Weekend Box Office Forecast: Will DC League of Super-Pets Bring Out Families in Late Summer Debut? (Updated w/ Preview Analysis)

Photo Credits: Warner Bros. ("DC League of Super-Pets")

Friday Update: Warner Bros. reports DC League of Super-Pets earned $2.2 million from domestic previews on Thursday. Shows began at 2pm in around 3,200 cinemas.

Comparison-wise, here’s how that figure stacks up to similar films:

  • 336% ahead of Paws of Fury
  • 58% behind Lightyear (including Wednesday Early Access)
  • 91% ahead of The Bad Guys
  • 18% percent behind Jungle Cruise
  • 115% ahead of Teen Titans Go! to the Movies
  • 144% ahead of The Emoji Movie

As always, it’s worth noting the start of preview times for most of those films skew direct extrapolations for the weekend in Super-Pets‘ case.

With that in mind, Thursday’s results line up with the low end of expectations baked into the final forecast range reported on Wednesday.

An opening frame north of $25 million appears likely at this stage, with some potential to clear $30 million depending on weekend play. While this falls shy of earlier long range tracking, the film has a long runway to grow legs with no other major animated releases on the calendar until November.

Wednesday Report: July’s final frame will hope to spur family moviegoer interest with Warner Bros.’ DC League of Super-Pets, the last major animated release planned to hit theaters until November.

The IP-based toon has a number of advantages in its favor, namely the DC Comics branding and star voice casting of Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart — who have recently driven strong family attendance for the Jumanji sequels.

Still, it’s the third animated film to open in theaters within the last month. Minions: The Rise of Gru is still going fairly strong after four weekends as it comes off an $18 million frame and crosses $300 million for its domestic total, while Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank has been a notable misfire with under $14 million through two weekends.

That leaves Super-Pets in an intriguing position. As noted in last week’s tracking, pre-sales haven’t quite lived up to expectations, even if there isn’t an overabundance of relevant comparison points during the mid-to-post pandemic era.

However, the film is still likely to generate strong legs in the end with virtually no competition ahead of it in the final weeks of summer (or early fall, for that matter). Despite the DC branding, late-stage growth pacing for pre-sales and organic walk-up sales this weekend could come at stronger clip than those of the recent Minions film, which had more of a clear franchise-driven demand driving it early on.

The DC toon opens with a partial premium footprint this weekend, which will hold back comparisons to recent family tentpoles like the Minions sequel and Lightyear, both of which debuted with IMAX in their arsenal.

That being said, the end of summer is nigh from movie season perspective with many schools going back into session throughout August. Demand for one last trip to theaters could be in store for parents looking to get their kids out of the house. This time of year has seen its fair share of mid-range animated pics trying to capitalize on that with varying results, such as The Emoji Movie ($24.5 million opening in July 2017) and Teen Titans GO! to the Movies ($10.4 million in July 2018).

The latter example was a relatively front-loaded film, something Super-Pets hopes to avoid with the same DC franchise name behind it.

While the expectation is for this film to be less front-loaded than Emoji or Minions, there is still some minor caution warranted given the fan-heavy comic book universe it’s attached to, not to mention lingering competition from Minions and real-world economic considerations for families that may or may not be planning one last vacation around this time on the calendar.

Another apt comparison may be Space Jam: A New Legacy, which somewhat over-performed relative to pandemic expectations one year ago this month when it bowed to $31.05 million without Thursday previews and with a simultaneous streaming release on HBO Max.

Early reviews are generally fresh with a 76 percent score from 34 critics on Rotten Tomatoes. The film will release in an estimated 4,200 domestic locations on Friday following wide Thursday previews beginning at 2pm.

On the holdover front, Jordan Peele’s Nope will retain IMAX and some premium theaters for its second frame with no new audience competition on deck. Audience reception has been closer to mixed than that of critics.

After delivering the best debut for an original screenplay since Peele’s own Us in early 2019, though on the low end of forecasts, Nope will aim to develop some staying power among genre fans before Bullet Train drops next week and claims its PLF space.

Meanwhile, adult-driven holdovers should experience fairly soft drops this weekend. Focus Features is also releasing Vengeance at 998 locations, which could be a wide enough spread to help it sneak in among the top ten. Reviews are healthy with an 84 percent score from 31 critics as of Wednesday afternoon.

Weekend Ranges

DC League of Super-Pets
Opening Weekend Range: $26 – 39 million

Weekend Forecast & Location Count Projections

Current projection ranges call for a 10 to 20 percent decline from last weekend’s $124.1 million top ten aggregate.

Film Distributor 3-Day Weekend Forecast Projected Domestic Total through Sunday, July 31 Location Count Projection (as of Wed) % Change from Last Wknd
DC League of Super-Pets Warner Bros. Pictures $31,200,000 $31,200,000 ~4,200 NEW
Nope Universal Pictures $20,000,000 $82,700,000 ~3,785 -55%
Thor: Love and Thunder Disney & Marvel Studios $13,500,000 $302,700,000 ~3,800 -40%
Minions: The Rise of Gru Universal & Illumination Animation $10,600,000 $319,400,000 ~3,500 -41%
Top Gun: Maverick Paramount Pictures $9,000,000 $651,000,000 ~3,100 -12%
Where the Crawdads Sing Sony 3000 Pictures $7,700,000 $53,400,000 ~3,400 -26%
Elvis Warner Bros. Pictures $5,600,000 $128,700,000 ~2,800 -15%
The Black Phone Universal Pictures $2,600,000 $83,300,000 ~1,800 -26%
Vengeance Focus Features $2,300,000 $2,300,000 998 NEW
Jurassic World Dominion Universal Pictures $2,200,000 $369,600,000 ~1,900 -29%

*All forecasts are subject to revision before the first confirmation of Thursday previews or Friday estimates from studios or official sources.

Theater counts are updated as confirmed by studiosThe above table does not necessarily represent the top ten as some studios do not finalize weekend location counts and/or an intent to report box office returns prior to publishing.

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