June 2015 Box Office Forecast
By Michael Lynderey
June 4, 2015

Every department meeting ever.

June will likely be the month with the fewest wide releases this year (seven), but that doesn't mean there isn't a whole lot of box office to be hauled in: we've got two designated big hitters, surrounded by a trio of comedies, and polished off with a horror sequel and a few indies with potential. And watch out for July, which will be very busy.

1. Inside Out (June 19th)
One of the year's two Pixar releases, along with The Good Dinosaur, a film whose plot will definitely be larger in scale than this story of mind-bending shenanigans. Pixar is a brand that's been watered down some during the last few years, but there's no question that they're still incredibly potent. Inside Out looks original and amusing in the way Pixar's fans seem to enjoy, and it will arrive in theaters after roughly a month without a viable new children's film option (especially considering what has transpired with Tomorrowland). There are no particular huge draws among the voice cast, but Pixar hasn’t focused on big names in many of their films. The single most important factor is one that is now the most known: the reviews, which have already rolled in and granted the film unreserved approval - 100% on RottenTomatoes, with exclamatory testimony (“the greatest idea the toon studio has ever had!”, declares Variety, though I still think that Pixar movie about the millionaire with an S&M fetish essentially had a more clever premise). Dissenters from the film's critical consensus may arrive in the next 14 or so days, but they will not be numerous, and their existence will do little to change the film's trajectory as a massive box office success.

Opening weekend: $77 million / Total gross: $299 million

2. Jurassic World (June 12th)
One of the big two bruisers at this month's box office sweepstakes. Jurassic World's existence is clearly evidence that time does indeed make the heart grow fonder, given how high some tracking reports have this 14-years-in-the-making sequel opening (over $100 million, shazam!). The original film was noted for its innovative special effects, but it's interesting how this series has survived at such a high level of prestige and financial respectability despite the fact that the movies were basically somewhat generic animal-run-amok slasher films (though done well). The trailer for this film does little to suggest the plot has grown any more complex. Jurassic World has been marketed and hyped for months, and its star, Chris Pratt, branded incessantly and excessively as the great new leading man, has a good chance to prove that declaration true here. Whatever other factors I consider in this prediction, though, I can't forget that Jurassic World is still just a film about angry dinosaurs eating people (as well as other dinosaurs this time around – cannibalism!), and that every previous Jurassic Park film has taken in less than its predecessor. Obviously, this one will turn the tide, but can it also part the sea?

Opening weekend: $94 million / Total gross: $275 million

3. Spy (June 5th)
It’s the third time out for one of the more successful director-actor pairings in modern Hollywood, star Melissa McCarthy and helmer Paul Feig, previously jointly responsible for both the very funny Bridesmaids and one of the best buddy-cop movies ever, The Heat. Unlike, say, Tomorrowland or Aloha, there’s not much speculation about the package we’re getting here: the film premiered at the SXSW festival in March, where it received overwhelmingly strong critical notices (and the Tomatometer has nary dropped a peg since). McCarthy doesn’t have a fellow big name star like Sandra Bullock to bolster the numbers here, but she should do just fine on her own. Among supporting actors, though, are Rose Byrne, also of Bridesmaids, Jude Law, prone now to some self-parody, and Jason Statham, who's transitioning from carrying B-movies into prominent supporting roles in mainstream Hollywood blockbusters like this and Furious 7. Spy may not reach the heights of Bridesmaids and The Heat, but it should have no problems becoming one of McCarthy's biggest and most liked films.

Opening weekend: $43 million / Total gross: $155 million

4. Ted 2 (June 26th)
“Ted is coming, again,” announces the film’s poster, in what I can only surmise is an attempt at a double entendre. Ted 2 is chronologically the last of this month’s sequels, and the one whose prospects I’m most unsure about. The first film was so very big in a rather unexpected manner, and a whole lot of people seem to have enjoyed viewing it, but I'm not sure that its success has fully paid for this sequel's meal ticket. It just seems to me like the shine has gone from the big-screen Seth MacFarlane brand, between the mixed reception of his Oscars hosting and the mildly underrated A Million Ways to Die in the West underperforming last summer. Will the Ted sequel outgross MacFarlane's western? Surely yes. But I think the film will come in significantly under the first one, especially considering star Mark Wahlberg may be spreading the wealth this month by lending his name to Entourage, while co-star Mila Kunis is completely absent this time. I could be low-balling Ted 2 – lord knows I underestimated Ted 1 by well over $100 million dollars - but something nags at me too strongly to ignore.

