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2016 Preview: July

July 1st, 2016

The Secret Life of Pets

It's July 1st, which is Canada Day. To celebrate, I wanted to give a gift to my American readers down south, so here's a bunch of "u"s. U, u, u, u, u, u, u, u, u, u, u, u, u, u, u, u, u, u, u, u, u, u, u, u, u, u, u, u, u, u, u, u, u, u, u, u, u, u, u, u, u, u, u, u. Now you can spell words like "colour" and "neighbour" correctly. As for the July preview... June wasn't a good month, despite Finding Dory being on pace to become the biggest hit of the year so far. Most other films failed to match expectations and as a result, 2016's lead over 2015 has nearly evaporated. In fact, ticket sales are below last year's pace. So how does July look in comparison? Well, last July, there were five films that earned more than $100 million, led by Minions, which earned more than $300 million. This July, there are five films that should earn more than $100 million, led by The Secret Life of Pets, which should earned around $250 million. I don't think July 2016 will live up to July 2015, but it should be close. Maybe if one of the expected midlevel hits is a surprise $100 million hit, or if two more of the $100 million hits crack $200 million, then the month will look great. Or one of the expected $100 million hits could flop and 2016 will actually fall behind 2015, even without taking into account ticket price inflation.

Weekend of July 1st, 2016

The BFG

The first weekend of the month is arguably the weakest weekend of the month. There are three films opening wide, but none of them are expected to reach $100 million at the box office. In fact, Finding Dory is expected to be the top film over the weekend. The BFG is the only one of the three that has a shot at $100 million, but it's a long shot. It's a family film so the direct competition from Dory is hurting its box office chances. Some think The Purge: Election Year will become the biggest hit in the franchise. I am not one of those people. Finally there's The Legend of Tarzan. The film could be one of the most expensive bombs of the year with a production budget of close to $200 million. There is good news, as this weekend last year, both Terminator: Genisys and Magic Mike XXL missed expectations, so 2016 should start the month off on a winning note.

The BFG

The BFG poster
Trailer: Click to Play
Official Site: Movies.Disney.com/The-BFG
Distributor: Walt Disney
Release Date: July 1st, 2016
MPAA Rating: PG for action/peril, some scary moments and brief rude humor.
Source: Based on Fiction Book/Short Story
Genre: Adventure
Keywords: Orphan, Orphanage, Giants, London, United Kingdom
Directed By: Steven Spielberg
Written By: Melissa Mathison, Roald Dahl
Starring: Mark Rylance, Ruby Barnhill
Production Budget: $140 million
Box Office Potential: $80 million

A family-friendly film based on a popular kids book and directed by one of the greatest directors around. Why isn't this film expected to be a massive hit? Oh right, Finding Dory. Originally, I expected Finding Dory to earn $375 million in total. It will top that figure over the weekend. This level of competition will likely prevent The BFG from reaching the century mark. Its reviews are good, but not great, so its legs will likely also be good, but not great. The best it can hope for is second place during its opening weekend, while it should come relatively close to $100 million domestically, it won't get there. I think it will do better internationally, so it could break even, despite its massive $140 million production budget.

The Legend of Tarzan

The Legend of Tarzan poster
Trailer: Click to Play
Official Site: LegendOfTarzan.com/
Distributor: Warner Bros.
Release Date: July 1st, 2016
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sequences of action and violence, some sensuality and brief rude dialogue.
Source: Based on Fiction Book/Short Story
Genre: Adventure
Keywords: Africa, Animal Lead, Government Corruption
Directed By: David Yates
Written By: Adam Cozad, Craig Brewer, Craig Brewer, Adam Cozad, Edgar Rice Burroughs
Starring: Alexander Skarsgård, Margot Robbie
Production Budget: Reported at $180 million
Box Office Potential: $60 million

This movie reportedly cost $180 million to make. Despite this, I can register almost no buzz for this movie. Even box office misses like Alice Through the Looking Glass had better buzz than this film has. Additionally, its reviews are awful at just 33% positive. I think this will be the weakest of the three movies opening wide this week.

