The early opening on a non-holiday weekend is a trend that's mostly died out thanks to Thursday evening screenings, though it comes back from time to time. One thing's for certain, it's not the tactic of a studio that's confident in a film.
Weekend Forecast for June 23-35, 2017
By Reagen Sulewski
June 21, 2017
Transformers: The Last Knight is the fifth of these interminable films, of which have produced *almost* an hour's worth of non-ironic entertainment. They've been ungodly profitable up until now, thanks to Michael Bay's explosion- and chrome-heavy direction, turning the transforming toy franchise into a multi-billion dollar film enterprise. Having gone through a couple of iterations in terms of plot style and story arc, it's now well into the “ah, screw it, throw it in” school of screenwriting, concocting a mythos that combines the Transformers with King Arthur's knights, Hitler, and the moon landing (no, really). I feel like some of this should have come out in previous movies.
Mark Wahlberg returns as robot scientist (uh huh) Cade Yeager, although his family from the previous film is gone along with, one presumes, the awkward subplot about consent age. This time, the money truck backs up to Anthony Hopkins' house, of all people, who is called on to lend an air of gravitas and authority to the CGI mess (“Just drop the Oscar off here? Yes, very well then.”). In a series that's invented the idea of visual noise, this seems to be the noisiest- though the foley artists are gettin' paaaaid too.
And yet, even hewing to the same formula, there's a sense that enough may be finally starting to be enough. The last two years have seen a few franchises push things just a little too far, and despite the $100 million opening and freaking-billion-dollar worldwide gross of Age of Extinction just three years ago, The Last Knight is meeting with angry yawns. Ten years is a very long time for any franchise to sustain itself, and the $150 million gap in domestic gross between 2009's Revenge of the Fallen and the 2014 entry has to be troubling. More and more, these films are geared towards international audiences, and the product placements are even starting to work in that direction. Reviews, which once were somewhat accommodating to these films as spectacle, having fallen through the floor. There's at least two more of these planned plus a Bumblebee spinoff, but this might be doubtful if we can draw the line here. Debuting on Wednesday and with the weekend all to itself as a new film, it's headed towards a major drop relative to the franchise, with about $55 million on the weekend, and about $80 million over five days.
This will be enough to push Cars 3 out of the way, as we speak of franchises that have pushed things too far. Pixar attempted to right the ship after the disastrous (for them) showing of Cars 2, but the damage had already been done. The $53 million opening puts it well into the bottom rungs of the studio's opening weekends, and is a huge swerve after the enormous take of Finding Dory earlier this year. I don't think we're at the point yet where the brand takes a hit, but this should be the end of it for the Cars franchise, at least in terms of theatrical releases, if Pixar is smart about it. I'd expect just $28 million this weekend for its second frame.
It may even be possible for Wonder Woman to pass by it in its fourth weekend, as it speeds past $300 million domestically on its way to perhaps a little over $400 million. Last weekend was a fairly leggy weekend as far as blockbusters go, and it should find a way to about $24 million, in what's turning out to be the odds-on favorite to rule the summer.
The Tupac biopic, All Eyez On Me, was a surprise performer despite awful reviews, garnering $26 million, showing that sometimes you just have to match subject and audience. With an economical $45 million budget, this is undoubtedly a winner, even as it suffers a drop off to about $12 million this weekend.
Universals' Dark Universe might not quite have a stake through its heart just yet (eh? eh?), but the hefty drop off of The Mummy last weekend bodes poorly for the nine (nine!) films in the pipeline for this Avengers-style monster franchise. When you bank on Tom Cruise and your franchise still doesn't deliver, it may be time to pack things in. Add a measly $7 million this weekend.
Lastly this weekend, we have 47 Meters Down, a somewhat bonkers shark attack movie starring Mandy Moore (because Blake got hers, so...). Starting with $11 million last weekend, it should get the typical horror film drop, hitting $5 million this frame.