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2017 Preview: June

June 1st, 2017

Despicable Me 3

May was a really soft month with only one unqualified hit, Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2, which is climbing towards $375 million domestically. The second biggest hit of the month will be Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales and I would be surprised if it tops $150 million by any serious margin. June looks a lot more profitable. There are five weeks and every week there is at least one film with a great shot at $100 million or more. In fact, there are four films with at least a decent shot at $200 million and we could double the number of $300 million hits released so far this year. Wonder Woman is widely expected to start the month with an explosive debut and pulling in more than $100 million during its opening weekend is more and more likely. That said, Despicable Me 3 will probably end up being the biggest hit overall with over $300 million. Meanwhile, Cars 3 and Transformers: The Last Knight are both aiming for $200 million. Last June was not particularly strong, outside of one hit. Finding Dory earned nearly $500 million domestically, while the second best film, Central Intelligence, barely earned a quarter of that. I don’t think any film will come close to Finding Dory, but there’s a lot more depth this time around and I have high hopes 2017 will extend its lead.

Weekend of June 2nd, 2017

Wonder Woman

June begins with Wonder Woman and Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie. The former is the latest in the DCEU and it is the first such film to earn good reviews. In fact, early reviews suggest it will be one of the best wide releases of the year. Meanwhile, as I’m writing this, there are still no reviews for Captain Underpants, so it is harder to judge, but one has to assume it at least has a shot at $100 million domestically given its genre. Meanwhile, this weekend last year was led by Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, which only managed about $35 million. Wonder Woman will make more than that during its opening day. Captain Underpants might top that during its opening weekend. If 2017 doesn’t win in the year-over-year comparison, then something has gone wrong.

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie

Captain Underpants
Trailer: Click to Play
Official Site: Dreamworks.com/CaptainUnderpants/
Distributor: 20th Century Fox
Release Date: June 2nd, 2017
MPAA Rating: PG for mild rude humor throughout.
Source: Original Screenplay
Genre: Comedy
Keywords: Elementary School, Hypnotism, Super Villains, Secret Identity, Bad Teachers, Prank Gone Wrong, Ohio, Robot, Unrequited Love
Directed By: David Soren
Written By: Nicholas Stoller, Dav Pilkey
Starring: Kevin Hart, Ed Helms, Nick Kroll
Production Budget: Unknown - Estimated at $50 million to $70 million
Box Office Potential: $105 million

This film had a bumpy production, including losing a director and getting shipped out to another studio to be animated. The end result is definitely a second-tier animated release, so I’m not expecting it to be a monster hit. That said, it should still have a good shot at $100 million domestically. The book it is based on is popular with the film’s target audience and it has been a while since an animated family film hit theaters. By the time this movie comes out, it will have been nearly two months since Smurfs: The Lost Village came out. I would be shocked if this film performed as poorly as that film did. On the other hand, if it matches The Boss Baby’s box office numbers, I will be equally shocked. I think it will reach $100 million domestically, which would be enough to get a sequel, although that brings up a confusing issue with the distribution rights, but that’s a topic for another day.

Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman
Trailer: Click to Play
Official Site: WonderWomanFilm.com/
Distributor: Warner Bros.
Release Date: June 2nd, 2017
MPAA Rating: R for some violence. (Director’s Cut-Animated)
Source: Based on Comic/Graphic Novel
Genre: Adventure
Keywords: D.C. Comics, War, World War I, Gods and Goddesses, Origin Story, Marooned, Greek Mythology, 1910s, Secret Agent, Development Hell
Directed By: Patty Jenkins
Written By: Jason Fuchs, Zack Snyder, Allan Heinberg, Jason Fuchs
Starring: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine
Production Budget: $150 million
Box Office Potential: $305 million

The DCEU has been described as a dumpster fire by many people, myself included, and there were fears that Wonder Woman simply wouldn’t be able to break that record. Or if the reviews were better, but still not great, the thrice-burned audience wouldn’t take the risk to see this film.

Then early word starting getting out about the movie and it was almost universally positive.

As I started doing the research / data entry for the monthly preview, there were no reviews officially released. Wonder Woman’s reviews did start to come in as I was writing this and they were amazing at 97% positive. They have since dipped to 94% positive, which is still among the best of any wide release that has come out this year. Furthermore, the buzz surrounding this film is fantastic, to the point where some are predicting an opening weekend north of $100 million. Sadly, this would still likely be the lowest opening weekend in the DCEU so far, so it will have to rely on longer legs to match its predecessors at the box office. I fear if it doesn’t, then some at Warner Bros. will learn the wrong lesson and will try to return to the grim-dark tone the previous DCEU films had. We will have more data to look through when Justice League debuts this fall.

