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2017 Preview: May

May 1st, 2017

Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2

April is over and thank god for that. The Fate of the Furious is currently the only film that was better than a midlevel hit, while Going in Style might end up being the second-biggest release of the month. On the low end, there were seven films on last month’s list that didn’t even manage to open in truly wide release (2,000 or more theaters). Fortunately, May looks a lot brighter. Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 should dominate the chart and get the month off to a fast start. Furthermore, every week there’s at least one film with a reasonable chance of earning $100 million domestically. Additionally, last May wasn’t particularly strong, so that should help 2017 overall. Granted, Captain America: Civil War earned more than $400 million, so the month got off to a fast start, but films struggled the rest of the way. The second-biggest film was X-Men: Apocalypse at just $155 million, while only one other movie, The Angry Birds Movie, earned more than $100 million. Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 should at least be competitive with Captain America: Civil War, allowing 2017 to win thanks to its superior depth.

Weekend of May 5th, 2017

Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2

Look for another win by the MCU. Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 is the 15th film in this mega-franchise and it is virtually guaranteed to be its 15th film to open in first place. It literally has no competition, as there are no other wide releases this week. Three Generations was supposed to open wide this week, but it is now opening in limited release with a planned semi-wide expansion later in the month. This weekend last year, Captain America: Civil War dominated the chart with nearly $180 million. Guardians of the Galaxy won’t match that, nor will any holdover top $10 million, so it is going to be a rough week for 2017 on the year-over-year comparison. It gets better for the rest of the month.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2
Trailer: Click to Play
Official Site: Movies.Disney.com/Guardians-of-the-Galaxy-Vol-2
Distributor: Walt Disney
Release Date: May 5th, 2017
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi action and violence, language, and brief suggestive content.
Source: Based on Comic/Graphic Novel
Genre: Action
Keywords: Marvel Comics, Humans as Aliens, Interspecies Romance, Romance, Unrequited Love, Adopted Family, Family Affair, Sibling Rivalry, Family Secrets, Psychics, Animal Lead, Talking Animals, Visual Effects, Digital Cinematography, 3-D, 3-D - Shot in 3-D
Directed By: James Gunn
Written By: James Gunn, Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning
Starring: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana
Production Budget: Unknown - estimated at $200 million
Box Office Potential: $375 million

Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 is the latest installment in the MCU. Frankly, that’s all you need to know to judge its box office chances. The mega-franchise hasn’t had a single box office flop and the original Guardians of the Galaxy was the biggest introductory movie so far. Furthermore, early reviews are stunning at a little below 90% positive. Granted, the first movie did earn slightly better reviews, but you would have to be a really aggressive Marvel hater to think 88% positive is a bad Tomatometer score. As for its box office chances, it appears to be on track for a $160 million opening and a $400 million domestic run.

Last Minute Update: The reviews have fallen from 88% positive to 87% positive. Even if it drops a few more percentage points, it will still be among the best wide releases of the year so far. More importantly, we have some more international numbers and they are mostly great. The average opening was 57% higher than Guardians of the Galaxy’s openings in the same markets. Vol. 2 won’t have the same legs, because sequels almost never do, but it could be on pace for close to $600 million internationally. I don’t think it will grow as much domestically; That said, I’m increasing my prediction from $375 million to $400 million.

Weekend of May 12th, 2017

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

The second weekend of May isn’t very busy with just two wide releases. (There are also two films that might open semi-wide, but are unlikely to make an impact at the box office.) King Arthur: Legend of the Sword wasn’t expected to well at the box office, but reports suggest the test screenings did really well and if this is true, it could really surprise at the box office earning $100 million domestically. Snatched is Amy Schumer’s follow-up to Trainwreck. That earlier film earned more than $100 million at the box office and there are some who think this film will do the same. I’m not that bullish, but I do expect it to become a solid midlevel hit. This weekend last year was the worst weekend of the month. Money Monster was the biggest release of the week and it only opened with under $15 million. Both new releases will top that helping 2017 end its mini-losing streak.