The Purge: Election Year

The Purge: Election Year poster
Trailer: Click to Play
Official Site: ThePurgeElectionYear.com/
Distributor: Universal
Release Date: July 1st, 2016
MPAA Rating: R for disturbing bloody violence and strong language.
Source: Original Screenplay
Genre: Horror
Keywords: Political, Politicians, Political Campaign, Political Assasination, Survival Horror, Washington, D.C., Government Corruption
Directed By: James DeMonaco
Written By: James DeMonaco
Starring: Frank Grillo, Elizabeth Mitchell, Mykelti Williamson
Production Budget: Estimated at $10 million
Box Office Potential: $65 million

This is the third film in the franchise. The previous two films were both midlevel hits on very low budgets, so it is no surprise there's another installment coming out. The film's reviews are the best in the franchise, but are still merely good and not great. Some think this will be the biggest hit in the franchise so far, but the buzz isn't very good and the summer has been brutal to most sequels. Also, I think the overt politics could turn off some of its potential audience. I think it will be a financial hit, but not the biggest in the franchise.

Weekend of July 8th, 2016

The Secret Life of Pets

This week The Secret Life of Pets debuts and it is widely expected to be the biggest hit of the month. It could be the only $200 million hit of the month and potentially the last $200 million hit of summer. On the other hand, Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates is playing the roll of counter-programming and is just looking to become a midlevel hit. I think it will get there. This weekend last year, Minions opened with $115.72 million. There's practically no chance The Secret Life of Pets will match that. 2016 will have better depth, but not by enough to make up for the weakness at the top.

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates poster
Trailer: Click to Play
Official Site: FoxMovies.com/Movies/Mike-and-Dave-Need-Wedding-Dates
Distributor: 20th Century Fox
Release Date: July 8th, 2016
MPAA Rating: R for crude sexual content, language throughout, drug use and some graphic nudity.
Source: Original Screenplay
Genre: Comedy
Keywords: Dysfunctional Family, Wedding Day, Wedding Day Disasters, Hawaii
Directed By: Jake Szymanski
Written By: Andrew Jay Cohen, Brendan O'Brien
Starring: Zac Efron, Anna Kendrick, Adam DeVine, Aubrey Plaza, Sugar Lyn Beard
Production Budget: Estimated at $20 million to $40 million
Box Office Potential: $50 million

Mike and Dave's sister is getting married and their family insists they get dates, respectable dates, if they are to attend the wedding in Hawaii. Instead, they get conned by Alice and Tatiana, who are wilder than they are.

This is an R-rated comedy, which is a genre that is no longer on its peak in terms of box office potential. Additionally, Zac Efron has already starred in two such films this year and neither one was more than just a midlevel hit. That said, if the film can make $50 million domestically and $100 million worldwide, then it will break even early in its home market run.

The Secret Life of Pets

The Secret Life of Pets poster
Trailer: Click to Play
Official Site: thesecretlifeofpets.com
Distributor: Universal
Release Date: July 8th, 2016
MPAA Rating: PG for action and some rude humor.
Source: Original Screenplay
Genre: Adventure
Keywords: Animal Lead, Talking Animals, New York City, New York, Slobs vs. Snobs, Missing Pet
Directed By: Chris Renaud, Yarrow Cheney
Written By: Cinco Paul, Ken Daurio
Starring: Louis C.K., Kevin Hart, Eric Stonestreet
Production Budget: Reported at $75 million
Box Office Potential: $250 million

When Max's owner brings home a new dog, Duke, he decides to try to get rid of it, so his life will return to normal. Instead, he gets thrust into an adventure. ... When you write it like that, this more sounds like Toy Story. Maybe that's why I'm not interested in seeing it. If just doesn't feel new or fresh. On the other hand, the film's target audience wasn't born when Toy Story came out, so this will likely not have a great impact at the box office. The early reviews are excellent, even if they are not as good as Finding Dory's reviews are. Also, Illumination Entertainment is coming off of their biggest hit, so I'm bullish about this film's chances. I'm not quite as bullish as some, so keep that in mind. It could be a monster hit.

