June comes to a close this weekend as we approach the heart of summer, not to mention the lucrative Fourth of July holiday frame. This year, Independence Day lands on a Tuesday for the first time since 2006. Studios are expected to report traditional three-day weekend grosses as well as five-day (Friday through Tuesday) grosses next week. For our purposes, however, we’re sticking to the traditional three-day window in our forecasts below.
Our final analysis for this weekend’s openers:
- Despicable Me 3 (Universal / Illumination) enters a market that hasn’t seen a blockbuster animated offering for several months (no offense to the relatively successful Captain Underpants and Cars 3). Given the franchise’s immense popularity over the last seven years — earning more than $955 million across the first two films and a spin-off — families with kids are expected to again to turn out in droves for Gru and the lovable Minions. (Side note: at an estimated 4,529 theaters, this will surpass The Twilight Saga: Eclipse‘s 4,468 locations as the widest release of all time.)
- Baby Driver (Sony / TriStar) has the support of an incredible 98 percent Rotten Tomatoes score going into release, as well as fan support for writer/director Edgar Wright after his handful of cult classic films (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, The World’s End, & Scott Pilgrim vs. the World) over the past decade-plus. With an American setting, strong ensemble cast, and the yearning by many audiences for more original summer movies, this one has been on our radar as a sleeper hit contender for quite some time. Twitter activity has been comparable to that of Kingsman: The Secret Service in the days ahead of release.
- The House (Warner Bros. / New Line) pairs two of comedy’s most popular stars in Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler, which could appeal to Saturday Night Live fans. The lack of breakout comedies so far this summer could also help as adults look for a few laughs going into the holiday weekend.
- Despicable Me 3 does represent the fourth entry of the franchise, which is typically the point when some audience burnout begins to display itself. Reviews are modest (66 percent) after an initial wave of very positive reactions in recent weeks. This shouldn’t deter too many families, but it could be tougher than expected to crack the $100 million opening threshold now. Twitter buzz is notably quieter than it was for previous installments.
- Ironically, Baby Driver‘s biggest challenge to overcome will be the fact that it’s not an established brand name. Again, we’re putting some confidence in audiences giving the original movie a fair chance based on strong buzz and excellent marketing, but it’s also possible this could prove to be more of a slow-burn box office run. To that end, pre-release Facebook growth hasn’t been as strong as we’d like to see.
- The House remains under a review embargo as of this writing, which is typically not a great sign so close to release. Comedies tend to be more critic-proof than other genres, but a string of recent misfires in the genre could have some undesired splash effect on this one. Social media activity has been pointedly underwhelming across all tracked platforms.
Check out our final weekend forecast for key films in the table below.
|Title||Distributor||Weekend||Domestic Total through Sunday, July 2||% Change|
|Despicable Me 3||Universal||$89,000,000||$89,000,000||NEW|
|Baby Driver||Sony / TriStar||$20,500,000||$32,000,000||NEW|
|Transformers: The Last Knight||Paramount||$17,870,000||$104,260,000||-60.00%|
|Wonder Woman||Warner Bros.||$16,190,000||$345,940,000||-35.00%|
|The House||Warner Bros. / New Line||$10,000,000||$10,000,000||NEW|
Shawn Robbins and Alex Edghill contributed to this report.