With an awkward overlap of the holidays, it's not an ideal weekend to take advantage of the mid point of the summer movie season. However, family film, with the most time to spare over this next period, gets served up a big dose of franchise love, with a couple of more smaller films filling niches.
Weekend Forecast for June 30-July 2, 2017
By Reagen Sulewski
June 30, 2017
Universal Animation (Slogan: Minions and... we got nuthin') brings out its fourth film in the Despicable Me universe and the third in the specific franchise, with Gru predictably returning to the side of villainy after a brief turn to the side of good in the second film. In doing so, he brings his new wife Lucy (Kristen Wiig) along for the ride, and teams up with his long lost brother Dru (also voiced by Steve Carrell), who is also evil but opposite – positive, charming and with flowing blond locks, and who lives in a giant tropical mansion.
Together, they plan a heist to get back at the man who got Dru kicked out of the Anti-Villain League, Balthazar Bratt (voice of Trey Parker), an '80s obsessed bad guy – so bring on the mullets, acid-wash. Michael Jackson and Phil Collins jokes (Note: If this movie actually brings those things back, there will be hell to pay). In some ways, it's very much a retread of the first movie and its science/nerd jokes, just with a different villain in place.
Of course, since then, the entire world of merchandising has been taken over by Minions, those yellow, babbling agents of chaos who accompany Dru around everywhere. Two years ago, they proved to be the most popular thing about this franchise with a standalone movie that out opened both previous films and pulled in over a billion worldwide (take that, penguins). They're front and center in the marketing, but I definitely think this might have been a more successful film were it Minions 2 instead of Despicable Me 3, as there seems to be a bit of a retread/tired aspect to this, and we may be hitting that Shrek 3 line, where audiences have started to turn on a project that's mostly out of ideas. I think there's enough general goodwill that it'll get away clean on this one, but Universal might be wise to think about quitting while they're ahead. I'd look for about an $88 million weekend here.
Having already opened on Wednesday, we have a decent idea of how Edgar Wright's new heist/car chase thriller is going to fare, with a $5.7 million start. Dropping the irony, Wright has opted for a more Tarantino/Walter Hill/Peter Yates-ish film, about a music-obsessed getaway driver (Ansel Elgort, a human anagram) who turns on his criminal benefactors after his new love (Lily James) is threatened over what he knows about them. Wright then turns his mastery of action techniques into constructing what many are calling some of the best chase scenes put to film.
It's a pretty outstanding cast, including Kevin Spacey, Jamie Foxx, Jon Hamm, and Jon Bernthal, but what the film is really being sold on is its style to spare. It's a film that has its studio so confident that it got bumped up from a late summer release to this prime spot, and that seems to be paying off with that opening day. That's the kind of figure that translates into a $15-20 million, and word-of-mouth may drive (sorry) this to about $18 million this weekend.
Comedy is handled by Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler this weekend with The House, though it's a case where this very talented pairing seems to have misfired badly. The two play a married couple who decide to start an illegal casino in their house after losing their daughter's college fund. Another in the line of Ferrell's heavily improvisational films, it lives and dies by what's created on the set, and in this case, they seem to have come up empty (you'll thank me for avoiding any gambling puns). Its supporting cast includes Jason Mantouzkas, Nick Kroll, Allison Tolman, Rob Huebel and Jeremy Renner as a mob boss for some reason, but it's a very laugh-free set of ads, and the rare Ferrell comedy not released for advance reviews. While it's been some time since his last out and out bomb (I'd go with Land of the Lost), but this looks ripe for that, and around $9 million is in the cards here.
Transformers: The Last Knight plunged a huge dagger into any plans for future films in the franchise, at least with its domestic numbers, with a meager $44 million opening weekend. That is, of course, except for its international numbers, which are going to create a comical 20/80 or so split, and this may still reach $600-700 million worldwide. Thanks a lot, globalism! Still, this is as close as we've gotten to killing these noisy, headache-inducing films, so maybe let's be happy for now. I'd expect a sizable drop to $20 million this weekend.
Wonder Woman continued to churn along last weekend in its fourth frame with almost $25 million, crossing the $300 million milestone. It's unchallenged in its genre for at least another week, and really not even then, as it has staked out a place as a female centered superhero film, something relatively unique in the landscape. I'd give it around $14 million here.
Cars 3 took a bit of a spill, and this may be another case where a studio is advised to quit while they're slightly behind. While I understand a lot of this sequel business is driven by higher-ups, they're in danger of losing their reputation as the story-driven company and just another purveyor of disposable animated fare. Look for about $11 million this weekend.