Weekend of July 15th, 2016

Ghostbusters

This will be an interesting week, as one of the most controversial releases of the summer debuts. Ghostbusters is a remake of the 1984 classic. Remaking the film has generated a lot of outrage from certain groups. On the other hand, outside of these groups, the buzz isn't bad. It was the Most Anticipated Comedy of the Summer in the Fandango survey. Plus, it has the weekend nearly to itself. The only other wide release of the week is The Infiltrator, which is not only opening on the Wednesday, but might not open truly wide. This weekend last year, Ant-Man debut with $57.23 million. I don't see Ghostbusters matching that figure, while The Infiltrator has no chance of topping Trainwreck's $30.10 million opening. 2016 is going to lose in the year-over-year comparison.

Ghostbusters

Ghostbusters poster
Trailer: Click to Play
Official Site: Ghostbusters.com
Distributor: Sony Pictures
Release Date: July 15th, 2016
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for supernatural action and some crude humor.
Source: Remake
Genre: Comedy
Keywords: New York City, Reboot, Hauntings, Paranormal Investigation, Entrepreneur, Genderbending Casting, Inventor, Gratuitous Cameos
Directed By: Paul Feig
Written By: Paul Feig, Katie Dippold
Starring: Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Leslie Jones, Kate McKinnon
Production Budget: Reported at $154 million
Box Office Potential: $115 million

The original Ghostbusters from 1984 is widely considered a classic. The sequel isn't terrible, but it isn't good either. It's a solidly "meh". Despite that, there have been talk about making a third film in the franchise for years. More recently, there was talk of a reboot, and finally a gender-bending reboot. There was an immediate backlash and the first trailer didn't help. That said, the international trailer was better, as was the second trailer, and outside of the "Feminists Ruin Everything" crowd, the buzz is actually starting to improve. I suspect the film won't be a classic, but it should be better than the sequel was.

On a side note, the "Feminists Ruin Everything" crowd also attacked Mad Max: Fury Road and The Force Awakens, as well as the upcoming Rogue One. If Ghostbusters is a hit, then studios might actively look for scripts that will antagonize this group, because it will be good for business.

The Infiltrator

The Infiltrator poster
Trailer: Click to Play
Official Site: TheInfiltrator.com
Distributor: Broad Green Pictures
Release Date: July 13th, 2016
MPAA Rating: R for strong violence, language throughout, some sexual content and drug material.
Source: Based on Factual Book/Article
Genre: Thriller/Suspense
Keywords: 1980s, Narcotics, Smuggler, Organized Crime, Drug Cartels, Undercover
Directed By: Brad Furman
Written By: Ellen Brown, Robert Mazur
Starring: Bryan Cranston
Production Budget: Reported at $48 million
Box Office Potential: $20 million

Bryan Cranston plays a customs agent who goes undercover to bust a drug cartel's money laundering schemes. I'm not very bullish for one simple reason: Broad Green Pictures. Their biggest release so far is A Walk in the Woods, which didn't actually open truly wide. There is a chance this will open truly wide and become the distributor's biggest hit. Or it could open in less than 1,000 theaters and disappear before it hits $5 million. The above figure is a weighted average of the two extremes.

Weekend of July 22nd, 2016

Star Trek Beyond

It could be a close race at the box office this week, as Star Trek Beyond goes up against Ice Age: Collision Course. While the two long-running franchises fight it out, Lights Out hopes to eke out a box office in the counter-programming role. Horror films rarely do well at this time of year, but a low budget could help it be profitable. Meanwhile, this weekend last year, Ant-Man led the way with $24.91 million during its second weekend of release. There's a chance Star Trek Beyond makes more than that opening day. 2016 should have a serious advantage in the year-over-year comparison.

Ice Age: Collision Course

Ice Age: Collision Course poster
Trailer: Click to Play
Official Site: IceAgeMovie.com
Distributor: 20th Century Fox
Release Date: July 22nd, 2016
MPAA Rating: PG for mild rude humor and some action/peril.
Source: Original Screenplay
Genre: Adventure
Keywords: Animal Lead, Talking Animals, Prehistoric Times, End of the World, Disaster
Directed By: Mike Thurmeier, Galen Chu
Written By: Michael Berg, Yoni Brenner, Aubrey Solomon, Michael J. Wilson
Starring: Ray Romano, Queen Latifah, John Leguizamo, Denis Leary
Production Budget: Estimated at $100 million
Box Office Potential: $125 million

There's not much to say about this film. It is the fifth film in the franchise, a franchise that has been around for more than a decade. Clearly the age is having an effect, because the early reviews are awful. There is also a much bigger animated family film coming out just two weeks before this one does and that's hurting the buzz. I still think it will be a $100 million hit and it will likely be a massive hit internationally, but it won't match the franchise average so far.

