My request to have this weekend’s forecast just be a giant poop emoji was denied, so here we are.
Weekend Forecast for July 28-30, 2017
By Tim Briody
July 28, 2017
Entering over 4,000 theaters today is The Emoji Movie, Sony’s attempt to create a new animated franchise by anthroprmorphisizing your local millennial’s favorite form of expression.
The film’s gimmick is that the emojis (all destined to have one emotion/purpose) live in your phone, and are summoned when selected in a text message. Gene (voiced by T.J. Miller) is a “meh” emoji who decides he’s so much more than that, which of course creates all sorts of problems. Other voice talent includes James Corden, Anna Faris and Maya Rudolph, and in the stunt casting department, Patrick Stewart as the poop emoji. See, because he’s so dignified and classy and British and now he’s a…oh, never mind.
There’s a germ of a good idea in here, and that idea is pretty much Pixar’s Inside Out. The copycat attempt that is The Emoji Movie has been botched, badly. Reviews, held back until Thursday afternoon, are a literal poop emoji, as it stands at 0% as of this writing and is easily the worst reviewed moved of the year, and perhaps the last few years. In a just and fair world, this would be the second coming of The Oogieloves, but as much of 2017 has shown us, we live in a cruel and dark existence.
While the targeted audience for The Emoji Movie does not care about this, reviews this catastrophic will certainly have a negative effect on box office (though perhaps there will be a small “wait, can it really be that bad?” contingent who just love a good train wreck). Sony is lucky that this only cost $50 million to produce. Also in its favor when it comes to box office is that it’s been a month since the last animated entry (Despicable Me 3, quietly crossing $200 million last weekend), and you can rarely count out the “gotta take the kids to see something!” aspect. Normally, I’d expect a new animated film to win the weekend easily, but Dunkirk’s strong word of mouth and the resounding rejection by even the quotiest of the quote whores will create a slight upset, as The Emoji Movie comes in second on the weekend with about $29 million.
Atomic Blonde is a spy thriller starring Charlize Theron as an MI6 agent, set in Germany on the eve of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Based on a graphic novel and not anything historical, it’s heavy on the action, with some John Wick-style set pieces (which makes sense as the director was a producer on those movies) as Theron appears to kick a lot of butt, and perhaps also smash the remainder of the patriarchy that Wonder Woman left intact. The film also stars James McAvoy, John Goodman and Sofia Boutella.
Reviews are positive, but not spectacular, and it’ll more or less live or die on the star power of Theron, who still has endless amounts of goodwill after Mad Max: Fury Road. As an appealing choice for women and those who want a purer action movie without any of that messy narrative, I think it’s good for about $19 million on the weekend.
Dunkirk bested most estimates by earning $50 million last weekend, further establishing Christopher Nolan as the rare director whose name means something at the box office. It’s held up well midweek and is looking at ending the weekend over $100 million. With a strong hold, it should manage a second weekend on top with about $30 million.
The hard R comedy Girls Trip saw a strong breakout with a $31 million opening weekend (topping its reported $27 million budget). Please stop being surprised at this, Hollywood. The genre tends to not have the strongest legs, but it’s still looking at a good $16 million weekend.
Meanwhile, Luc Besson’s $200 million Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets crashed with just $17 million on the weekend, and will enter freefall with just $7 million on this weekend, and the likelihood that somebody, somewhere is getting fired for this.
War for the Planet of the Apes crossed $100 million midweek, but it stumbled 63% to $20.8 million in its second weekend, signaling that the finale of the trilogy will likely be the lowest earner of the three, falling short of Rise’s $176 million in 2011. It’ll add another $9 million this weekend.
Spider-Man: Homecoming fell another 50% in its third weekend, but matched the $262 million of 2012’s Amazing Spider-Man with its midweek grosses. Another $11 million sends it towards the $300 million mark, even if the $336 million earned by 2007’s Spider-Man 3: Jazz Hands is out of reach.