It's a bonafide summer miracle, as DC/WB has apparently put out a quality superhero film, breaking a lackluster string of box office weekends. Sixth try is the charm!
Weekend Forecast for June 2-4, 2017
By Reagen Sulewski
June 2, 2017
In this bold, new, greyish-blue DC Universe, there have been moments of triumph – but just moments, not adding up to an entire movie. The box office has been there, at times, but true success has eluded the studio that controls Batman, Superman, etc. for the last decade or so, while Marvel has been going out and stealing their lunch money and making out with their girlfriend. That is, until this weekend, when Wonder Woman may finally combine both critical acclaim and financial success for them.
That this is the project that might finally break their moribund streak isn't all that surprising given that Gal Gadot was the sole bright spot in Batman v Superman, and the only time when that film even momentarily sprung to life. Stepping back from that modern story to her... well, she's had a lot of origins, so let's say “an” origin story, as World War I intrudes on the island of Themyscira, where the Amazons await their chance to battle to protect the world once again. The intrusion comes in the form of Chris Pine, an American spy who stole secret battle plans from a mad German general and his pet scientist, to unleash a horrible weapon on the world and claim victory and glory for the Fatherland.
Diana's sense of justice and honor kicks in in full force, and she believes this is the epic fight that she's been meant for her whole life. Cue some classic fish out of water stories, as her medieval upbringing clashes with the “modern” world of early 20th century Britain, which was still pretty backwards in a lot of ways for women.
This is in part DC's version of the first Captain America movie cross-pollinated with a little Thor, which shows that they finally are learning. It's filled with action and (gasp) humor and tackles au courant messages of female empowerment (it's one of the few female-led and directed superhero movies) and global peace and is, you know, a good movie, judging by the ecstatic reviews out there. I think soooome of that is just people breathing a sigh of relief that this universe of movies has finally led to one that doesn't make you want to do a gainer off a bridge afterwards, but we'll take what we can get these days.
With the positive critical response, we could be looking at a bit of a runaway on opening weekend. Minor controversies from people looking for a pointless hill to die on aside, it's gotten some of the best press to date this year, even over the Guardians sequel, which everyone was basically braced for already. There's a distinct and palpable yearning for a film like this, and people are just waiting to know that it's good before embracing it, meaning that reviews could push a lot of people off the fence who've been down on DC's recent output. Opening at a massive 4,100-plus venues, this should easily win the weekend with $115 million.
It's another superhero movie of a sort that goes up against it, with the adaptation of the popular youth series Captain Underpants to the big screen. Two fourth graders (the approximate age of the target audience of these books) hypnotize their principal into believing he's the titular hero, who fights crime in just tighty whities without realizing he has no actual powers. Hilarity, mostly in the form of zany, madcap potty humor, ensues.
A solid voice cast, which is led by Kevin Hart and also boasts Ed Helms, Nick Kroll and Thomas Middleditch, has some hope of attracting grown-ups, or at least having them tolerate accompanying their young ones to this film, as well as the surprisingly positive reviews. It's one of those rare kids franchises that's maintained popularity over the years and could have a bit of a cross-generational pull, but ultimately it's something of a gated community, and should see around $20 million this weekend.
The dangers of going to the franchise well too many times was well evident last weekend with Pirates of the Caribbean 5, which debuted to $62 million, or less than half the peak of these movies. It's a franchise that's entered a steep decline, though worldwide numbers are still keeping it afloat. It's clear that the shine has worn off Johnny Depp's act here, and it may just be entirely too late to turn this around. I'd expect a steep drop-off to about $26 million this weekend.
Guardians of the Galaxy has a couple more weekends to go before it falls out of relevancy, though it's making a good stab at $400 million domestic. It has strangely not caught on as strongly internationally as other superhero films have, especially given that the weirdness present in this usually plays well in those markets. I'd expect about $12 million this frame.
The Baywatch movie was a disappointing third last weekend as reviews bit into it hard and/or people just didn't buy into the brand of wink wink humor it was going for. With just $18 million in its debut, it's headed for a sub $75 million domestic performance (to give it a very high ceiling to shoot for), and should grab just $10 million here.