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword
Trailer: Click to Play
Official Site: KingArthurMovie.com/
Distributor: Warner Bros.
Release Date: May 12th, 2017
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sequences of violence and action, some suggestive content and brief strong language.
Source: Based on Folk Tale/Legend/Fairytale
Genre: Adventure
Keywords: Royalty, Prophecy, Orphan, Sword & Sorcerer, Footage Shown in Reverse, Young Child Dealing with the Death of a Parent, Revenge, Middle Ages
Directed By: Guy Ritchie
Written By: Joby Harold, Guy Ritchie, Lionel Wigram, David Dobkin, Joby Harold
Starring: Charlie Hunnam
Production Budget: Reported at $102 million
Box Office Potential: $80 million

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword is a gritty, more realistic look at the King Arthur legend. It feels like a film that was greenlit after the Nolan Batman Trilogy first came out and “gritty” was the most important keyword movie executives were looking for. That trend has run its course and as a result, the buzz for this movie was really weak. That said, there are reports early test screenings went so well that some theater chains decided to increase the number of theaters / screens this film would get. There are some who think this will help the movie get to $100 million domestically. Even so, I think the weak buzz has been around long enough to hurt the film’s box office chances and it would take a really effective ad campaign, plus great reviews, to turn things around at this point. I’ve increased my prediction from $60 million to $80 million and I wouldn’t be completely shocked if it earned $100 million, but I’m not going to be that bullish either.

Snatched

Snatched
Trailer: Click to Play
Official Site: Snatched.movie/
Distributor: 20th Century Fox
Release Date: May 12th, 2017
MPAA Rating: R for crude sexual content, brief nudity, and language throughout.
Source: Original Screenplay
Genre: Comedy
Keywords: Dysfunctional Family, Relationships Gone Wrong, Vacation, Tourists In Trouble, Screenplay Written By the Star
Directed By: Jonathan Levine
Written By: Amy Schumer, Kim Caramele, Katie Dippold
Starring: Amy Schumer, Goldie Hawn
Production Budget: Unknown - estimated at $40 million
Box Office Potential: $75 million

Snatched stars Goldie Hawn and Amy Schumer as mother and daughter who go on vacation and get into some serious trouble. ... Or comedic trouble. ... A high quantity of comedic trouble.

Trainwreck was a surprise hit with critics and earned more than $100 million domestically. If Snatched can do the same, then Amy Schumer will be one of the most in demand comedic actresses working today. That’s probably not going to happen, not unless the reviews are just as good, but even a $75 million domestic run will be enough to raise her stock further.

Weekend of May 19th, 2017

Alien: Covenant

The third weekend in May is the busiest weekend of the month with a total of three wide releases, which is the highest number of wide releases that should come out in a single weekend. Anything more and at least one film is nearly guaranteed to bomb due to overcrowding. Alien: Covenant will easily be the biggest release of the week and will earn more than the other two films combined. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul is a reboot to the Diary of a Wimpy Kid franchise, which previously averaged just over $50 million domestically. It is unlikely this film will help the average. Finally there’s Everything, Everything is the latest in the Dying Girl subgenre of Young Adult adaptation. It likely didn’t cost a lot to make, so it could be break even, if it manages just a modest box office run. This weekend last year also had three wide releases, led by The Angry Birds Movie at $38 million. I expect Alien: Covenant to top that, but 2017 will also be more top-heavy, so it could be a close race on the year-over-year comparison.

Alien: Covenant

Alien: Covenant
Trailer: Click to Play
Official Site: FoxMovies.com/Movies/Alien-Covenant
Distributor: 20th Century Fox
Release Date: May 19th, 2017
MPAA Rating: R for sci-fi violence, bloody images, language and some sexuality/nudity.
Source: Original Screenplay
Genre: Horror
Keywords: Alien Encounters, Outer Space, Robot, Archaeology, Trapped, Inbetwequel
Directed By: Ridley Scott
Written By: John Logan, Jack Paglen, Michael Green
Starring: Noomi Rapace, Michael-Fassbender
Production Budget: Unknown - Estimated at $125 million
Box Office Potential: $115 million

The sequel to the prequel to the Alien franchise. The previous film, Prometheus, earned strong reviews and was a $400 million hit worldwide. However, while that’s a good result, people were expecting more and this disappointment could hurt this film’s box office chances.

