June and July were the two best months yet for the post-pandemic box office. In June, the domestic cume was $968M, eclipsing December 2021 ($920M) as the top-grossing month since quarantine.
June 2022 wouldn’t hold the record for long, as July became the first month to cross the billion-dollar mark since December 2019, when Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker pushed the box office to that 10-digit threshold. During a month-and-a-half stretch spanning across June and July, five out of six weekends out-earned their equivalent weekends from 2019, the last pre-pandemic year.
August, however, looks to represent a sharp reversal, with the theatrical calendar coming in on the slimmer side.
Three of the so-called “big five” distributors—Disney, Paramount, and Warner Bros.—aren’t releasing anything theatrically in August at all. It seems possible, or even likely, that four of the five highest-earning films during August will be the July holdovers Thor: Love and Thunder, Minions: The Rise of Gru, Nope, and DC League of Super-Pets. They’ll be competing with the following August releases:
Friday, August 5
Premise: Brad Pitt stars as a hitman codenamed Ladybug, tasked with a dangerous mission onboard a speeding bullet train in Japan. Based on the 2010 thriller novel by Kōtarō Isaka, Sony Pictures’ R-rated action comedy is directed by David Leitch (Deadpool 2, Atomic Blonde, Hobbs & Shaw).
Box office: This is likely the only film from either August or September with the potential to earn $100M. Good comparisons include March’s The Lost City ($105.3M), February’s Uncharted ($147.8M), 2019’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood ($142.5M), 2012’s 21 Jump Street ($138.4M), and 2017’s Baby Driver ($107.8M).
Friday, August 5
Premise: Standup comedian Jo Koy stars in Universal’s comedy about a Filipino-American family’s crazy dynamics as they meet up on the titular holiday—which, of course, is actually in April in real life. (That months-long discrepancy between the titular holiday and the actual release date also occurred for Kate Winslet’s and Josh Brolin’s drama Labor Day, which opened in January 2014.)
Box office: The absolute best-case scenario for a similar comedy about an Asian family with internecine rivalries would be Crazy Rich Asians ($174.5M), though nobody projects Easter will reach anywhere near that number. (Although, to be fair, nobody thought Crazy would either.) Boxoffice PRO currently projects a total between $40M-$63M, in line with another recent comedy starring an Asian-American cast: Everything Everywhere All at Once ($68.1M).
E.T. (40th anniversary IMAX re-release)
Friday, August 12
This one needs no introduction. The highest-grossing film of 1982 and one of the highest-grossing films of all time, Steven Spielberg’s family sci-fi classic returns for a limited engagement on Imax screens.
Friday, August 12
Premise: In this vertigo-inducing thriller from Lionsgate, Grace Fulton and Virginia Gardner play two friends who decide to ascend the ladder of a 2,000-foot radio tower. Upon reaching the apex, the staircase crumbles and prevents them from descending. Now they’re stuck at the pinnacle, with no working cell phone service and seemingly nobody around for miles to hear them scream.
Box office: Clearly, Lionsgate hopes to replicate the success of their similar “two female best friends trapped in a summer thriller” plot from the distributor’s 2017 shark movie 47 Meters Down ($44.3M). Yet with Fall‘s official trailer through Lionsgate’s YouTube channel standing at less than half a million views only a few weeks prior to release, that seems unlikely. More likely is a gross closer to 2019’s sequel 47 Meters Down: Uncaged ($22.2M), or perhaps even lower than that. 2015’s The Walk, in which Joseph Gordon-Levitt played a man embarking on a tightrope walk 1,000+ feet up, earned $10.1M.
Mack & Rita
Friday, August 12
Premise: Mack (Elizabeth Lail) is a 30-year-old woman who wakes up one day as her 70-year-old self “Rita” (Academy Award winner Diane Keaton) in this comedy from Gravitas Ventures.
Box office: For what it’s worth, Gravitas Ventures has never had a film exceed $2M, though Boxoffice PRO currently projects this one will break that ceiling by a strong margin, earning between $8M-$25M. That would be a bit less than two other 2010s comedies about a 30-ish lead partnering with a senior citizen: 2016’s Zac Efron/Robert De Niro Dirty Grandpa ($35.5M) and 2012’s Seth Rogen/Barbra Streisand The Guilt Trip ($37.1M).
Bodies Bodies Bodies
Friday, August 24
Premise: A pretend-murder party game goes wrong as participants start dying for real in A24’s R-rated ensemble horror-comedy starring Pete Davidson and Amandla Stenberg (The Hate U Give, The Tomorrow War).
Box office: A24’s recent horror releases include March’s X ($11.7M) and May’s Men ($7.5M). Even if it exceeds both those titles, the film’s indie distributor and late August release date means it won’t come anywhere near the box office of 2018’s similarly-premised Game Night ($69.1M).
Friday, August 19
Premise: Idris Elba stars as a father trying to protect his two daughters from a murderous lion on an African safari gone wrong in Universal’s horror-thriller.
Box office: Director Baltasar Kormákur’s last two theatrical releases were also survival films—2018’s Adrift ($31.4M) and 2015’s Everest ($43.4M). Both are in line with the current Boxoffice PRO projection of $28M-$48M.
Dragon Ball Super: SUPER HERO
Friday, August 19
Premise: This is the second installment in the Japanese franchise Dragon Ball Super, which began as a serialized manga in 2015 before being adapted as a Japanese television show and, later, a 2018 film. (All of which was marketed as a sequel series to the ’90s-2000s anime phenomenon Dragon Ball Z.) In this film, from anime distributor Crunchyroll, protagonist Goku must battle the Red Ribbon Army and their two superpowered robots.
Box office: 2018’s Dragon Ball Super: Broly earned $30.3M, while March’s anime Jujutsu Kaisen 0 made a similar $33.9M.
Friday, August 26
Premise: Nathalie Emmanuel (F9, The Maze Runner franchise, Missandei on television’s Game of Thrones) plays a woman who receives an invitation to a lavish wedding at a British mansion, only for guests to start murdering each other once they’ve all arrived.
Box office: Several Screen Gems horror releases from the past five years have earned similar amounts at the box office: 2021’s The Unholy ($15.5M), January 2020’s The Grudge ($21.2M), 2019’s Brightburn ($17.2M), and 2018’s The Possession of Hannah Grace ($14.8M).
Three Thousand Years of Longing
Wednesday, August 31
Premise: Idris Elba, appearing in his second film in as many weeks, plays an ancient genie who grants an academic (Tilda Swinton) three wishes—until things go incredibly haywire. George Miller directs United Artists Releasing’s dark fantasy.
Box office: This one is very difficult to predict. The trailer gives off similar vibes as Everything Everywhere All at Once ($68.1M and counting), though that’s probably an unreachable best-case scenario. Director George Miller’s filmography is so eclectic that his past titles are also difficult to use as a predictor, ranging from 2015’s R-rated action thriller Mad Max: Fury Road to animated family musical comedies like Happy Feet. (Both films earned $150M+, which Longing won’t even approach.) A more realistic comparison might be 2021’s The Green Knight ($17.1M).