Weekend of June 9th, 2017

The Mummy

Every week in June, there is a potential monster hit hitting theaters... except this week. This week, the biggest release is The Mummy, Universal’s second attempt at launching a Universal Monster Movie Universe. They are calling it the Dark Universe. I don’t know if this one will work. Also coming out this week is It Comes at Night. A24 has had a lot of success in limited release and on VOD, but they don’t have a long track record of opening films wide and this film wouldn’t even need to hit $30 million domestically to break the distributor’s record. Megan Leavey was supposed to open wide this week, but early reports have it debuting in approximately 1,000 theaters, so we won’t be discussing it here. This weekend last year, The Conjuring 2: The Enfield Poltergeist led the way with just over $40 million. The Mummy better top that. In fact, Wonder Woman’s second weekend of release should top that. 2017 should have another good week in the year-over-year comparison.

It Comes at Night

It Comes at Night
Trailer: Click to Play
Official Site: ItComesAtNight.com/
Distributor: A24
Release Date: June 9th, 2017
MPAA Rating: R for violence, disturbing images, and language.
Source: Original Screenplay
Genre: Horror
Keywords: Cabin in the Woods, Supernatural, Post Apocalypse, Paranoia, Isolation Horror
Directed By: Trey Edward Shults
Written By: Trey Edward Shults
Starring: Joel Edgerton, Riley Keough, Christopher Abbott, Carmen Ejogo, Kelvin Harrison Jr
Production Budget: Unknown - estimated at $10 million, potentially less
Box Office Potential: $25 million

A24 is a studio that has had a lot of success in its short existence. The company turns five years old this August and already it has racked up 14 Oscar nominations, including six wins. On the other hand, they’ve only had three films earn more than $25 million domestically. It Comes at Night could join that list. The film’s early reviews are 100% positive, but there are only seven of them on Rotten Tomatoes so far, so it’s far too early to judge. The positive early reviews are a a reason to be cautiously optimistic, but also a big reason to keep any expectations in check. Free Fire was also expected to open wide, but despite good reviews, the film only debuted in 1,000 theaters and bombed hard. Hopefully that won’t be the case here, but you can’t ignore the possibility.

The Mummy

The Mummy
Trailer: Click to Play
Official Site: TheMummy.com/
Distributor: Universal
Release Date: June 9th, 2017
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for violence, action and scary images, and for some suggestive content and partial nudity.
Source: Based on Folk Tale/Legend/Fairytale
Genre: Adventure
Keywords: Reboot, Mummy, Ancient Egypt, Revenge, Monster, 3-D - Shot in 3-D, 3-D - Post-production Conversion
Directed By: Alex Kurtzman
Written By: David Koepp, Christopher McQuarrie, Dylan Kussman, Jon Spaihts, Alex Kurtzman, Jenny Lumet
Starring: Tom Cruise, Annabelle Wallis, Sofia Boutella
Production Budget: Rumored at $125 million
Box Office Potential: $150 million

Tom Cruise stars in Universal’s second attempt at a Unified Movie Monster Universe. The first attempt, Dracula Untold was not a hit with critics or with moviegoers, so the studio temporarily put their combined universe on hold. Will this one do better? It has to. The more important question is whether or not it will do enough to create a solid foundation for Universal’s Dark Universe. I’m not so sure. The buzz here isn’t particularly loud and like other combined universes that are in the works, a lot of people are questioning the need for this one. Furthermore, there are four films opening this month earning much louder buzz, so the competition will be intense. If Wonder Woman matches expectations, then it likely won’t even open in first place and that will further hurt the franchise’s chances of getting off the ground.

Weekend of June 16th, 2017

Cars 3

This will might be the busiest week of the month with three or four wide releases. (47 Meters Down might open wide, but I’m expected semi-wide at the best, so it won’t be discussed here.) Of the three remaining films, Cars 3 is clearly the biggest. It is a Pixar film, so that should help. On the other hand, it is the sequel to the only Pixar film to earn negative reviews, so audiences might stay away. Rough Night is likely an R-rated comedy aimed at women. (I say likely, because it is not yet rated at the moment.) There have been a number of such films that have been hits lately, but there’s always a chance this one will be the point where we hit market over-saturation. Finally, there’s All Eyez on Me, a biopic about the life of Tupac Shakur. I suspect it got the greenlight after the success of Straight Outta Compton. This weekend last year, Finding Dory opened with $135 million. The three or four new releases this week won’t match that figure and holdovers won’t match much of a difference.

