"OK, so last weekend's big sequel did put up a big number, but it was less than we expected or wanted." "Yup. It really does seem like audiences are getting exhausted of sequels and reboots." "Woof. Well, that's a bit of a problem for our future slate. By the way, what's this weekend's lead picture?" "...Uh... another sequel." "Oh son of a..."
Weekend Forecast for June 28-30, 2019
By Reagen Sulewski
June 28, 2019
Annabelle Comes Home adds to the rich history of the Conjuring series, the many branches and threads of which are difficult to unwind. This is now the sequel to the prequel of the film that has had two other prequels and still has sequels coming. Any more films in this series might require a quantum physics degree. These are the films that are about a creepy possessed doll (a bit of a thing at the movies lately!) with Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga working to contain it and stop it from killing.
For whatever reason, they've decided to keep the titular doll at home in their Secret Forbidden Closet of Mystery with the rest of their cursed objects (it's OK, we had a priest bless it and everything!). Then, while they're off on another demon hunt, they bring in a babysitter for their young 'un, with strict, strict instructions not to open said closet. Cue five minutes later and the closet is open and Annabelle is now controlling an entire host of curs-ed objects and summoning demons. That babysitter will not be getting a tip.
While it carries an R-rating, Annabelle Comes Home is played mostly as a light-hearted horror with a full compliment of comedic and tongue-in-cheek moments. This is, after all, a film that's mostly centered around a bunch of pre-teens in the 70s, and it's hard to make that work with gruesome horror. Consider it more of a sideshow to the main series, a Very Special Episode about the importance of doing what you're told. This may not be quite what fans of the Conjuring series are looking for, as they've been used to Serious Horror. Pandering to a different demographic often ends up poorly, and the mid 30 millions that the series has seen for opening weekends is likely to not be met this time around. While reviews are OK, the sequel fatigue and slight genre switch may kneecap this, despite the relative strength of the franchise. I'd look for an opening weekend of around $26 million.
One of the highest of high-concept films, Yesterday is Danny Boyle's latest, positing a world in which the Beatles never existed. Or rather, that no one, except for the struggling musician at the center of this film, remembers they existed, following a world-wide power outage. As he starts to rewrite what songs he can recall from memory, he he becomes a Very Big Deal Indeed, reintroducing the general public to some of the greatest songs that ever lived, plus whatever Ringo wrote (hey-yo!!!!).
Now, there's a few issues with this idea, as The Beatles are in significant part responsible for how pop music sounds today, so without them, their sounds are kind of strange and foreign. There's also a bunch of cultural shifts that wouldn't have happened without them, and some others that might have in their place. But sure, let's just go with that their music would be recognized as genius in a vacuum. The film is only partly about our lead's stardom, but it's also used as the framing device for a love story, between the musician (played by relative unknown Himish Patel) and Lily James (best known from Baby Driver). There's also a bit of nostalgia play and boomer pandering, but sure, let's give them one more thing.
Boyle's movies run hot and cold with Slumdog Millionaire being his only real mainstream hit in around two decades of working. This is maybe the closest thing to that film since then, but the sheer Britishness of the film is likely to hold it back some, especially with a lack of big stars. I'd expect around $11 million this weekend.
First thing first - Toy Story 4's $120 million opening weekend is absolutely a success. It's crazy to look at a number like that and think a film that made it isn't successful. That people were expecting more isn't really the film's fault, and it's still a number that's going to lead to a lot of profit for Disney and Pixar. *That said*... It's yet another sequel that showed some contraction in the market, and it's probably going to amount to $75-100 million less domestically that might have been hoped for. The Pixar brand can soften this blow, as the implied quality counteracted the sheer pointlessness of another Toy Story movie, even if it leaned into it. This is largely going to be seen as a missed opportunity and a graceful exit for the franchise. I'd look for a second weekend win with $71 million.
Aladdin has proven to have something resembling legs for Disney, as it'll pass the $300 million mark this weekend, and is an important win ahead of The Lion King later this summer. It should fall to around $9 million this weekend.
Child's Play was a modest success at $14 million for its reboot, but that's mostly by virtue of a tiny, $10 million budget. Direct competition in the Evil Doll Horror market should drop it to around $6 million this frame.
Avengers: Endgame is getting a re-release in the attempt to pass Avatar for the all-time international gross (domestic is a pipe dream, with over $100 million as a gap - so that can't be the reason). Several minutes of extra footage have been added, but that's rarely worked as a strategy for big dollars. I'd expect maybe $4 million this weekend.