THB #377: Box Office Summer
The last box office piece I wrote got very thicc. I know some of you glaze over when those pieces land. So today, I will try to keep it super simple.
Starting with today’s release of The Little Mermaid, there are 20 films coming to movie theaters before Labor Day with a legit chance of cracking $100 million domestic.
The Little Mermaid - May 26
Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse - June 2
Transformers: Rise of the Beasts - June 9
Elemental - June 16
The Flash - June 16
The Blackening - June 16
No Hard Feelings - June 23
Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny - June 30
Insidious: The Red Door - July 7
Joyride - July 7
Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One - July 12
Barbie - July 21
Oppenheimer - July 21
Haunted Mansion - July 28
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem - August 2
The Meg 2: The Trench - August 4
Last Voyage of the Demeter - August 11
Gran Turismo - August 11
Strays - August 18
Blue Beetle - August 18
The 8 bolded titles are the ones with the toughest road to a $100 million gross.
Half are those 4 not-easy titles are straight comedies (The Blackening, No Hard Feelings, Joyride, and Strays). I think it is highly likely that 1 of the 4 will catch fire and get to $100 million. I think there is legitimate hope that 2 will make it. All 4 of the film are R-rated.
Two of the comedies are being released by Lionsgate, who has never had a comedy top $100 million domestic, including all of the Tyler Perry films… which points out that $100 million for a comedy is not a neccessity to have a legit success. I have seen and enjoyed The Blackening. Looking forward to Joyride, the bones of which go back to Girls Trip, which was a surprise $100m+ smash.
Of the other two comedies, one is from Sony. The Jennifer Lawrence trying to get a legally-adult teenage boy to have sex with her so she can “win” a car from his parents, from the director of Good Boys ($83m domestic). The other is from Universal, talking dogs, talking filthy, from the director of the cult hit, Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar (streaming). It’s been 17 years since The 40 Year Old Virgin, which is a classic, but “only” got to $109 million domestic. So we will see.
The other four are all pushing off of established IP.
Insidious: The Red Door is the 5th film in a franchise that peaked domestically with the 2nd film ($84 million) and is being distributed by its 4th studio in 4 releases.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem is the 7th film made from this IP. The only 2 that beat $100m domestic were the first (1990) and 2014 reboot, both live action. This one is animated. Will Spider-Man lead this one to higher highs?
Last Voyage of the Demeter is a Dracula movie, Universal’s 2nd of the year, both with untraditional takes. The first, Renfield, was an action/horror/comedy. Flopped. This one is about the journey over the oceans (literal, not of time) of The Count. Horror/Thriller.
Gran Turismo is the nest videogame-to-movie transfer, telling the story of a gamer who gets to race in real life. New hook. Clever. The last driving game that was converted in a big way was Need For Speed in 2014. Bomb in America ($44 m)… big hit internationally ($160m).
Okay… let’s move on to the 12 almost-sure hits. I am changing the way I am splitting them up. These 12 aren’t just about hitting $100 million… but opening to $100 million.
Looking back for the decade before COVID, there were 3 years with just 1 $100m opening, 4 with 2, 3 with 3, and just one (2016) with 4. That’s an average of 2.4 $100m openings per summer. We’ve already had 2 this summer, assuming The Little Mermaid makes it. So it would be a new record if 3 more did it and hitting above the pre-COVID average if just 1 or 2 more make it.
First, the 3 films that really are mostly expected to get that $100 million domestic launch:
1. The Little Mermaid is on the way to a $100 million+ opening, though it could come up short in 3 days… probably just over.
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