All Eyez on Me

All Eyez on Me
Trailer: Click to Play
Official Site: AllEyez.movie/
Distributor: Open Road
Release Date: June 16th, 2017
MPAA Rating: R for language and drug use throughout, violence, some nudity and sexuality.
Source: Based on Real Life Events
Genre: Drama
Keywords: Music Industry, Hip Hop and Rap, 1990s, African-American, Biography
Directed By: Benny Boom
Written By: Jeremy Haft, Eddie Gonzalez, Steven Bagatourian
Starring: Demetrius Shipp, Jr.
Production Budget: Reported at $45 million
Box Office Potential: $60 million

All Eyez on Me is clearly chasing Straight Outta Compton money. This makes sense, as that film earned $160 million domestically. Even if this film earned half as much, it would still be a relative success, given its reported budget. I still think that’s a bit optimistic, as the buzz here is not particularly loud. Also, while Straight Outta Compton was the last big hit of summer, All Eyez on Me isn’t even the second biggest release of the week. I think it will top its production budget domestically, but unless it is a bigger than expected hit internationally, it could struggle to break even any time soon.

Cars 3

Cars 3
Trailer: Click to Play
Official Site: Movies.Disney.com/Cars-3
Distributor: Walt Disney
Release Date: June 16th, 2017
MPAA Rating:
Source: Original Screenplay
Genre: Adventure
Keywords: Auto Racing, Car Accident, Retirement, Professional Rivalry, Woman in a Male Dominated Profession, Comeback, Animated Inanimate Objects
Directed By: Brian Fee
Written By: Robert L. Baird, Daniel Gerson, Kiel Murray, Bob Peterson, Mike Rich, Brian Fee, Ben Queen, Eyal Podell, Jonathan E. Stewart
Starring: Owen Wilson, Cristela Alonzo, Armie Hammer
Production Budget: Estimated at $180 million
Box Office Potential: $210 million

Cars 2 remains the only Pixar film to earn negative reviews. However, it is also part of a multi-billion dollar merchandising empire, so it should come as no surprise that it is earning yet another sequel. There are some who think the film will continue the decline of the franchise while others think it will bounce back. I’m in the latter group for a couple of reasons. Firstly, while the reviews for the second installment were weak, its CinemaScore was an A minus, so that’s not bad. Furthermore, while Cars 2 had a plot that wouldn’t be out of place for a bunch of six-year olds playing with matchbox cars, Cars 3 is a lot more mature and this should bring back adult animation fans. Finally, inflation. It has been six years since Cars 2 came out, so even if ticket sales are a little lower, it should do better in terms of raw box office dollars.

Rough Night

Rough Night
Trailer: Click to Play
Official Site: RoughNightMovie.com/
Distributor: Sony Pictures
Release Date: June 16th, 2017
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Source: Original Screenplay
Genre: Black Comedy
Keywords: Strippers / Stripping, Parties Gone Wild, College, Bachelor Party, Friends Reuniting, Accidental Death, Covering Up an Accidental Death, Screenplay Written By the Star, Ensemble
Directed By: Lucia Aniello
Written By: Lucia Aniello, Paul W. Downs
Starring: Scarlett Johansson, Kate McKinnon, Zoe Kravitz, Ilana Glazer, Jillian Bell
Production Budget: Unknown - Estimated at $20 million to $30 million
Box Office Potential: $75 million

A group of college friends reunite when one of them gets married. The five have a wild bachelorette party and everything is great, until the stripper is accidental killed. Now they have to cover up the entire mess.

With the success of Bad Moms and other R-rated comedies aimed at women, it comes as no shock that studios would be making more of them. However, Rough Night seems to be taking the R-rating a little more seriously and if I’m correct, then this will keep its box office numbers below $100 million domestically. I’m not saying it won’t be a hit; I just don’t think it will be a $100 million hit.

Weekend of June 23rd, 2017

Transformers: The Last Knight

It’s a boring week this week, as there’s only one wide release coming out: Transformers: The Last Knight. This is supposedly the first film in the Hasbro Movie Universe, so there’s a lot riding on the film’s success. This weekend last year, Finding Dory remained in first place with $73 million, while Independence Day: Resurgence opened with $41 million. At one point, it would seem trivial for a Transformers movie to open with more than that combined, at least during its five-day weekend, but the franchise is off its peak.

