Long Range Tracking: X-Men: Dark Phoenix & The Secret Life of Pets 2

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Our long range report for this week takes an early look at June’s first tentpole releases. Will the veteran superhero franchise or the animated Illumination sequel come out on top?

Dark Phoenix
Opening Weekend Range: $40 – 55 million

PROS:

  • The returning cast of James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Sophie Turner, and others from the First Class/Days of Future Past/Apocalypse trilogy will offer continuity and likely bring back fans of those chapters.
  • To date, every film in the X-Men film franchise (11, including the Deadpool films) has opened north of $50 million domestically, demonstrating its reliability over the past two decades.
  • Director Simon Kinberg and early trailers offer promise that the film will appeal to fans disappointed by the last on-screen portrayal of the Dark Phoenix story — considered one of the most popular in X-Men and Marvel comic lore — in 2006’s The Last Stand.

CONS:

  • Early social media traction has fallen shy of Apocalypse‘s at the same point before release, generating significantly less Twitter discussion thus far.
  • The revelation of a major character’s apparent demise in the most recent trailer has muddied buzz recently.
  • In addition to likely paying for the lukewarm reception of Apocalypse two years ago (which managed just a 2.36x multiple from opening weekend), this entry now faces the challenge of overcoming franchise fatigue as fans are already looking ahead to how Disney will reboot the characters and property in the wake of the Fox acquisition. This could significantly diminish Dark Phoenix‘s attempts to course correct the franchise, regardless of the quality of the movie itself.

The Secret Life of Pets 2
Opening Weekend Range: $70 – 90 million

PROS:

  • The first film was a runaway breakout three years ago, opening to $104.4 million (the most ever for an original movie) and legging out to a strong $368.4 million domestically.
  • This sequel represents the first tentpole animated release of summer, which has historically proven fruitful for movies in a similar position.
  • With most of the ensemble cast returning in addition to new voice actors — plus director Chris Renaud’s return — it can safely be expected that Illumination will live up to its usual standards of quality as the film aims for multi-age appeal.

CONS:

  • Opening two weeks after Aladdin will place some minor importance on that film’s overall reception and appeal to young audiences, but the more significant source of competition will be Toy Story 4 when it opens two weeks after Pets 2. In reverse of the situation that played out in summer 2013 (when Monsters University opened two weeks before Despicable Me 2), we’re currently expecting the Pixar sequel to claim the summer animation box office crown this time after tremendously positive reactions to its early trailers.

8-Week Tracking

Release Date Title 3-Day Wide Release Tracking % Chg from Last Week Domestic Total Forecast % Chg from Last Week Estimated Location Count Distributor
4/17/2019 Breakthrough $13,000,000 -4% $50,000,000 -4% 2,700 Fox
4/17/2019 Penguins $4,250,000 -6% $17,500,000   1,700 Disney / Disneynature
4/19/2019 The Curse of La Llorona $19,000,000 -5% $42,000,000 -7% 3,400 Warner Bros. (New Line)
4/26/2019 Avengers: Endgame $272,000,000 3% $660,000,000 2% 4,480 Disney / Marvel
5/3/2019 The Intruder $14,500,000   $40,000,000   Sony / Columbia
5/3/2019 Long Shot $12,500,000 -22% $50,000,000 -17% Lionsgate / Summit
5/3/2019 Uglydolls $13,000,000 63% $44,000,000 63% STX
5/10/2019 All Is True n/a   n/a     Sony Classics
5/10/2019 Detective Pikachu $90,000,000   $250,000,000   Warner Bros.
5/10/2019 The Hustle $12,000,000 -4% $34,000,000 -3% Mirror Films / MGM
5/10/2019 Poms $12,500,000   $45,000,000   STX
5/10/2019 The Rosie Project n/a   n/a   TriStar
5/17/2019 A Dog’s Journey $11,000,000   $39,500,000   Sony / Columbia
5/17/2019 John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum $35,000,000   $100,000,000   Lionsgate / Summit
5/17/2019 The Sun Is Also a Star $12,000,000   $36,000,000   Warner Bros.
5/24/2019 Ad Astra n/a   n/a   Fox
5/24/2019 Aladdin $85,000,000   $235,000,000   Disney
5/24/2019 Booksmart n/a   n/a   Annapurna Pictures
5/24/2019 BrightBurn n/a   n/a   Sony / Columbia
5/31/2019 Godzilla: King of the Monsters $48,000,000 4% $130,000,000 18% Warner Bros.
5/31/2019 Ma $24,000,000   $63,000,000   Universal
5/31/2019 Rocketman $37,000,000   $165,000,000   Paramount
6/7/2019 Dark Phoenix $47,000,000 NEW $113,000,000 NEW Fox
6/7/2019 Late Night n/a   n/a     Amazon Studios
6/7/2019 The Secret Life of Pets 2 $80,000,000 NEW $263,000,000 NEW Universal

Forecasts subject to change as location counts are finalized before Friday.

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Alex Edghill & Jesse Rifkin contributed to this report

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