They can't all be monster weekends. Even in summer, we sometimes have weekends where studios keep their powder dry. In this case, everyone seems afraid of a 500-pound gorilla just around the corner, and this weekend we get a couple of films appealing to very specific audiences.
Weekend Forecast for June 20-22, 2014
By Reagen Sulewski
June 20, 2014
Think Like a Man Too is the sequel to 2012's surprise hit based off Steve Harvey's self-help book/terms of surrender for women, about modern relationships. Whereas that first film was something along the lines of a number of intersecting stories, this one, having run out of material from the book, just junks that idea and says “screw it, let's send 'em all to Vegas” for what is the most blatant attempt to copy The Hangover yet. Much wackiness and hyper-active comedy ensues
Basically the entire ensemble cast returns, though with the ascendance of one Kevin Hart, you can bet someone will be pushed a little more front and center. No, it's not Michael Ealy. While Hart isn't the reason the sequel was made - $91 million on a $12 million budget will get anyone's attention – it's certainly a reason that the movie can get a big push from the studio and why people might be hopeful of a breakout. Of course, there's a good chance that everyone who was going to see this movie already saw the first one, and there's little room for its audience to grow. That Hart's other recent successes have had little to nothing in the way of legs supports that – he gets an impressive audience out for first weekends, but that's most of who's going to see the movie over its whole run. Different than most films and/or stars these days? Not really. But it's something to consider. So with the first film's $34 million opening to consider, Too should see a slight uptick to $37 million.
The latest jukebox musical to make the leap to the big screen, Jersey Boys is the story of the rise to stardom of doo-wop group The Four Seasons, led by Frankie Valli. Directed by Clint Eastwood, this might be one of the few films where you have to take senior discounts into account. There's a good chance you're not even totally familiar with who The Four Seasons are (hint: it was the dude with the really high voice). Eastwood turns this into the musical version of Goodfellas, more or less, which maybe gives the film a fighting chance, but it's about a subject matter that few younger audiences really care about, relate to or even understand.
Which, hey, older audiences need movies too. Just don't expect this to interest anyone who isn't already a member of AARP. It doesn't help that it doesn't star anyone you're familiar with unless you're a big Broadway person, though I give Eastwood credit for going with the original lead from the musical for the movie. Analogs for this are hard to come by, as not many adaptations of musicals make it this far, and the ones that do aren't really fair comparisons. Rock of Ages, for instance, has some similar themes, but was going after a totally different audience. Dreamgirls seems most similar, but had a huge Oscar campaign behind it, in addition to major star power, and reviews of Jersey Boys are middling at best. All in all, I expect this to be quite a dismal disappointment, with around $13 million on opening weekend.
22 Jump Street was a mild upset winner with a $57 million opening weekend, jumping from the opening weekend of the first film by almost two-thirds. A sequel about sequels, it also grew with the target audience, moving on from high school to college, in a savvy marketing move that also made sense in the world of the movie. Is there anything Phil Lord and Chris Miller can't do? I ask again, where's my Clone High reboot? In any case, we should see a significant drop-off despite that positive reception, to around $30 million.
Slightly disappointing was How To Train Your Dragon 2, which just barely surpassed the opening weekend of its original film. This was fairly stunning because it was one of the few leggy films of its year, and had a great reputation and following, along with a popular TV spin-off. Spectacular reviews also couldn't give it a leg up and the whole thing is really just puzzling. The only thing I can really think of is that its audience grew out of the genre, since it did tend towards a little older kids, but at the same time, it's not like we're running out of kids. Few sequels have good legs, although it's all relative these days. However, I'd predict around $28 million this weekend.
Other returning films include Maleficent, which is edging closer to $200 million domestic and should pull around $10 million this weekend, Edge of Tomorrow, which somewhat salvaged a soft opening weekend with a decent hold and should grab a little under $10 million, and The Fault in Our Stars, which proved be as front-loaded as everyone suspected and should have just $6 million to show from its third weekend.