Weekend Forecast: ‘The BFG’, ‘The Legend Of Tarzan’ & ‘The Purge: Election Year’

This Independence Day holiday weekend three new wide releases will open, each targeting a distinct demographic in hopes of being breakout successes for their respective backers. Steven Spielberg directs the Roald Dahl adaptation The BFG for Disney, Alexander Skarsgård attempts yet again to translate his success from the small screen to theaters with Warner Brothers’ The Legend Of Tarzan, and because 2016 is the summer of sequels Universal will bring its third entry in The Purge series – The Purge: Election Year.

The BFG

PROS:

  • Steven Spielberg is a living legend with both the box office patrons and critics alike, having given moviegoers blockbusters and award-season darlings plenty since the mid-70s across a wide range of genres. His name alone raises the profile of the film arguably more than any other director working today.
  • Roald Dahl’s book that the film is based off of is one of his more popular stories. Many of his works have previously been adapted for feature films, most notably was Charlie And The Chocolate Factory (twice), Matilda and James And The Giant Peach.
  • Disney’s films targeting younger audiences have been one of the standout stories in 2016 so far with Zootopia, The Jungle Book and Finding Nemo all exceeding even the biggest of expectations so far. The BFG is being pushed through the same marketing engine that has churned out these blockbusters.

CONS:

  • Aside from Charlie And The Chocolate Factory Roald Dahl’s adaptations have not been huge earners at the box office.
  • There is little star power here outside of Spielberg and he is behind the camera.
  • Finding Nemo is still very much in charge at the box office and one can’t help but wonder if Disney will just be cannibalizing themselves here.

The Legend Of Tarzan

PROS:

  • Tarzan is a much-beloved figure in popular culture, with film adaptations dating back to the early 20th century. The name recognition of the character itself is huge.
  • Alexander Skarsgård has made a name for himself on HBO with the True Blood series as well as the mini-series Generation Kill, particularly with women. Outside of  Skarsgård, the cast is filled with very talented and recognizable actors included Margot Robbie, Samuel L. Jackson, and Christoph Waltz.
  • Social media has been solid leading up to release, especially on Facebook where its like total of 375,000 is way ahead of the 250,000 that Pan managed in October of last year.

CONS:

  • Though he has attempted many times, Skarsgård has been unable to translate his small screen notability to box office dollars thus far.
  • The market is very crowded for the demographic this will be playing to, with Independence Day: Resurrection looking to have a strong second weekend if for no other reason than its title coinciding with the Independence Day holiday.

The Purge: Election Year

PROS:

  • 2013’s The Purge and 2014’s The Purge: Anarchy were both very successful at the box office with respective total domestic grosses of $64.5 million and $72.0 million.
  • The Purge: Election Year is hoping to get a boost from its election theme in an election year filled with tension, finger-pointing, and even hatred between many of the respective parties and candidates. In this regard the film might be a timely outlet for many and a welcomed alter-verse escape.
  • After a slow start to its marketing campaign in terms of social media uptake it has really taken off recently, topping 10,000 tweets for the past three days. It is currently ~15% ahead of where The Purge: Anarchy was during its release week.

CONS:

  • The Conjuring 2 and The Shallows have both done well in recent weeks and they both hit a similar horror demographic. Fatigue for said demographic could see this underperform what it could have achieved in a different slot.
  • 2016 has not been kind in recent months to sequels outside of a few notable exceptions (notably Finding Dory), and this too could suffer from sequel-itis.

Top 10 Forecast

Box Office Pro forecasts this weekend’s top ten films will generate $178.2 million over the four day weekend ending July 4th. Last year since the Independence holiday fell on a Friday a four day comparison between years isn’t valid. The last time the holiday fell on a Monday was in 2011 when the top ten grossed $222.4 million led by a giant $115 million from Transformers: Dark Of The Moon.

Check out our complete weekend forecast below.

Title Distributor Weekend Domestic Total through
Monday, July 4
Finding Dory Disney $50,000,000 $380,675,000
The Purge: Election Year Universal $30,000,000 $30,000,000
Independence Day: Resurgence Fox $22,000,000 $79,000,000
The Legend Of Tarzan Warner Bros. $21,500,000 $21,500,000
The BFG Disney $19,500,000 $19,500,000
Central Intelligence Warner Bros. $13,600,000 $93,150,000
The Shallows Columbia $9,250,000 $35,500,000
The Conjuring 2 Warner Bros. $4,600,000 $96,175,000
Free State of Jones STX Entertainment $4,500,000 $15,725,000
Now You See Me 2 Lionsgate/Summit $3,250,000 $59,200,000
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