Alien: Covenant’s buzz is mixed compared to Prometheus’s buzz. There are some who are excited and really hope this is a return to form for the franchise. That said, there are also others who hear there are at least two more prequels planned and are already tired of the franchise. Because of this, the film will need to earn significantly better reviews and a strong ad campaign to match its predecessor at the box office. I’m not confident it will get there, but I think it will come close enough to justify more installments in the franchise.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul
Trailer: Click to Play
Official Site: FoxMovies.com/Movies/Diary-of-a-Wimpy-Kid-The-Long-Haul
Distributor: 20th Century Fox
Release Date: May 19th, 2017
MPAA Rating: PG for some rude humor.
Source: Based on Fiction Book/Short Story
Genre: Comedy
Keywords: Sequel With Lead Character Recast, Sequels Without Their Original Stars, Road Trip, Convention / Conference, Video Game
Directed By: David Bowers
Written By: Adam Sztykiel, Brett Baer, Dave Finkel, Jeff Kinney
Starring: Jason Ian Drucker
Production Budget: Unknown - Estimated at $20 million
Box Office Potential: $30 million

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul is a hard movie to judge. Live action family films rarely have any pre-release buzz, which is usually a problem because there’s no information to look at. However, this one is actually earning a relatively high amount of buzz with a lot of people on the internet complaining about the recasting. Here’s where it gets complicated. It’s internet buzz and the internet is full of complete morons and I suspect most people caught up in the #NotMyRodrick hashtag are too old to be in the target audience for this movie. That said, while I don’t think negative buzz is being driven by the target audience of this movie, there’s still not a lot of reason to be bullish, as live-action kids movies almost never earn more than $50 million. A lot of them don’t even get halfway there. Kids who watched the original movies will be too old for this one, while those who were too young for the first films might not care about the continuing adventures of characters they have no attachment to.

Everything, Everything

Everything, Everything
Trailer: Click to Play
Official Site: EverythingEverythingMovie.com
Distributor: Warner Bros.
Release Date: May 19th, 2017
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for thematic elements and brief sensuality.
Source: Based on Fiction Book/Short Story
Genre: Drama
Keywords: Medical and Hospitals, Romance, Coming of Age, Shut In, Young Adult Book Adaptation
Directed By: Stella Meghie
Written By: J. Mills Goodloe, Nicola Yoon
Starring: Nick Robinson, Amandla Stenberg
Production Budget: Unknown - Estimated at $20 million
Box Office Potential: $35 million

Amandla Stenberg stars as a young lady who is a shut-in, because she’s allergic to nearly everything and just leaving her house could kill her. However, her new next door neighbor, Nick Robinson, encourages her to be more independent, much to the horror of her mother.

The Dying Girl Young Adult adaptation genre has had a few hits like If I Stay and The Fault in Our Stars and Everything, Everything has the potential to do the same. I’m most cautious, because Amandla Stenberg doesn’t have the same star power that Chloë Grace Moretz or Shailene Woodley had when the earlier movies came out. That’s not to say she doesn’t have the potential to become a star, but she’s has yet to prove she’s a box office draw. If this film comes close to $50 million domestically, then her star power will certainly grow.

Weekend of May 26th, 2017

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

The last weekend of the month is also Memorial Day long weekend. There are two films opening to take advantage of that fact. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales could be the weakest installment in the franchise and still be the second biggest hit of the month. Baywatch will likely be the latest R-rated comedy to hit $100 million domestically. The two films combined should earn between $300 million and $400 million. Meanwhile, the two wide releases from this weekend last year, X-Men: Apocalypse and Alice Through the Looking Glass earned a combined $232 million. Dead Men Tell No Tales should earn more than that by itself and thanks to that, 2017 should certainly win in the year-over-year comparison.

