

The Conjuring 2: The Enfield Poltergeist

The Conjuring 2: The Enfield Poltergeist poster
Trailer: Click to Play
Official Site: TheConjuring2.com/
Distributor: Warner Bros.
Release Date: June 10th, 2016
MPAA Rating: R for terror and horror violence.
Source: Original Screenplay
Genre: Thriller/Suspense
Keywords: Hauntings, Based on an UNTRUE Story, Haunted House, London
Directed By: James Wan
Written By: James Wan, Chad Hayes, Carey Hayes
Starring: Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Madison Wolfe, Frances O'Connor
Production Budget: Estimated at $25 million to $30 million
Box Office Potential: $105 million

The first film was one of the biggest surprise hits of 2013. It was a horror film that cost just $20 million to make, but earned double that during its opening weekend. Furthermore, its reviews gave it much better legs than most films of its genre have. It's already had a spin-off, Annabelle, which wasn't as well received by critics, but was still a massive hit for the genre. Additionally, most analysts think The Enfield Poltergeist will bounce back at the box office, thanks in part to the returning stars and will become the biggest hit of the weekend. Expectations are bullish, for the genre, and most think it will earn more than $100 million domestically. This is enough to continue make more installments in the franchise.

Now You See Me 2

Now You See Me 2 poster
Trailer: Click to Play
Official Site: NowYouSeeMe.movie/
Distributor: Lionsgate
Release Date: June 10th, 2016
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for violence and some language.
Source: Original Screenplay
Genre: Thriller/Suspense
Keywords: Stage Magician, Heist, Sequels Without Their Original Stars
Directed By: Jon M. Chu
Written By: Ed Solomon, Pete Chiarelli
Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Dave Franco, Lizzy Caplan, Daniel Radcliffe, Mark Ruffalo
Production Budget: Estimated at $70 million to $90 million
Box Office Potential: $90 million

Lionsgate needs this movie to be a huge hit. So far this year, Lionsgate hasn't has a single box office hit, not even a midlevel hit. They've released two movies that cost more than $100 million to make. Neither one will break even. Not only is Lionsgate on a massive losing streak this year, they've already started working on the third installment of this franchise. They need Now You See Me 2 to be a hit, or people could start losing jobs over there.

Now You See Me did earn more than $100 million domestically and $350 million worldwide, so there is reason to be hopeful. However, its reviews were mixed. Because of this, Now You See Me 2 will likely fail to match its predecessor at the box office. As long as it comes close, it will break even, eventually. $75 million domestically will probably be enough to break even, eventually. $90 million will likely be enough to justify a third installment.

Warcraft

Warcraft poster
Trailer: Click to Play
Official Site: WarcraftMovie.com
Distributor: Universal
Release Date: June 10th, 2016
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for extended sequences of intense fantasy violence.
Source: Based on Game
Genre: Action
Keywords: Sword & Sorcerer, Invented Language, Visual Effects
Directed By: Duncan Jones
Written By: Duncan Jones
Starring: Paula Patton, Ben Foster, Travis Fimmel, Toby Kebbell, Dominic Cooper
Production Budget: Reported at $160 million
Box Office Potential: $75 million

Warcraft is the latest attempt by Hollywood to turn a successful video game into a movie. There haven't been any such films that have earned overwhelmingly positive reviews and this one won't change that. Its Tomatometer Score is merely 24% positive, making it one of the worst-reviewed wide releases of the year, so far. On the other hand, it had a stellar opening in Russia at $10 million and did well in Germany and France as well. If it does as well here, it could be a $100 million hit. However, I think the reviews will hurt its buzz over the coming ten days and that will sink its chances.

Weekend of June 17th, 2016

Finding Dory

Finding Dory opens this week and if the Fandango survey was accurate, it is the most anticipated family film of the summer. It is expected to top Zootopia domestically and finish with over $1 billion worldwide. Central Intelligence will be playing the role of counter-programming this week and the buzz suggests it will do well in that role. It even has a good shot at $100 million domestically. This weekend last year, Jurrassic World led the way with $106 million, while Inside Out opened in second place with $90 million. There's no way 2016 will be able to match that result and we will see another year-over-year loss for 2016.

