Where has time gone? Not only is this the three quarters mark for the summer movie season, but this will also mark my last blog post for weekend box office predictions before it becomes one year since my first. I remember being nervous for the first one since we had Suicide Squad (2016) opening and I was afraid I’d overestimate its opening so I went conservative, but it did more than expected. Anyways, we have two new wide releases this week: Atomic Blonde and The Emoji Movie. And with all the leftovers from the last few weeks, plus a lot of folks who were either in person in San Diego for Comic-Con or who were glued to their screens awaiting footage and news not being able to go to the theaters last weekend, I feel we’ll get some small drop-offs and maybe some larger than expected openings. Let’s get going.
You know, it’s a sad commentary to see something like The Emoji Movie being advertised, and for me to have to type that it will top the weekend box office. The movie does have a lot of talent in its voice cast, including T.J. Miller, James Corden, Anna Faris, Maya Rudolph, Steven Wright, Sofia Vergara, Rob Riggle, and Patrick Stewart, and sure we have films like The LEGO Movie (2014) and The LEGO Batman Movie (2017) that may look like they’re just advertising, but they have a lot of heart. Just off of the surprisingly few ads I’ve seen, though, heart was not a part of Sony Animation’s plan. No reviews have been allowed so far, which is the kiss of death if you want critics to support you, and while sure, all the kids who want to see the film won’t care about that, the few ads I’ve seen may be a reflection that the film isn’t going to be a massive opening. Tracking right now has it hitting $30 million, and while sure more often than not this summer the family films have not hit their marks, I think everybody who wants to see Despicable Me 3 has seen it, and this will be the last family film out for a few weeks, so I’m thinking $34 million for this one. In 4,069, $8,356 will be the per-theater average.
It will be relatively close, but I am putting Dunkirk in second place with $30.3 million its second weekend, off 40%. The movie’s done pretty well so far and I think it’ll hold well. Third place I have going to the other newcomer Atomic Blonde, which also has a great cast, including Charlize Theron, James McAvoy, John Goodman, Toby Jones, Sofia Boutella, and Bill Skarsgard, and it is from one of the directors of John Wick (2014), so that will draw in some people, plus they’ve actually felt good enough about the movie to allow critics to talk about it, and it’s at 78% on Rotten Tomatoes at this time. Tracking has it coming in at $26 million, but I’m actually going to go lower and say $24 million. I just have this feeling that some of the better-reviewed films of the summer, i.e. Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie and War for the Planet of the Apes that I really like, don’t get the audience that I feel they deserve. It opens in 3,300 theaters, so we’re talking $7,273 as the per-theater average.
So for fourth and fifth place we’re going with holdovers, obviously, and I’m giving the edge to Girls Trip falling off 45% and hitting $17.1 million, which is higher than I was putting it last weekend for its opening. I’ll have more to say on this in a minute. And in fifth place I’m putting Spider-Man: Homecoming, which I foresee falling 50% and reaching $11 million its fourth weekend. War for the Planet of the Apes will be very close, though, and if that one falls about 45% or so it will beat Spider-Man, but again that feeling is coming back about good movies that just don’t get all the money. Oh well.
Now for the look back to last weekend, let’s see how well I did predicting the top five. Number one did indeed go to Dunkirk with $50.5 million, and I was extremely close on this one: $51 million. So yeah, I can get bragging rights on that one. Bragging rights stop with my number two pick: War for the Planet of the Apes. I had it earning $28.1 million, and it was nowhere close to right: fourth place with $20.8 million. Yeesh! Actual second place was Girls Trip, earning a massive $31.2 million opening weekend, very close to doubling my expectations. I had it clear down in fifth place with $16.5 million. So yeah, summer 2017 finally has a solid comedy hit on its hands, after so many failures. But why this one when the ads were not as common as others? Well, reviews probably helped, despite the fact that reviews didn’t help Captain Underpants or War for the Planet of the Apes. Hmm, I don’t know. I might see that one soon. Third place actual was Spider-Man: Homecoming, which was the only other one I got right. I had it earning $19.8 million when it actually earned $22.1 million. So that one wasn’t awful. But my fourth place pick, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, wasn’t living up to its potential. I had it at $19 million, which may have looked foolish since everybody has been saying since pretty much March that this movie would flop horribly, but it wasn’t too far off from that: $17 million. It ended up in fifth place. So yeah, some of the numbers were nearly dead on or very close, but for every one of those there was an embarrassing number I threw out. I’ll see how this weekend goes.