Baywatch

Baywatch
Trailer: Click to Play
Official Site: TheBaywatchMovie.com/
Distributor: Paramount Pictures
Release Date: May 25th, 2017
MPAA Rating: R for language throughout, crude sexual content, and graphic nudity.
Source: Based on TV
Genre: Comedy
Keywords: Lifeguard, California, Professional Rivalry, Organized Crime, Amatuer Slueth, Adapted as a Comedy
Directed By: Seth Gordon
Written By: Damian Shannon, Mark Swift, Jay Scherick, Thomas Lennon, David Ronn, Robert Ben Garant
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Zac Efron, Alexandra Daddario, Kelly Rohrbach, Priyanka Chopra, Jon Bass, Ilfenesh Hadera
Production Budget: Unknown - estimated at $30 million to $40 million
Box Office Potential: $115 million

Baywatch is an adaptation of the 1990s TV series of the same name. The TV series was supposed to be taken seriously, I think, but the movie is going for a buddy cop comedy vibe with Dwayne Johnson and Zac Efron starring as two lifeguards who try to take down a drug smuggling ring.

Dwayne Johnson has had five $100 million hits in a row, not counting his cameo in Jem and the Holograms. Meanwhile, Zac Efron didn’t have a good year last year, but Neighbors showed he could lead a $100 million comedy. The buzz for this film is good and there’s not a lot of direct competition. Snatched comes out two weeks before and the two films share some of each others target demographics, but unless that film is a monster hit, it won’t be a major factor at the box office by Memorial Day long weekend. Overall, there’s plenty of reasons to be optimistic.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
Trailer: Click to Play
Official Site: Pirates.Disney.com/Pirates-of-the-Caribbean-Dead-Men-Tell-No-Tales
Distributor: Walt Disney
Release Date: May 26th, 2017
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sequences of adventure violence, and some suggestive content.
Source: Based on Theme Park Ride
Genre: Adventure
Keywords: Pirates, Hauntings, On a Boat, Swashbuckler, Dwarfism, Revenge, Supernatural, Sequels With Returning Stars, Delayed Sequel, Development Hell
Directed By: Joachim Ronnin, Espen Sandberg
Written By: Jeff Nathanson
Starring: Johnny Depp, Javier Bardem, Geoffrey Rush
Production Budget: Unknown - Reported at $320 million
Box Office Potential: $225 million million

I really hope for Disney’s sake that Dead Men Tell No Tales reported $320 million production budget is an exaggeration. That’s a lot of money to spend on a franchise that is off its peak. Only the first film earned good reviews and the reviews have steadily declined since then. At the box office, the most recent film, On Stranger Tides was the over 40% lower than the biggest film. Granted, while it was the weakest installment in the franchise domestically, it was the biggest internationally and that’s why this film is being made. This film is being made because the studio thinks it will be a monster hit internationally, regardless of how well it does domestically. It could struggle to reach $200 million domestically and still have a good shot at $1 billion worldwide. I think it will be a little stronger than that. The buzz is loud enough and strong enough that it should top $200 million domestically with ease. It could even come close to $300 million, if the reviews are great. On the other hand, if the reviews are the worst in the franchise so far, then it could barely do better than X-Men: Apocalypse did this time last year and possibly end the franchise.

Filed under: Monthly Preview, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, Alien: Covenant, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2, Snatched, Three Generations, Baywatch, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul, Everything, Everything, Alien, Pirates of the Caribbean, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Marvel Cinematic Universe, Dark Knight Trilogy, Johnny Depp, Javier Bardem, David Bowers, Priyanka Chopra, David Dobkin, Zac Efron, Michael Fassbender, Robert Ben Garant, Seth Gordon, James Gunn, Goldie Hawn, Charlie Hunnam, Dwayne Johnson, Thomas Lennon, Chloë Grace Moretz, Christopher Nolan, Chris Pratt, Guy Ritchie, Nick Robinson, Anika Noni Rose, Geoffrey Rush, Zoe Saldana, Ridley Scott, Lionel Wigram, Shailene Woodley, Noomi Rapace, Adam Sztykiel, Jeff Nathanson, Michael Green, Alexandra Daddario, John Logan, Mark Swift, Damian Shannon, Jeff Kinney, Jay Scherick, David Ronn, Amandla Stenberg, Jonathan Levine, Amy Schumer, Joby Harold, Katie Dippold, Brett Baer, Espen Sandberg, Ilfenesh Hadera, Jack Paglen, J. Mills Goodloe, Joachim Ronnin, Kim Caramele, Jon Bass, Stella Meghie, Jason Ian Drucker, Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning, Dave Finkel, Nicola Yoon, Kelly Rohrbach