Lights Out

Lights Out poster
Trailer: Click to Play
Official Site: LightsOutMovie.com/
Distributor: Warner Bros.
Release Date: July 22nd, 2016
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for terror throughout, violence including disturbing images, some thematic material and brief drug content.
Source: Based on Short Film
Genre: Horror
Keywords: Hauntings, Family Secrets, Director Remaking Their Own Movie
Directed By: David F. Sandberg
Written By: Eric Heisserer
Starring: Teresa Palmer, Gabriel Bateman, Maria Bello
Production Budget: Reported at $5 million
Box Office Potential: $30 million

A low-budget horror movie opening in the middle of summer. These are not uncommon, but they rarely have breakout success. Fortunately, it doesn't need to be a breakout hit to be a financial success. If it get to $30 million domestically, it will likely break even on the home market. If it gets to $50 million domestically, the studio will be looking to make a sequel or three.

Star Trek Beyond

Star Trek Beyond poster
Trailer: Click to Play
Official Site: www.startrekmovie.com
Distributor: Paramount Pictures
Release Date: July 22nd, 2016
MPAA Rating:
Source: Based on TV
Genre: Drama
Keywords: Posthumous Release, Screenplay Written By the Star, Marooned
Directed By: Justin Lin
Written By: Simon Pegg, Doug Jung
Starring: Chris Pine, Zoe Saldana, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban
Production Budget: Reported at $150 million
Box Office Potential: $160 million

This franchise is one of the longest running movie franchises of all time. It is also the third film in the reboot franchise. The first two films of the reboot earned amazing reviews, although as a long time fan of the franchise, I'm not sure why. Beyond is co-written by Simon Pegg, so I'm hoping he will understand the Star Trek universe more, while not alienating the new fans who loved the first two movies. It likely won't live up to the previous films at the box office, but if it can come close, it will break even sooner rather than later. I think this won't be a problem, because Paramount will be pushing this movie. They need it to be a hit, because their biggest box office release so far this year has been Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows. They haven't had a $200 million hit since Transformers: Age of Extinction. They haven't had a market share of above 10% since 2011. More bad news is going to further hurt their stock price. They need the win.

Weekend of July 29th, 2016

Bad Moms

The month ends with three wide releases, led by Jason Bourne. Universal needs this film to be a big hit, because it's been a bad year for them. Bad Moms could thrive in a counter-programming role becoming the biggest R-rated comedy of the summer. Meanwhile, I'm not 100% convinced Nerve will open truly wide. On the other hand, it likely didn't cost a ton to make either. (Cafe Society is reportedly expanding wide this week, but it appears that will be a few hundred theaters to just over one thousand and not a truly wide expansion.) This weekend last year, Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation opened with $55.52 million. Jason Bourne should match that and Bad Moms will top Vacation giving 2016 the win.

Bad Moms

Bad Moms poster
Trailer: Click to Play
Official Site: STXMovies.com/BadMoms/
Distributor: STX Entertainment
Release Date: July 29th, 2016
MPAA Rating: R for sexual material, full frontal nudity, language throughout, and drug and alcohol content.
Source: Original Screenplay
Genre: Comedy
Keywords: Dysfunctional Family, Girls' Night Out
Directed By: Jon Lucas, Scott Moore
Written By: Jon Lucas, Scott Moore
Starring: Mila Kunis, Christina Applegate, Kristen Bell, Kathryn Hahn
Production Budget: Estimated at $20 million
Box Office Potential: $50 million

I think Bad Moms will become the biggest hit in STX Entertainment history. That sounds more impressive than it is, because so far their biggest hit is The Gift, which made $44 million. R-rated comedies are off their box office peak, but those that have female leads tend to perform better than with male leads. There's still more novelty there. The film's buzz is good, for a film that doesn't open till the end of the month. I think it will be a solid midlevel hit on a relatively low budget.