Central Intelligence

Central Intelligence poster
Trailer: Click to Play
Official Site: CentralIntelligenceMovie.com/
Distributor: Warner Bros.
Release Date: June 17th, 2016
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for crude and suggestive humor, some nudity, action violence and brief strong language.
Source: Original Screenplay
Genre: Comedy
Keywords: High School Hell, Bullies, C.I.A., High School Reunions
Directed By: Rawson Marshall Thurber
Written By: Ike Barinholtz, David Stassen
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart
Production Budget: Reported at $60 million
Box Office Potential: $115 million

Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart star as former high school classmates. Kevin Hart was the big man on campus, while Dwayne Johnson was the overweight target of bullies. They meet again at their high school reunion, only now Dwayne Johnson is a CIA agent who asks Kevin Hart's help to crack an important case. Things quickly escalate.

Central Intelligence is playing the counter-programming role for the week; however, there's not a lot of crossover appeal for this film and Finding Dory, so it shouldn't be hurt too badly at the box office. (On a side note, I want to see both movies, but I'm likely in the minority.) Both lead actors have had their share of hits and misses in the past few years, but this genre fits their acting talents very well. I think it will be a solid $100 million hit and this is the type of action comedy that could spawn a sequel or two.

Finding Dory

Finding Dory poster
Trailer: Click to Play
Official Site: movies.disney.co.uk/finding-dory
Distributor: Walt Disney
Release Date: June 17th, 2016
MPAA Rating: PG for mild thematic elements.
Source: Original Screenplay
Genre: Adventure
Keywords: Delayed Sequel, Sequel With Lead Character Recast, Underwater, Animal Lead, Talking Animals, Faulty Memory, 3-D
Directed By: Andrew Stanton
Written By:
Starring: Ellen DeGeneres, Albert Brooks, Hayden Rolence, Diane Keaton, Eugene Levy
Production Budget: Estimated at $200 million
Box Office Potential: $375 million

For many years, Finding Nemo was Pixar's biggest hit and even today, Toy Story 3 is the studio's only film ahead of it at the box office. It makes sense for them to make a sequel and if the buzz is to be believed, it has a shot at becoming the biggest hit in the studio's history and the biggest hit of the year, so far. If it doesn't at least top Zootopia, I will be a little disappointed, while it could become the second $400 million hit of the year. Worldwide, it should reach $1 billion putting Toy Story 3's reign on top in danger of ending.

On a side note, Zootopia is also inching its way to $1 million worldwide. If it gets there and Finding Dory does too, then Disney will have three $1 billion hits in one year. That will tie the record set last year by Universal. More impressively, if both of those films get to $1 billion, Disney will break the record later this year with Star Wars: Rogue One. Furthermore, those four films might be the only films to hit $1 billion this year. No studio has ever dominated the top of the chart like that. There are a lot of ifs there, but it does give us something to look forward to.

Weekend of June 24th, 2016

Independence Day: Resurgence

The final weekend of the month includes one of the most expensive films of the summer, Independence Day: Resurgence. The original Independence Day was one of the biggest hits of all time, when it came out. That was 20 years ago, so fans of the franchise might have moved on. Meanwhile, Free State of Jones feels like a movie that should be released in October or November. It's more of an early Awards Season release and not a heart of summer release. Because it feels out of place, and because its distributor isn't one of the big six, most analysts don't have high hopes for its box office chances. This weekend last year, Ted 2 was the best new release of the week with $33.51 million, while Jurrassic World and Inside Out were in a virtual tie for top spot with $52 million each. Unless Independence Day: Resurgence is a surprise monster hit, 2016 is going to lose in the year-over-year comparison, again. At this point, 2016 might actually fall behind 2015's pace. One last note, The Shallows also opens wide in June, technically speaking. Its release date is June 29th, which is the Wednesday before the first weekend in July. Because of that, we are treating that movie as a July release and we will talk about it at the end of the month.

