As negative as we (and you know, everyone else in the known universe) have been about the current reboot and sequel culture, it's really been a placeholder for a bigger problem – filmmakers who can't tell a good story. Make us a good movie and the lack of originality is, if not forgiven, at least understood. This weekend's big tentpole picture manages to do that, giving us a blockbuster that at least has a reason to exist.
Weekend Forecast for July 7-9, 2017
By Reagen Sulewski
July 7, 2017
~Spider-Man/Spider-Man/It's Millennial Spider-Man~. Following the relative failure of the Andrew Garfield/Amazing Spider-Man movies, Sony cried uncle and brought the character under the wing of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with his debut in last summer's Captain America movie. For Spider-Man: Homecoming, the conception of Peter Parker this time around has him as a sophomore in high school, played by 21-year old British actor Tom Holland, along with a bit of a multi-culti jumble of supporting characters that wink at comic continuity while updating things for modern audiences.
Part of the trade also includes bringing Robert Downey Jr.'s Iron Man along for the ride as Spider-Man's mentor and benefactor, though at a more removed distance than a lot of the ads portray. It's a major shift for the movies, which previously have had to deal with Spider-Man all on his own in a world strangely devoid of other supers. It's a big development for the universe, which moves in a more grounded direction, even as it deals with alien technology and enhanced humans.
Speaking of that, we have Michael Keaton in a bit of stunt casting as main antagonist The Vulture (though never named as such) – an arms dealer and scavenger of alien artifacts who starts to run afoul of authorities as his weapons become more prevalent. Relatable is probably the wrong word for this villain, but understandable might be the correct one, especially since he's basically a blue-collar guy made big (Bad), and ditches the comic origins, which quite frankly sucked anyway.
The question then becomes, does the bad taste in the mouth from the Amazing movies hurt the proceedings, or did Spidey's cameo in Civil War do enough to hype people for this reboot, which will be a tough one to get rid of if it doesn't work out? Critically, at least, it has significant level of support, as it's rivaling Wonder Woman for positive reception. Aligning itself with the MCU – the surest bet in Hollywood right now – should prove to be savvy move for Sony's sole Marvel property (one can imagine discussions at Fox right now about the Fantastic Four characters), and a weekend performance of around $105 million seems in store.
Last weekend's #1, Despicable Me 3, opened to a worrying-for-the-franchise $72 million, though its worldwide numbers remain strong and its budget has been kept under control. It is definitely in danger of being upstaged by its own sidekick characters, and marketing remains a solid reason to keep this franchise around. Legs may show up as it's a decent family option right now, and a $43 million weekend seems likely.
Baby Driver opened slightly stronger than most expected at $20 million, and the car chase/heist film received excellent word-of-mouth. It will still struggle a bit with legs due to its genre, and I'll never not think a different title might have made it more money, but it's a win no matter how you look at it, for its budget, genre and cast. Give it about $12 million this weekend.
Wonder Woman should sneak past the third weekend of Transformers with around $9 million as it attempts to push to $400 million (I think it falls a little short), while Michael Bay's latest opus to epilepsy falls to $7 million.