Transformers: The Last Knight

Transformers: The Last Knight
Trailer: Click to Play
Official Site: TransformersMovie.com/
Distributor: Paramount Pictures
Release Date: June 21st, 2017
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Source: Based on TV
Genre: Action
Keywords: Robot, War, Archaeology, Car Chase, Redemption
Directed By: Michael Bay
Written By: Art Marcum, Matt Holloway, Ken Nolan, Akiva Goldsman
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Peter Cullen
Production Budget: Reported at $260 million
Box Office Potential: $205 million

Paramount needs this movie to be a $1 billion hit worldwide. So far this year, the studio hasn’t had a single hit at the domestic box office and has released a number of expensive bombs. And it’s not like last year was a good year for them either. Fortunately, the last two films in the franchise have reached the $1 billion mark internationally, so even though I think The Last Knight will be the weakest installment at the domestic box office, its international numbers should make it profitable. On the other hand, I don’t know if it will be profitable enough to justify spending so much money on spin-offs and a new unified Hasbro franchise.

Weekend of June 30th, 2017

Despicable Me 3

The final weekend of the month is technically the July 4th long weekend. Independence Day lands on the Tuesday, so films will have five days to make a full impression. There are three films, maybe four, that are trying to take advantage of this holiday. Of these films, Despicable Me 3 is clearly the biggest. In fact, it could fight Wonder Woman for biggest opening of the month. That likely won’t be the case, but it should have better legs and become the fourth $300 million hit of the year. The House is an R-rated comedy that could become a $100 million hit. I don’t think it will get there, but it could be close. Baby Driver is earning astronomical reviews, but it is also much smaller than the other two films and is earning almost no buzz. Then there’s Amityville: The Awakening. Oh boy. This weekend last year was actually the first weekend of July. Finding Dory remained in top spot with just over $40 million, while there were two new releases, The Legend of Tarzan and The Purge: Election Year, each earned more than $30 million. 2017 will be a lot stronger on top, but it won’t have three $30 million hits either. I think the strength at the top will matter more than depth in the year-over-year competition giving 2017 the win.

Amityville: The Awakening

Amityville: The Awakening poster
Trailer: Click to Play
Official Site: Facebook.com/AmityvilleTheAwakening
Distributor: Weinstein Co.
Release Date: June 30th, 2017
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for disturbing horror violence and terror, suggestive images, brief language and thematic material.
Source: Original Screenplay
Genre: Horror
Keywords: Supernatural, Hauntings, Haunted House, Possessed, Development Hell, Delayed Release, Coma, Medical and Hospitals, Nightmare
Directed By: Franck Khalfoun
Written By: Franck Khalfoun
Starring: Bella Thorne
Production Budget: Unknown - estimated at $10 million to $20 million
Box Office Potential: No

That’s right. My box office prediction for this movie is “No”. There’s a simple reason for that, it has been pushed back four times already and Weinstein Co. is in a potentially business-ending slump. Last time it was pushed back with less than four weeks to go, so I think the same thing is going to happen again and it will eventually be dumped semi-wide before being forgotten on the home market.

On a side note, some might wonder why I’m including the film on this preview when I didn’t include the other two films that I don’t think will open truly wide this month. It’s simple. Because I already wrote most of this for January. I already did all of the work, so I might as well use it. And when the film gets pushed back to September / October, I’ll use it again.

Baby Driver

Baby Driver
Trailer: Click to Play
Official Site: BabyDriver-Movie.com/
Distributor: Sony Pictures
Release Date: June 28th, 2017
MPAA Rating:
Source: Original Screenplay
Genre: Thriller/Suspense
Keywords: Heist, Organized Crime, Getaway Driver, One Last Job, No Honor Among Thieves, Car Chase, Romance
Directed By: Edgar Wright
Written By: Edgar Wright
Starring: Ansel Elgort, Kevin Spacey, Lily James, Jon Bernthal, Eiza Gonzalez, Jon Hamm, Jamie Foxx
Production Budget: Unknown - estimated at $30 million
Box Office Potential: $40 million

Ansel Elgort plays a getaway driver who falls in love with Lily James and decides to give up his life of crime. However, he has one last job and things go wrong. It is a rather standard crime thriller setup, but it is written and directed by Edgar Wright, so I’m not that surprised it is earning stellar reviews. Unfortunately, the buzz is very quiet at the moment. Granted, there’s lots of time for that buzz to grow, but we’ve seen a few films this year where the buzz should have grown, but didn’t. Because of that, I’m being a little more cautious in my prediction here.

