LONG RANGE FORECAST: TWISTERS Brings Breakout Potential to July

Courtesy of Universal Pictures

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Long Range Forecast — July 19, 2024

Twisters | Universal
Domestic Opening Weekend Range: $65M – $95M (as of 6/20)

Hitting theaters 28 years after its predecessor, Universal’s reboot/sequel Twisters is banking on a combination of nostalgia and the growing star power of leads Daisy Edgar-Jones and Glen Powell to draw audiences to the big screen.

On the nostalgia front, Twister was a considerable hit for Warner Bros. when it came out in 1996, ranking as the second-highest-grossing film of that year, trailing only Independence Day and outearning third-place finisher—the first Mission: Impossible movie—by over $50M. Unlike Independence Day and Mission: Impossible, Twister has laid somewhat low in the subsequent decades; it neither helped to launch the film career of one of the era’s biggest stars nor spawned a beloved, decades-spanning action franchise, which could help forestall the sequel fatigue that has affected other ’90s properties over the years.

This time around, the disaster action is directed by Minari‘s Lee Isaac Chung—who spoke at this year’s CinemaCon about how growing up in Arkansas gave him a life-long fascination with tornadoes—and the aforementioned Edgar-Jones and Powell. Powell, in particular, is on something of a hot streak lately. He co-starred in last year’s Anyone but You ($6M domestic opening), which made it past an underwhelming debut and rode strong week-on-week holds to a $220M global gross, making it the rare recent example of a financially successful R-rated rom-com. Powell subsequently led Richard Linklater’s Hit Man—which, per rankings on Rotten Tomatoes (96% positive from critics, 93% positive from audiences), was quite well-received, though being a Netflix release there are no solid figures to go on. Edgar-Jones had a big 2022, starring in a buzzy Hulu horror film (Fresh), a prestigious miniseries (“Under the Banner of Heaven”), and Where the Crawdads Sing ($17.2M domestic opening)—an adaptation of a best-selling novel that failed to catch on with audiences, topping out at number three on the domestic box office charts. Powell, like Edgar-Jones, has yet to headline lead a film that hit expectations out of the gate. Though the pair may be popular among younger audiences—indicated by early trailers, which have garnered positive traction on social media—it’s not clear that they’ll show up to the cinema for them… at least on opening weekend.

Still, our panel’s forecast has Twisters far out-grossing other recent disaster films like 2017’s Geostorm ($13.7M domestic opening, $33.7M domestic total), 2019’s The Hurricane Heist ($3.0M domestic opening, $6.1M domestic total), and 2022’s Moonfall ($9.8 domestic opening, $19M domestic total).

PLF—namely, the desire not to miss out on PLF tickets—is one factor potentially pushing moviegoers to get out on opening weekend. Premium formats like Imax, ScreenX, motion seating, and other white-label premium offerings have provided a major box office boost to many big-budget films this year… and those films weren’t about gigantic weather phenomena, making it an attractive fit with premium formats. With a marketing campaign emphasizing spectacle, expect premium seats to be the first to sell out.

Tracking Updates [as of 6/20]

Release DateTitleOpening Weekend RangeDistributor
6/21/24The Bikeriders$7-$12MFocus Features
6/28/24Horizon: An American Saga$15-$25MWarner Bros.
6/28/24A Quiet Place: Day One$45-$55MParamount Pictures
7/3/24Despicable Me 4$65-$85M (3-Day)Universal Pictures / Illumination

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Courtesy of Universal Pictures
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