Photo by Hopper Stone / Photo courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures

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Long Range Forecast — August 2, 2024

Harold and the Purple Crayon | Sony
Domestic Opening Weekend Range: $10M – $20M (as of 7/3)

This adaptation of a popular children’s novel, led by Zachary Levi, could be a late summer family film to watch out for. The last week of July/first week of August release corridor has proven a solid one for studios pushing a new take on classic children’s IP, as parents look for a final movie outing before children return to school. Recent examples include Disney’s Haunted Mansion (2023; $24.0M domestic opener, $67.6M total domestic), Christopher Robin (2018; $24.5M domestic opener, $99.2M total domestic), and Jungle Cruise (2021; $35M domestic opening, $116.9M total domestic) or Paramount’s Dora and the Lost City of Gold (2019; $17.4M domestic opening, $60.4M total domestic).

Working against Harold is that its source material is neither a Disney theme park attraction nor a popular children’s TV series, but a picture book—albeit a popular one—initially released in 1955. Written and illustrated by Crockett Johnson, the book tells of a four-year-old who draws himself into a series of adventures using his trusty purple crayon; the book is more about concept than plot, leaving screenwriters David Guion and Michael Handelman to craft a filmable version of the book’s scant story. Name recognition on Harold could be low, at least compared to previously mentioned Disney titles, leaving an uphill battle for Sony in terms of marketing. Absent an a-list star like Jungle Cruise‘s Dwayne Johnson, something like the $16.7M Clifford the Big Red Dog opened to in 2021 is a more reasonable mark for Harold to hit.

On the plus side, by the time Harold hits theaters it will have been just under a month since the opening of the latest wide-release family title, Despicable Me 4. Even if that film overperforms, holdovers are unlikely to be a factor in Harold‘s opening weekend performance. And, if star Zahary Levi hasn’t exactly lit the box office on fire lately (his Shazam! Fury of the Gods failed to reach $60M domestically when it was released last year), director Carlos Saldanha has enough high-profile children’s movies under his belt (including the two Rio films and three entries in the Ice Age franchise) to make parents comfortable.

Trap | Warner Bros.
Domestic Opening Weekend Range: $20M – $30M (as of 7/3)

M. Night Shyamalan returns to theaters with Trap, described by the writer/director with the pitch “What if The Silence Of The Lambs happened at a Taylor Swift concert?” Starring Josh Hartnett as a serial killer who takes his daughter to a concert, only to discover that the cops know he’s there and have set a trap for him, the thriller should attract fans of Shyamalan and serve as a solid counterprogramming option in a week otherwise dominated by holdovers and new family release Harold and the Purple Crayon.

Looking to recent Shyamalan films, Trap is more likely to enjoy an opening weekend in line with 2023’s Knock at the Cabin ($14.1M) or 2021’s Old ($16.8M), both of them based on concepts original to the big screen; the $40.3M debut of 2019’s Glass, a follow-up to two previous Shyamalan films, is likely out of reach, though a promising social media reception to Trap‘s trailers could put it on the higher end of opening weekend predictions. Like Old, Trap is a thriller hitting theaters in late July/early August, with a high concept but without A-list star power; Old eventually earned $48.2M in the domestic market, putting it roughly in line with the $50,000,000 – $70,000,000 range our Boxoffice Forecasting Panel has for Trap.

Trap will be the second Shyamalan-produced title to come out this summer, the director also having produced June Warner Bros. release The Watchers ($7M opening), directed by his daughter Ishana Shyamalan. Another daughter, Saleka Shyamalan, plays the concert headliner in Trap; all three were on hand at this year’s CinemaCon as part of Warner Bros.’ studio presentation, where M. Night discussed the big-screen potential of a thriller taking place at a concert. The melding of thriller and concert film is also present in upcoming Paramount release Smile 2, out on October 18.

Tracking Updates [as of 7/3]

Release DateTitleOpening Weekend RangeDistributor
7/12/24Fly Me to the Moon$12-$18MSony/Apple
7/26/24Deadpool & Wolverine$175-$200M Disney

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Photo by Hopper Stone / Photo courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures
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