Weekend Box Office (July 1 - 4, 2016)
THIS WEEKEND The Independence Day holiday frame usually sees some major fireworks at the box office and it has long been a place studios like to plant massive tentpoles. Yet, that only works when Hollywood delivers something that people truly become excited for. This year sees three new releases which look to score moderate debuts with none becoming a superstar. Maybe next year's Independence Day will see a resurgence but for now, the marketplace should allow a forgetful fish to keep its crown as it swims towards the half-billion domestic mark
Steven Spielberg returns to kidpic territory with The BFG based on the famous book. The PG-rated tale has no major stars so it will rely on brand names of its director and source material. But competing in a world where low-brow Minions make a billion will be very challenging. Reviews have been pretty good, but not at the exceptional level one might expect from a two-time Oscar-winning director. The book also will only have so much drawing power and Pixar's Finding Dory is such a powerhouse with families right now. Competition will be tough. Luckily the long weekend gives people time to make multiple trips to the local theater.
Overseas markets are the ones being counted on to make BFG reach break-even. Even abroad there is a crowded marketplace this summer plus major sports distractions too. Disney rolls into more than 3,300 theaters this weekend with The BFG and could find a four-day Friday-to-Monday tally of about $28M.
With low costs and high grosses, The Purge franchise has been quite profitable. Universal attacks with its third chapter - Election Year - which gives a timely spin to the violent series. The R-rated sequel will connect with a crowd that wants some bloody killing with its weekend fireworks and interest in the brand is still solid. Reviews have been decent enough for a film like this. With kidpics and lame action titles out there, young adults should come out in nice numbers for a third helping of this one which should be one of this year's few sequels that deliver encouraging results. Opening in over 2,700 theaters, The Purge: Election Year might bow to about $25M over the long holiday weekend.
This summer has had its fair share of big-budget projects that have failed to get audiences excited. The fact that studios thought these films would actually get audiences to spend big is disturbing. Add to that list The Legend of Tarzan which Warner Bros. rolls out in hopes of capturing the Planet of the Apes crowd. But this PG-13 adventure has been getting lackluster marks from critics which will hurt, plus it comes from a property that has only so much demand behind it. Starpower is iffy too. Swinging into over 3,500 locations, Tarzan might take in around $24M over four days.
Disney and Pixar hope to hold their grip on the box office with Finding Dory which enters its third weekend and has been winning over families its entire run. Kids on summer vacation have a couple of new options too, but the brand name and buzz will make this fish pic a safe and reliable way to find some fun. The four-day holiday period may pull in about $47M pushing the cume to a remarkable $382M.
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LAST YEAR In its third weekend of play, Pixar finally reached its usual number one spot with the toon hit Inside Out which edged past Jurassic World $29.8M to $29.2M. The big Independence Day holiday weekend offering was the sci-fi sequel Terminator Genisys which disappointed with a $27M debut frame and $42.5M since its mid-week launch. Paramount would end with only $89.8M and scrap planned sequels. Another sequel falling behind its predecessor was Magic Mike XXL with $12.9M finishing with $66M for Warner Bros. Ted 2 rounded out the top five with $11.2M.
This column is updated three times each week: Thursday (upcoming weekend's summary), Sunday (post-weekend analysis with estimates), and Monday night (actuals). Opinions expressed in this column are those solely of the author.
Last Updated: June 30, 2016 at 2:25PM ET
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