It's your typical July mixed-bag, something for everyone weekend in between major openers. The up and down summer continues, with nothing set to really breakout after a solid franchise film dominated last weekend.
Weekend Forecast for July 13-15, 2018
By Reagen Sulewski
July 13, 2018
Who'd have thought, around the time of Happy Gilmore or The Waterboy, that Adam Sandler's last bastion of relevance would be in family films? It does seem to be the comic's retirement home for films (see: Eddie Murphy), though in some ways the surprising thing is that he's relevant at all. Hotel Transylvania 3 drags out the monster-themed animated series for yet another run, as the monsters take a break from running their vacation getaway for other monsters to... take a cruise. Way to branch out, there (admittedly, the movie does seem to lampshade that).
While the first two movies were more focused on Andy Samberg and Selena Gomez's human/vampire romance and subsequent marriage-plus-child, this instalment moves things back to Sandler's Dracula, making it his turn to try and find love – which he thinks he has in the ship's cruise director (Kathryn Hahn), who's secretly a member of the Van Helsing family with a carefully lain trap for all of the monsters (I mean, once you've got them on the ship it's kind of simple, no?).
The extended-TV show plotting (seriously, this is like a monster-themed episode of Full House) is offset by the stylish and distinctive animation and kid-friendly humor, with its audience not *yet* quite tired of this business. Three is usually a good number of entries in a series before the ideas start to run dry and the wheels fall off the wagon – sometimes you get four – but we're pretty close to the fans of this series to age out of caring about it. Absent a tolerant adult audience, it's starting to look like the later Madagascar films. The previous two films opened to solid $42 and $48 million respectively, and this likely backslides a bit from the peak, with around $44 million.
It's appropriate enough for the 30th anniversary of Die Hard that we get a virtual clone of that film, at least in spirit if not quality. Skyscraper stars Dwayne Johnson (without a doubt the toughest “Dwayne” in history) as a ex-Special Forces soldier (oh and for some added ridiculousness, has an artificial leg) hired as a security expert for the world's newest tallest building, a comically large building in Hong Kong. When a group of terrorists (led by Noah Taylor, doing his best Hans Gruber) attack it, setting it on fire in the course of a robbery and framing Johnson for it. Now a wanted criminal, and with his family (Neve Campbell, making a rare return to blockbusters now that she can plausibly play a middle-aged love interest), and some lovely biracial children) trapped in the tower, he must make some herculean efforts to both save his family, clear his name and stop the bad guys from getting away.
So it's standard high concept action stuff, with some rather insane stunts, highlighted by a jump from a crane into the tower thousands of feet in the air (presumably he looked at the Furious 6 super car jump and thought he could personally one-up that). It's not quite generic, thanks to the presence of Johnson, who after some rough patches, is a fairly consistent action star now, though he's best in adding to the Fast & Furious movies. There's little chance it can actually match the depth and thrills of something like the original Die Hard, though Live Free or Die Hard is maybe in the ballpark. Opening wise, compared to Johnson's other movies, this looks like it'll fall somewhere between San Andreas and Rampage, with about $37 million opening weekend.
The MCU's amuse bouche between the Infinity War movies, Ant-Man and the Wasp, opened to $75 million last weekend, below what the standard is for Marvel films in this new era – 40 per cent lower than Thor Ragnarok and Spider-Man Homecoming, for instance, and a modest 30 per cent improvement on the opening of the first Ant-Man. This is about the same jump between the first and second Thor movies, but a shift to comedy to match Ragnarok is basically impossible here – they're already at that place. This is always going to remain a bit of the bastard child of the Marvel universe, apparently essential clues to the larger plot of Infinity War notwithstanding. It's a fun romp, but good luck getting people to see it as anything more than that. That it got made at all is the win, and that it'll make $175 million domestically ($500 worldwide) is nigh upon a miracle. Give it $34 million this weekend.
Expanding into national release, Sorry To Bother You is the directorial debut of rapper Boots Riley. Staring Atlanta's Lakeith Stanfield as a young hustler who stumbles into a telemarketing job, it's a pointed satire about race relations in America, as his discovery of his “white voice” (David Cross) leads him on to great success in the business world, and all the seductions therewithin. Meanwhile, his girlfriend (played by Tessa Thompson) turns more radical after discovering her own “white voice” (Lily Allen) and makes a start towards revolution – or maybe it's just part of an art exhibition.
A broad comedy with some hallucinatory turns, it's got a tremendous point of view and goes hard after its message. Great reviews have followed and it's got the kind of attention-getting “what the hell was that” trailer that should lead it to be a very buzzy film in the next month or two. For now, it should start slow on 800 screens with about $6 million.
Meanwhile, Incredibles 2 has already pulled in an insane $516 million after a month in release, making it the highest grossing animated film of all time and giving it a fighting chance at $600 million domestic. Give it $17 million this frame.
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom took another as expected tumble in its third weekend but has already crossed $300 million, the third film in the series to do so and making it certain it'll pass the original Jurassic Park's $395 million (albeit 25 year old) mark. The insane, for several reasons, $650 million total of Jurassic World will be well out of reach, as this series burns through its regenesis quite quickly. I'd expect about $14 million this weekend.
Action/horror/political satire/whatever the hell it is now The First Purge limped in with $17 million even as it became all the more relevant and pointed – or maybe that was the problem. These have always been lacking in the legs department though the July 4 opening will soften that blow a little, and it should drop to about $9 million this weekend.