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Weekend Predictions: Will New Releases Challenge Top Spot? Or Will Dory just Keep Swimming?

June 23rd, 2016

Independence Day: Resurgence

This is the last weekend in June and there are three wide releases hoping to challenge Finding Dory for top spot. I don’t think any of them will come close. Independence Day: Resurgence is the only new release with a shot at first place and it should come out on top on Friday. It better win on Friday, or the month will end on a soft note. The Shallows and Free State of Jones will be fighting for fourth place. The Shallows cost less than $20 million, so a fourth place finish wouldn’t be a bad start. On the other hand, Free State of Jones cost $65 million to make, so a fourth place finish would be a disaster. Also opening this week is The Neon Demon. It isn’t opening wide, but it is opening wide enough to compete for a slot in the top ten. This weekend last year, there were two wide releases that earned less than $50 million combined. On the other hand, the top two films, Jurassic World and Inside Out both earned more than $50 million. Can the top four this year out-earn the top four last year? I think they can. We might get an actual win in the year-over-year comparison.

Finding Dory set records last weekend with $135.06 million, which is the best opening weekend for an animated film. It is also a family-friendly animated film that’s earning 94% positive reviews, so the word of mouth should really help it out. On the other hand, it is a sequel so it likely won’t hold on as well as Inside Out did last year. That film fell just 42% during its sophomore stint. I think Dory will fall 45%. That still means it will earn $74 million over the next three days, pushing its running tally to more than $280 million after just ten days of release. At this pace, getting to $400 million is virtually guaranteed.

Independence Day: Resurgence is the long-overdue follow-up to Independence Day. That film earned more than $300 million domestically and $800 million worldwide. And that was back in 1996, when those numbers were a lot more impressive. Making a sequel just makes sense. Unfortunately, despite 20 years of ticket price inflation, it is very unlikely Resurgence will top the original domestically. The film’s reviews are barely over 50% positive and its buzz is way too quiet for a film that cost $200 million to make. Look for an opening weekend of $60 million and a $160 million domestic run. On the other hand, Roland Emmerich’s films tend to do very well internationally and this one could match 2012 overseas. If it does so, then we will very likely see another film in the franchise.

As of writing, I don’t have the daily numbers for Wednesday, or Thursday, but it looks like Central Intelligence will easily crack $50 million before Friday. This is great news for the film’s quest to top $100 million domestically. There are some who think it will avoid a 50% drop-off during its sophomore stint. I’m not that bullish, but its good reviews and the lack of direct competition should help. Look for a sophomore stint of $16 million over the weekend, while next weekend is a holiday weekend, so getting to the century mark is definitely within reach.

The Shallows bounced from the 24th of June, to the 29th, and then back again. This is not a good sign. Additionally, there are only two reviews on Rotten Tomatoes as of Thursday morning. On the positive side, both reviews are positive. It is still way too early to tell where its Tomatometer Score will end up, but even 50% positive is good enough for this genre. On the high end, the film will open in the mid-teens. On the low end, it will fail to reach $10 million. I think the low end is a little more likely, but an opening of between $11 million and $12 million is still good for a film in this genre and budget range. Last Minute Update: I just checked the film’s reviews before publishing this and there’s more than a dozen of them, with a Tomatometer Score over 90% positive. It could now hit $15 million during its opening weekend, but I’m going to stay on the safe side and say $13 million.

The final wide release of the week is Free State of Jones. At the beginning of the month, I wondered why this movie is coming out during the summer when it looked a lot like an Awards Season contender. One of the options was that the studio didn’t think it had the experience to run an Awards Season campaign, or perhaps it just didn’t want the competition. One of the options was the movie wasn’t good and the studio knew it. It appears this was the correct option to pick. At the moment, its Tomatometer Score is just 13% positive. This is terrible; and, worse still, the target demographic for this film is more likely to read and trust critics, unlike Independence Day: Resurgence, for example. This means the film’s box office chances are really weak and just missing $10 million is very likely. This is still enough to secure a spot in the top five, but that’s hardly comforting for a movie with its production budget.

Finally there’s The Neon Demon. The film is opening in just under 800 theaters on Friday and will need about $2.5 million to reach the top ten. Its reviews are roughly 50% positive, but the response to the film has been a lot more enthusiastic than that, with many people calling it a classic of its genre and many people walking out of the screenings. If there’s enough publicity from the walkouts, then it should earn a spot in the top ten. Otherwise, its 800 theaters might be a liability.

- Independence Day: Resurgence Comparisons
- The Shallows Comparisons
- Free State of Jones Comparisons
- The Neon Demon Comparisons

Filed under: Weekend Preview, Central Intelligence, Free State of Jones, Finding Dory, Independence Day: Resurgence, The Neon Demon, The Shallows, Independence Day, Roland Emmerich