In 2022, July was the only month to top the billion-dollar mark, with $1.13B. Could July 2023 top the billion-dollar mark too?
So far this year, June also achieved the feat due to a wide range of films, including Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, Transformers: Rise of the Beasts, and late-May holdover The Little Mermaid.
July 2023 may be the next month which finally surpasses that vaunted nine-digit domestic box office mark once more. Moviegoers will be enticed to cinemas by some of the biggest names in Hollywood: Tom Cruise, Christopher Nolan, and no less than “Barbie and Ken.” (Not to mention Harrison Ford’s return as Indiana Jones on the final day of June.)
Here are the biggest movies coming to cinemas this month, listed in chronological order of wide release.
Friday, July 7
Premise: Lionsgate’s R-rated comedy stars four Asian-American female leads as best friends on a trip through Asia itself, led by Stephanie Hsu, fresh off her Best Supporting Actress Academy Award nomination for Everything Everywhere All at Once. Adele Lim makes her directorial debut, after cowriting the screenplay for Crazy Rich Asians and Raya and the Last Dragon.
Box office: 2018’s Crazy Rich Asians, one of the biggest financial surprises in recent Hollywood memory with $174.5M, is the high-water mark to aim for here. (Although it was also PG-13.) 2022’s Easter Sunday with $13.0M, a similar comedy based on an Asian-American culture, is a low-water mark to avoid. More likely is a total similar to June’s R-rated comedy No Hard Feelings, which earned $21.8M through its first week and will likely end somewhere in the $40M to $60M range.
Insidious: The Red Door
Friday, July 7
Premise: Sony Pictures’ fifth installment in the 2010s horror franchise about demon possession. Patrick Wilson, who starred in three of the franchise’s prior four films, makes his directorial debut in addition to costarring.
Box office: All four prior installments earned somewhere in the $50M to $80M range. 2011’s original Insidious, also the only R-rated installment, scared up $54.0M. 2013’s Insidious: Chapter 2 became the top-performing film with $83.5M. While 2015’s Insidious: Chapter 3 fell to $52.2M, then 2018’s Insidious: The Last Key rose once again to $67.7M.
Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part One
Wednesday, July 12
Premise: Paramount’s seventh installment in the action franchise marks Tom Cruise’s first return to the big screen since last summer’s record-breaking Top Gun: Maverick. Almost nothing has been revealed about the plot for Ethan Hunt’s latest adventure, but the stunts look incredible, the trailers have notched an enormous number of online views, and director Christopher McQuarrie is back for the fourth straight film. The first part of a two-part story arc, which continues in June 2024.
Box office: 2018’s sixth and prior installment, Mission: Impossible — Fallout, was the highest-grossing yet with $220.1M. Reckoning will aim to beat that mark and become the franchise’s new top installment. That’s particularly true if, as some speculate, many moviegoers may view it as something of a de facto follow-up to Maverick as much as for Fallout.
Friday, July 21
Premise: “If you love Barbie, this movie is for you. If you hate Barbie, this movie is for you.” So promises the trailer for Warner Bros.’ comedy, starring Margot Robbie as the titular iconic doll who escapes from her fantasy world into the “real” world, with Ryan Gosling as Ken in tow. Greta Gerwig (Lady Bird and 2019’s Little Women) directs.
Box office: The other biggest comedy film of the past decade based on a bestselling children’s toy, 2014’s The LEGO Movie built up $257.7M.
Friday, July 21
Premise: Universal’s historical drama stars Cillian Murphy as J. Robert Oppenheimer, who oversaw the Manhattan Project and American’s atomic bomb invention during World War II. Christopher Nolan (Inception, The Dark Knight, Interstellar) directs, moving the project away from his longtime distributor Warner Bros. to protest their 2021 decision to release all that year’s films day-and-date, simultaneously in cinemas and on streaming.
Box office: Nolan’s other WWII-set title, 2017’s Dunkirk, flew to $190.0M — although that was also much more of an action film than this film, a drama. Other major WWII-set films which earned in the expected $100M to $200M range include 2001’s Pearl Harbor with $198.5M and 2014’s Unbroken with $115.6M.
Friday, July 28
Premise: Disney’s family fantasy horror comedy, based on the legendary Walt Disney World theme park ride, stars Owen Wilson, Tiffany Haddish, Lakeith Stanfield, Danny DeVito, and Rosario Dawson. Justin Simien (Dear White People) directs.
Box office: 2003’s original The Haunted Mansion, starring Eddie Murphy, did okay but not great with $75.8M. Other similar family fantasy horror comedies of recent years include 2016’s Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children with $87.2M, 2015’s Goosebumps with $80.0M, and 2018’s The House with a Clock in its Walls with $68.5M.