Opening weekend: $38 million / Total gross: $103 million

5. Insidious: Chapter 3 (June 5th)
Over the last few years, the Insidious films have quietly (almost insidiously) built themselves up into just about the only horror series that's still active and kicking at the box office (Paranormal Activity, its fellow traveler in ghost-themed terror, is in a bit of a rut). Insidious 2 had one of the great frontloaded horror movie performances, opening to $40 million and finishing with $83 million. That film's huge first weekend was awarded to it not only because of the nascent popularity of the first Insidious, but also by the breakout success of The Conjuring, which had the same director and star (James Wan and Patrick Wilson, respectively), and had opened to much fanfare just two months earlier (strictly speaking, The Conjuring’s success could be credited to the goodwill from the first Insidious, so this is one long chain).

Insidious 2 wasn't as beloved as the other Wan ghost films, and neither Wan nor Wilson are back for this prequel, other than producing credits for the former. Releasing a horror movie in June is still a relative rarity, but there's something that feels right about this endeavor, and the Insidious 3 marketing campaign, which has been lengthy and persistent, also feels particularly astute, memorable, and precisely on target. The Insidious name is still strong, but expect another frontloader, for sure.

Opening weekend: $37 million / Total gross: $75 million

6. Entourage (June 3rd)
Opening on a Wednesday for no apparent reason, this is a somewhat belated adaptation of a show from the early days of the golden age of R-rated cable television. Reviews peg Entourage the movie as strictly for fans of the TV iteration, and so the main question is just how many potential audience members identify themselves as such. Star power is mixed: none of the series stars have broken out at the movies since the show's run, although the film contains a raft of hyped-at cameos. So far as I can see, the anticipation level here isn't nearly up to the likes of Sex and the City, so opening figures should be relatively modest. The presence of series backer Mark Wahlberg, also of Ted 2, might help give the film some credibility, but Entourage looks like a classic case of a property that has a big first three (or five) days, and then dips into single digits on weekend two.

Opening weekend: $22 million / Total gross: $51 million

7. Max
Max is a nice story about a fallen war hero's dog and its return home to the United States. While of no discernible plot relation, I'm reminded of Fluke (1995), another June release named for, and starring, a dog. Max has the air of a feel-good, respectable, entertainment, and if the film gets good reviews, as it likely will (I'm counting on you!), it should have a decent run. With any luck at all, it could even outgross Entourage or some other chart hanger-oner that comes in below expectations. In a month of heavy-hitting, bit-ticket films, it certainly has a window to provide approachable counter-programming. And opening against the vulgarian teddy bear in Ted 2, there's little question that the sainted Max is the nobler animal!

Opening weekend: $12 million / Total gross: $45 million

8. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (June 12th, limited; wide later)
Arguably the month's wild card, Me and Earl was Sundance's big breakout film, winning two big awards and carrying home significant buzz. The unanimous critical acclamation means only good things, but it's tough to say if the nation’s teen audience will delve willingly into another film about a teenager with cancer so soon after The Fault in Our Stars became a sort of definitive take on the situation. Its leads, Thomas Mann and Olivia Cooke, are likable, and will both become very known very soon, but they're under-the-radar for most audiences. With almost no exceptions, it's still hard to get adults to see serious movies about teenagers. The Perks of Being a Wallflower and The Spectacular Now, two films this one recalls, are probably the closest comparisons, and neither broke out beyond an art-house hit. The film's summer release slot does somewhat recall that of another Sundance favorite, Garden State, in 2004, but that film had a name star (Natalie Portman) and appealed more easily to twentysomethings. Let's see if they give Earl a chance (a similar but somewhat lower box office forecast could be made for Dope, another Sundance favorite about teenagers that's rolling out, probably wide, this June).

Total gross: $15 million