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Weekend Predictions: Secret Hopes to be Exposed to Audiences

July 7th, 2016

The Secret Life of Pets

It should be a good weekend at the box office, at least for The Secret Life of Pets. The film is earning great reviews and should become the biggest hit of the month. There is one downside: the competition. There are a lot of options for families among the films currently in theaters, plus another movie from a long-running franchise opening soon. Also opening this week is Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates, which is an R-rated comedy hoping to survive in the counter-programming role. It could become a midlevel hit, or it could fail to open in the top five. This weekend last year, Minions opened with $115.72 million. The Secret Life of Pets is not going to top that. 2016 has better depth, but likely not by enough to win in the year-over-year comparison.

The Secret Life of Pets should have no trouble earning first place at the box office. In fact, it will likely make more than the rest of the top five combined. There are many reasons to be bullish about the movie’s chances. Firstly, the film is earning great reviews at just over 80% positive, as I’m writing this. Secondly, is the latest animated film from Illumination Entertainment, the studio that made the Despicable Me franchise. None of their fully-animated films have bombed at the box office, even if a couple have had mixed reviews. On the downside, there is a lot of competition for families, including last week’s winner, Finding Dory. I don’t think this film will be one of the biggest hits of the year, but it does have a shot at opening with more than $80 million. Anything less than $60 million will be seen as a disappointment. I’m going with just over $70 million. Let’s say $72 million to be more precise.

At the end of business on Wednesday, Finding Dory had a total domestic box office of $396.37 million. It will hit $400 million on Thursday, its 21st day of release. On Friday, it will overtake Captain America: Civil War for biggest domestic hit of the year. Over the weekend, it will earn second place with $22 million, which is impressive for a film that’s been in release for nearly a month. It will reach $450 million before it drops out of the top five, while $500 million remains a long shot.

The Legend of Tarzan had a surprise second-place finish last weekend, but weak reviews and perhaps direct competition will hurt it this weekend. Look for a sophomore stint of $18 million, giving it a ten-day total of close to $80 million. It is on pace to reach $100 million domestically, but due to its $180 million production budget, it will need help internationally if it is to break even.

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates in an R-rated comedy, which is a genre that used to be pure gold at the box office. Now, the most the average film in this genre can hope for is a midlevel hit. There are some reasons to be bullish, including a cast that has some experience in these films. On the downside, the reviews are currently exactly 50% positive. That’s not going to hurt ticket sales, but it isn’t going to help either. I think the film will earn $15 million during its opening weekend, which is fine for a film that likely did not cost a lot to make.

The BFG and The Purge: Election Year will be in a close race for fifth place. The BFG has better reviews and it is a family film, so it should have better legs. However, The Purge: Election Year started out with a serious advantage last weekend, so it would have to fall a huge amount to drop out of the top five. I think it will fall a lot, but still grab fifth place with just under $12 million. The BFG will be next with just over $11 million.

- The Secret Life of Pets Comparisons
- Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates Comparisons

Filed under: Weekend Preview, Finding Dory, The Secret Life of Pets, Captain America: Civil War, The Legend of Tarzan, The BFG, Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates, The Purge: Election Year