Free State of Jones

Free State of Jones poster
Trailer: Click to Play
Official Site: STXMovies.com/FreeStateOfJones
Distributor: STX Entertainment
Release Date: June 24th, 2016
MPAA Rating: Not Yet Rated - Very likely aiming for PG-13
Source: Based on Real Life Events
Genre: Drama
Keywords: The Civil War, 1800s, Romance, Interracial Romance
Directed By: Gary Ross
Written By: Gary Ross
Starring: Matthew McConaughey
Production Budget: Reported at $65 million
Box Office Potential: $40 million

The biggest hit released by STX Entertainment was The Gift, which earned less than $50 million domestically. Free State of Jones was a lot more expensive than The Gift was, but it is not expected to be a much larger hit. Fortunately, STX only put up $20 million of the film's $65 million budget, so it won't need to make $100 million for the distributor to break even. I would be more bullish about the film's chances if it were coming out during Awards Season, because Awards Season buzz could have helped it at the box office. There are a few reasons why STX might not have gone this route. Firstly, they could be worried about the competition from other Awards Season contenders. Secondly, they could be worried about their ability to run an Awards Season campaign. Thirdly, they could be worried about the movie's quality. Maybe it just looks like an Awards Season contender, but it really isn't. Let's hope it is not that third one.

Independence Day: Resurgence

Independence Day: Resurgence poster
Trailer: Click to Play
Official Site: FoxMovies.com/Movies/Independence-Day-Resurgence
Distributor: 20th Century Fox
Release Date: June 24th, 2016
MPAA Rating: Not Yet Rated - Very likely aiming for PG-13
Source: Original Screenplay
Genre: Action
Keywords: Delayed Sequel, Sequels Without Their Original Stars, Sequel With Lead Character Recast, Alien Invasion, Visual Effects
Directed By: Roland Emmerich
Written By: James A. Woods, Nicholas Wright
Starring: Liam Hemsworth, Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman, Jessie Usher
Production Budget: Reported at $200 million
Box Office Potential: $175 million

Independence Day came out in 1996 and was a monster hit. Not only was is the biggest hit of the year, it was the second biggest hit of all time, falling just behind Jurassic Park. In fact, it wasn't until last year that the film was finally knocked out of the top fifty on the All-Time Worldwide Chart. Of course they made a sequel. It would be financially irresponsible to not make a sequel. ... However, perhaps waiting 20 years to do so was a mistake.

I'm not saying I think Independence Day: Resurgence is going to bomb; in fact, it could do well enough to get another sequel, hopefully it won't take 20 years to arrive. The buzz isn't that loud, even Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows has louder buzz, barely, but Resurgence has four weeks to get its buzz to grow. If its reviews are good, then it could have a chance at $200 million domestically. Even if it doesn't get there, it will likely do very well internationally.

Filed under: Monthly Preview, Central Intelligence, Warcraft, Finding Dory, Independence Day: Resurgence, The Conjuring 2: The Enfield Poltergeist, Me Before You, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, Now You See Me 2, Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping, The Shallows, The Conjuring, Now You See Me, Bill Pullman, Will Arnett, Ike Barinholtz, Albert Brooks, Lizzy Caplan, Dominic Cooper, Ellen DeGeneres, Jesse Eisenberg, Roland Emmerich, Vera Farmiga, William Fichtner, Ben Foster, Megan Fox, Jeff Goldblum, Woody Harrelson, Kevin Hart, Dwayne Johnson, Diane Keaton, Toby Kebbell, Eugene Levy, Matthew McConaughey, Frances O'Connor, Paula Patton, Imogen Poots, Daniel Radcliffe, Gary Ross, Mark Ruffalo, Andy Samberg, Andrew Stanton, Jorma Taccone, James Wan, Patrick Wilson, Dave Franco, Liam Hemsworth, Nicholas Wright, Ed Solomon, Duncan Jones, James A. Woods, Sam Claflin, Akiva Schaffer, David Green, , Andre Nemec, Chad Hayes, Carey Hayes, Jon M. Chu, Madison Wolfe, Nicholas Sparks, Scott Neustadter, Michael H. Weber, Emilia Clarke, Rawson Marshall Thurber, Travis Fimmel, Andy Sandberg, Jessie Usher, Pete Chiarelli, Thea Sharrock, David Stassen, Hayden Rolence