June rolls on this weekend as two new wide releases hit theaters in hopes of adding to an overall healthy market with business up markedly over the same post-Memorial Day period last year.
- The X-Men franchise is generally reliable in that its fans have always shown up in solid numbers on opening weekend over the course of the past 19 years, and that looks to be Dark Phoenix‘s biggest strength. The lowest opening in the series thus far has been 2013’s The Wolverine, which earned $53.1 million in its first weekend.
- The X-Men franchise has also earned consistent praise for its strongly cast ensemble of actors, and the promise of Dark Phoenixbeing the final film of the second generation’s run should entice die hard fans.
- As the sequel to the film which still owns the biggest debut in history ($104.4 million) for an original film (animated or otherwise), The Secret Life of Pets 2 brings in a considerable family fan base with Illumination’s run of hit animated films over the past decade.
- Pets 2 also represents the first tentpole animation release of this summer, which has proven advantageous for films like Madagascar 3 ($60.3 million) and Monsters University ($82.4 million) in years past despite more heavily anticipated films lurking around the corner — as is the case with this year’s Toy Story 4 in two weeks’ time.
- Unfortunately, critics’ reviews for Dark Phoenix are in the cellar with a 21 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes as of this report’s publishing. That’s well below the 47 percent score of X-Men: Apocalypse, which itself divided fans three years ago and proved to burn off much off the goodwill earned by its own lead-in hit, 2014’s X-Men: Days of Future Past. The “verified” Audience Score also already sits at an underwhelming 65 percent.
- In a market relatively crowded in recent weeks by films aimed at adult males (namely last week’s Godzilla: King of the Monsters and the successful run of John Wick: Chapter 3), Dark Phoenix has an additional challenge ahead in trying to excite its target audience — particularly given the general knowledge that this is the end of the Fox-era run of the series before Disney and Marvel presumably reboot it with a blank canvas at some point in the near future. Not to be forgotten is that this is the second attempt at a Dark Phoenix film in the last 13 years.
- As mentioned earlier, Secret Life of Pets 2‘s biggest disadvantage thus far seems to be the imminent release of Toy Story 4 — which has already broken Fandango pre-sales records in the animation medium as families scoop up tickets for the event-level sequel.
- As a cautionary tale, animated sequels aren’t any less prone to diminished returns than live action ones — as recently evidenced by this year’s LEGO Movie 2 under-performance.
- Dark Phoenix: $45 – 55 million
- The Secret Life of Pets 2: $50 – 70 million
- Late Night: no forecast due to lack of theater count confirmation from Amazon Studios
Top 10 vs. Last Year
Boxoffice projects this weekend’s top ten films will increase approximately 71 – 76 percent from the same weekend last year, which saw Ocean’s 8 ($41.6 million), Hereditary ($13.6 million), and Hotel Artemis ($3.2 million) debut as part of an overall $109.7 million top ten frame.
|Film||Distributor||3-Day Weekend Forecast||Projected Domestic Total through Sunday, June 9||% Change from Last Wknd|
|The Secret Life of Pets 2||Universal / Illumination||$62,000,000*||$62,000,000*||NEW|
|Godzilla: King of the Monsters||Warner Bros.||$19,000,000||$81,100,000||-60%|
|John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum||Lionsgate / Summit||$6,400,000||$137,200,000||-42%|
|Avengers: Endgame||Disney / Marvel||$4,700,000||$824,000,000||-41%|
|Pokémon: Detective Pikachu||Warner Bros.||$4,100,000||$138,200,000||-41%|
|Booksmart||United Artists Releasing||$2,200,000||$18,500,000||-33%|
* = Excludes earnings from Fandango’s early screenings on May 25, which Universal has confirmed will be rolled into this Sunday’s gross.
Forecasts subject to change as location counts are finalized before Friday.
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