Jason Bourne

Jason Bourne poster
Trailer: Click to Play
Official Site: JasonBourneMovie.com
Distributor: Universal
Release Date: July 29th, 2016
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, and brief strong language.
Source: Based on Fiction Book/Short Story
Genre: Action
Keywords: Sequels With Returning Stars, Secret Agent, Rogue Agent
Directed By: Justin Lin
Written By: Paul Greengrass, Christopher Rouse, Matt Damon, Robert Ludlum
Starring: Matt Damon, Alicia Vikander, Julia Stiles
Production Budget: Reported at $120 million
Box Office Potential: $150 million

The Bourne franchise was never a monster hit at the box office. Only one of the previous four films even cracked $300 million worldwide. This could explain why there is not a lot of buzz for this movie, at least not compared to the top $100 million hits. Granted, there's still nearly a full month before the film opens and its buzz should grow. If it doesn't, it's going to be yet another miss for Universal and they really can't afford it. Last year, they were the top studio worldwide. This year, they are in fourth place domestically and their biggest hit so far, Warcraft, is a co-production and they don't get a dime of the film's Chinese box office. Ouch. Fortunately, they do have The Secret Life of Pets opening earlier in the month, so there is at least some bright spot to look forward to.

On a side note, if they kill off Nicky Parsons just to give Jason Bourne motivation, then I'm done with the franchise. That's hack writing and something they already did.

Nerve

Nerve poster
Trailer: Click to Play
Official Site: PlayNerve.com/Movie
Distributor: Lionsgate
Release Date: July 27th, 2016
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for thematic material involving dangerous and risky behavior, some sexual content, language, drug content, drinking and nudity all involving teens.
Source: Based on Fiction Book/Short Story
Genre: Thriller/Suspense
Keywords: Internet, Reality TV
Directed By: Henry Joost, Ariel Schulman
Written By: Jessica Sharzer, Jeanne Ryan
Starring: Emma Roberts, Dave Franco
Production Budget: Estimated at $10 million
Box Office Potential: $20 million

I don't have high hopes for this film for a few reasons. Firstly, these is not a lot of star power and very little buzz to compensate. Secondly, it is the smallest of the three wide releases and it could get lost in the crowd. And finally, the plot is similar to 13 Game of Death and its English-language remake, 13 Sins. If it gets a reputation as a rip-off, its box office chances are sunk.

Filed under: Monthly Preview, Ghostbusters, The Secret Life of Pets, Jason Bourne, Ice Age: Collision Course, The Legend of Tarzan, The BFG, Lights Out, The Infiltrator, Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates, The Purge: Election Year, Star Trek Beyond, Bad Moms, Nerve, Café Society, Star Trek, Bourne, Ice Age, The Purge, Matt Damon, Christina Applegate, Kristen Bell, Maria Bello, Louis C.K., Bryan Cranston, Zac Efron, Paul Greengrass, Frank Grillo, Kathryn Hahn, Kevin Hart, Anna Kendrick, Mila Kunis, Queen Latifah, Denis Leary, John Leguizamo, Justin Lin, Melissa McCarthy, Elizabeth Mitchell, Teresa Palmer, Simon Pegg, Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Emma Roberts, Ray Romano, Mark Rylance, Zoe Saldana, Alexander Skarsgård, Steven Spielberg, Julia Stiles, Karl Urban, Kristen Wiig, Mykelti Williamson, David Yates, Dave Franco, Aubrey Plaza, Leslie Jones, Ariel Schulman, Henry Joost, Chris Renaud, Yoni Brenner, Melissa Mathison, Jon Lucas, Scott Moore, Ken Daurio, Cinco Paul, Yarrow Cheney, Robert Ludlum, Christopher Rouse, Roald Dahl, Brad Furman, Paul Feig, Alicia Vikander, Eric Stonestreet, Craig Brewer, Eric Heisserer, Sugar Lyn Beard, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Mike Thurmeier, Andrew Jay Cohen, Michael J. Wilson, Michael Berg, Adam DeVine, James DeMonaco, Brendan O'Brien, Galen Chu, Katie Dippold, Margot Robbie, Adam Cozad, Gabriel Bateman, Ellen Brown, Robert Mazur, Kate McKinnon, Jake Szymanski, Ruby Barnhill, Doug Jung, David F. Sandberg, Aubrey Solomon, Jessica Sharzer, Jeanne Ryan