Despicable Me 3

Despicable Me 3
Trailer: Click to Play
Official Site: Despicable.Me/
Distributor: Universal
Release Date: June 30th, 2017
MPAA Rating: PG for action and rude humor.
Source: Original Screenplay
Genre: Comedy
Keywords: Child Actor, Heist, Secret Agent, Twins, Separated at Birth, Dysfunctional Family, Sibling Rivalry, 3-D, 3-D - Shot in 3-D, Directing Yourself, Fired, Adopted Family, Same Actor, Multiple Roles
Directed By: Pierre Coffin, Kyle Balda
Written By: Cinco Paul, Ken Daurio
Starring: Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Trey Parker
Production Budget: Estimated at $80 million
Box Office Potential: $325 million

Gru discovers he has a long-lost twin and this twin wants to pull a heist to live up to their family’s heritage.

This is the fourth film in the franchise. The previous three films have earned an average of more than $300 million domestically and nearly $900 million worldwide. I see no reason why this film won’t do the same. Sure, by the fourth film, most franchises are starting to see serious franchise fatigue, but going back to a Gru-centric story instead of focusing on the Minions will help Despicable Me 3 with critics and that in turn should help at the box office. There is a lot of competition at the box office, as this is the third digitally animated this month and this could hold back its box office numbers a little. I’m still optimistic and I think it will top $300 million with relative ease.

The House

The House
Trailer: Click to Play
Official Site: TheHouseMovie.com/
Distributor: Warner Bros.
Release Date: June 30th, 2017
MPAA Rating: R for language throughout, sexual references, drug use, some violence and brief nudity.
Source: Original Screenplay
Genre: Comedy
Keywords: Gambling, Dysfunctional Family, Narcotics, Money Troubles
Directed By: Andrew Jay Cohen
Written By: Andrew Jay Cohen, Brendan O'Brien
Starring: Will Ferrell, Amy Poehler
Production Budget: Reported at $40 million
Box Office Potential: $75 million

A couple loses their daughter’s college fund and decide to create an illegal casino in their basement to make up the money.

The House is the directorial debut for Andrew Jay Cohen. He has previously written a few scripts, most notably Neighbors. The film has a strong cast and is expected to do well at the box office. Some even think it will top $100 million domestically. That’s too optimistic for my tastes, but I think it will do well enough to break even early in its home market run.

Filed under: Monthly Preview, Wonder Woman, Baby Driver, All Eyez on Me, Amityville: The Awakening, The Mummy, Despicable Me 3, Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie, The House, Megan Leavey, Cars 3, Rough Night, Transformers: The Last Knight, 47 Meters Down, It Comes at Night, Transformers, Cars, Despicable Me, DC Extended Universe, Dark Universe, Tom Cruise, Kevin Spacey, Mark Wahlberg, Michael Bay, Jon Bernthal, Steve Carell, Peter Cullen, Joel Edgerton, Carmen Ejogo, Will Ferrell, Jamie Foxx, Jason Fuchs, Gal Gadot, Jon Hamm, Armie Hammer, Kevin Hart, Ed Helms, Scarlett Johansson, David Koepp, Alex Kurtzman, Trey Parker, Bob Peterson, Chris Pine, Eyal Podell, Amy Poehler, Zack Snyder, Kristen Wiig, Owen Wilson, Edgar Wright, Nick Kroll, Pierre Coffin, Zoë Kravitz, Mike Rich, Akiva Goldsman, Christopher McQuarrie, Art Marcum, Matt Holloway, Nicholas Stoller, Daniel Gerson, Ken Daurio, Cinco Paul, Kiel Murray, Riley Keough, Ben Queen, Christopher Abbott, Kyle Balda, Lily James, Andrew Jay Cohen, Jon Spaihts, Ken Nolan, Dylan Kussman, Brendan O'Brien, Franck Khalfoun, Robert L. Baird, Annabelle Wallis, David Soren, Ansel Elgort, Patty Jenkins, Jillian Bell, Bella Thorne, Jenny Lumet, Jonathan E. Stewart, Kate McKinnon, Sofia Boutella, Trey Edward Shults, Lucia Aniello, Paul W. Downs, Eiza Gonzalez, Ilana Glazer, Benny Boom, Cristela Alonzo, Kelvin Harrison Jr, Dav Pilkey, Brian Fee, Demetrius Shipp, Jr., Jeremy Haft, Eddie Gonzalez, Steven Bagatourian, Allan Heinberg