After a 2020 theatrical summer movie season we’d rather forget, summer 2021 should be one to remember. Starting in earnest on Memorial Day weekend, releases in late May and June aim to pack audiences into cinemas.
A new survey from National Research Group (NRG) found 70 percent of Americans say they are “very” or “somewhat” comfortable seeing movies on the big screen, a record high since the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown began in March 2020.
As an added incentive, the National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO), the Motion Picture Association (MPA), and North American exhibitors are joining forces for the first ever Cinema Week on June 22-27, with exclusive in-theater content and giveaways. Listen to the most recent episode of the Boxoffice Podcast, featuring the organizers of Cinema Week:
A Quiet Place Part II
Friday, May 28
Premise: Paramount’s horror sequel returns with Emily Blunt as Evelyn Abbott, a mother who must keep her children alive in a dystopian world reduced to silence by murderous creatures who can only sense humans by sense of sound. Blunt’s real-life husband John Krasinski returns to direct.
Theatrical exclusivity? Yes. The film will play for 45 days with theatrical exclusivity, after which it will move to Paramount+.
Box office comparisons: Although pre-pandemic comparisons are apples and oranges, 2018’s original A Quiet Place proved loud with a $50.2M opening and $188.0M domestic total.
Box office forecast: Boxoffice PRO‘s chief analyst Shawn Robbins currently projects a $30M-$50M four-day opening, including Memorial Day Monday, and an $85M-$140M domestic total.
One more thing: Sound designers Erik Aadahl and Ethan Van der Ryn earned an Academy Award nomination for their work on the first film. They discuss their work on the sequel with Boxoffice PRO here.
Friday, May 28
Premise: Emma Stone stars in Disney’s origin story of 101 Dalmatians antagonist Cruella de Vil, set in in 1970s London. Craig Gillespie (I, Tonya) directs.
Theatrical exclusivity? No. The film will debut day-and-date in both theaters and on Disney+ Premier Access, for a $29.99 additional charge for Disney+ subscribers.
Box office comparisons: Two previous live action films starred Glenn Close as Cruella de Vil: 1996’s 101 Dalmatians barked up a $33.5M opening and $136.1M domestic total, while 2000’s sequel 102 Dalmatians debuted with $19.8M and earned $66.9M domestically. For another recent live action movie centered on an originally animated Disney villain, 2019’s Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (about the antagonist of Sleeping Beauty) stayed awake with a $36.9M opening and $113.9M domestic total.
Box office forecast: Shawn Robbins projects a $15M-$30M four-day opening, including Memorial Day Monday, and a $45M-$105M total.
The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It
Friday, June 4
Premise: Warner Bros. and New Line’s third installment in the Conjuring horror franchise follows a pair of paranormal investigators. This installment, based on the real story of the first U.S. murder suspect to use demonic possession as a legal defense, takes place in 1981. Michael Chaves (The Curse of La Llorona) directs.
Theatrical exclusivity? No. The film will be released day-and-date both in theaters and on HBO Max.
Box office comparisons: 2013’s original The Conjuring scared up a $41.8M opening and a $137.4M domestic total, while 2016’s sequel The Conjuring 2 opened to $40.4M for a $102.4M domestic total.
Box office forecast: Shawn Robbins projects a $15M-$25M opening and $37M-$65M domestic total.
Friday, June 4
Premise: Universal’s and DreamWorks’ animated story of a girl and her horse is based on the Netflix series Spirit Riding Free, which is itself based on the 2002 animated film Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron.
Theatrical exclusivity: Yes. Universal has inked agreements with AMC and Cinemark for theatrical exclusivity of at least three weekends for their upcoming films.
Box office comparisons: 2002’s Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron galloped to a $17.7M opening and $73.2M domestic total.
Box office forecast: Shawn Robbins forecasts a $2M-$7M opening and $15M-$35M domestic total.
In the Heights
Friday, June 11
Premise: Based on the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical written by Lin-Manuel Miranda of Hamilton fame, the film follows Anthony Ramos (also from Hamilton) as he struggles to become successful in the New York City neighborhood of Washington Heights. Jon M. Chu (Crazy Rich Asians) directs.
Theatrical exclusivity? No. Warner Bros. will release the movie day-and-date both in theaters and on HBO Max.
Box office comparisons: In terms of recent movie musicals, 2019’s Cats infamously coughed up a furball with a $27.1M domestic total, but others proved more successful, including 2014’s Into the Woods ($128.0M), 2017’s The Greatest Showman ($174.3M), and 2016’s La La Land ($151.1M).
Box office forecast: Shawn Robbins projects a $25M-$45M opening and $70M-$140M domestic total.
Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway
Friday, June 11
Premise: James Corden returns to voice the animated title character, who must choose between his old friends and allegiance to a gang of streetwise talking animals that he (accidentally) joins. Rose Byrne, Domhnall Gleeson, and David Oyelowo star in live action roles.
Theatrical exclusivity? Yes. Sony Pictures is releasing the film in theaters only.
Box office comparisons: 2018’s original Peter Rabbit hopped to a $25.0M opening and $115.2M domestic total.
Box office forecast: Shawn Robbins projects a $17M-$22M opening and $50M-$75M domestic total.
One more thing: Read Boxoffice PRO‘s interview with director Will Gluck in our upcoming June print issue.
The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard
Wednesday, June 16
Premise: Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson, and Salma Hayek return in this R-rated action comedy. In this installment, Reynolds’ protagonist is not allowed to use any weapons during his mission.
Theatrical exclusivity? Yes. Lionsgate is releasing the film in theaters only.
Box office comparisons: 2017’s original The Hitman’s Bodyguard was a hit, man, with a $21.3M opening and $75.4M domestic total.
Box office forecast: Shawn Robbins projects a $13M-$18M opening weekend (although the film’s Wednesday opening will diminish its Friday-Sunday figure), en route to a $40M-$60M domestic total.
Friday, June 25
Premise: Vin Diesel and the gang are back in this ninth installment for the action-adventure The Fast and the Furious franchise, with John Cena joining as the villain and Diesel’s character’s brother. Expect plenty of fast cars and chase sequences.
Theatrical exclusivity: Yes. Universal recently inked agreements with AMC and Cinemark for theatrical exclusivity of at least three weekends for their upcoming films and at least five weekends for any film that debuts above $50M. This seems likely to be Universal’s first release that will exceed that mark since the deals were signed.
Box office comparisons: The previous “in-series” installment, 2017’s The Fate of the Furious, revved up a $98.7M opening and $225.7M domestic total. 2019’s spinoff installment Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw pumped the breaks slightly with a $60.0M opening and $173.9M domestic total.
Box office forecast: Shawn Robbins projects a $60M-$90M opening and $140M-$210M domestic total. The film has debuted in eight markets already, including China, where it became the first Hollywood film to open to $100M-plus since March 2020.
One more thing: Read Boxoffice PRO‘s interview with director Justin Lin in our upcoming June print issue.
Other notable theatrical releases this June:
- Fathom Events’ 10th anniversary re-release of 2011 comedy Bridesmaids will play on June 6, 9, and 10.
- Fathom Events’ re-release of 1964 musical My Fair Lady will play on June 13 and 16.
- Encore Live’s “drive-in concert” on the big screen will feature country duo Florida Georgia Line featuring special guest Nelly (who collaborated with FGL on their 2013 Billboard #4 hit Cruise), for one night only on June 12.
- Fathom Events’ 25th anniversary re-release of Tom Cruise’s Jerry Maguire will play on June 20 and 24.