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Weekend Predictions: Will Cars Take the Checkered Flag?

June 15th, 2017

Cars 3

It’s a busy week with four truly wide releases, led by Cars 3. The latest film from Pixar is widely expected to earn first place at the box office, but it is part of the only Pixar franchise that isn’t a critical darling. Rough Night is playing in 3,000 theaters, but its early reviews are mixed and that's not going to help its box office numbers. All Eyez on Me is playing in 2,450 theaters, but its early reviews are even worse. Meanwhile, 47 Meters Down’s early reviews were 78% positive, but that has since changed for the worse. This weekend last year, there were two wide releases, Finding Dory and Central Intelligence, which earned a combined $170 million. There’s no way the four new releases coming out this week will match that. Even another strong hold by Wonder Woman won’t make a difference in the year-over-year competition and 2017 is going to lose.

Cars 3 is the latest film in the Cars franchise. The previous film in the franchise is the only Pixar release to earn bad reviews. However, it did earn an A minus from CinemaScore, so it obviously connected with families more than critics. This film’s reviews are good, but not great, while the only direct competition will earn significantly less than $10 million over the weekend. As for its box office potential, on the low end, it should earn more than $50 million. On the high end, it could come close to $70 million. Anything close to $60 million will be considered a financial success. ... Okay, let’s be frank here. The Cars franchise has reportedly made more money in merchandising than Pixar’s combined worldwide box office, which is nearly $11 billion. Cars 3 was a financial success the minute it was announced and new merchandise was scheduled to be released. As for our prediction, I’m going with $58 million. If it does this well, it will become the biggest opening digitally animated film of the year so far, topping The Lego Batman Movie by nearly $5 million.

Wonder Woman had an amazing sophomore stint hold and films usually have a better hold during their third weekend of release. This might not be the case this time, simply because it is really hard to beat a 43% drop-off. If the film just matches last week’s decline, it will earn just over $33 million putting it close to $270 million after three weeks of release. Maybe it will do a little better at $34 million or $35 million, but I don’t think it can top that. At this pace, it will become the biggest hit in the DCEU domestically, and the most profitable.

Up next is Rough Night, the latest R-rated comedy aimed at women. The buzz hasn’t grown as I would have liked, while its early reviews are barely more than 50% positive. At the beginning of the month, I figured it would earn close to $30 million during its opening weekend, but now I think that’s too optimistic. It could still earn close to $25 million, but just over $20 million is most likely. The film only cost $20 million to make, so if it can top that during its opening weekend, it will be a success.

All Eyez on Me is a biopic about Tupac Shakur. The film was clearly made as a result of Straight Outta Compton’s success. That’s not going to happen again. The buzz is a lot quieter and the early reviews are quite poor. It could earn third place with just over $20 million, but fourth place with just under $20 million seems more likely. Maybe if the reviews improve, this will change.

The Mummy should round out the top five with about $14 million. This would represent a 56% drop-off, which isn’t that bad, all things considered; the reviews certainly suggest a much steeper decline. However, none of the new releases are direct competition for this film, so that will help prevent a 60% drop-off.

The final new release is 47 Meters Down. Its early reviews were great, but they have since fallen to just 50% positive. Furthermore, it is the smallest new movie on this week’s list, while its distributor, Entertainment Studios Motion Pictures, is very new to the movie business and they have no record of releasing theatrical hits. There’s a very real possibility that the film will open below the Mendoza Line with $4 million or less. I think it will just avoid that fate with a little under $5 million.

- Cars 3 Comparisons
- Rough Night Comparisons
- All Eyez on Me Comparisons
- 47 Meters Down Comparisons

Filed under: Weekend Preview, Wonder Woman, All Eyez on Me, The Mummy, Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie, Cars 3, Rough Night, 47 Meters Down, Cars, DC Extended Universe