June 2016 Box Office Forecast
By Michael Lynderey
June 2, 2016
3. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows (June 3rd)
Out of the Shadows will be the sixth entry in the Ninja Turtles film series, a franchise that once walked with giants, or above them: the very first Turtle film, coming at the height of their popularity, grossed a shocking $135 million in the spring of 1990 (roughly $275 million in today's dollars), before its sequels took in less and less, in mostly chronological order. As the turtles' hold on the children of America decreased, it was logical to assume that the franchise had retreated into the rearview mirror. The 2014 Michael Bay-produced reboot shockingly changed that equation, and followed Guardians of the Galaxy in August 2014 into becoming one of the summer's most unexpected box office successes, opening with $65 million and finishing with $191 million. Like it or not, kids still love those turtles.
That new film, by the way, was particularly interesting for one little-known element: in a reprise of the twist ending to Iron Man 3, the Turtle reboot's plotline was originally set to take the Turtles' iconic villain, Japanese-born Oroku Saki (the Shredder), and westernize him into Eric Sacks (William Fichtner), who had adapted the Shredder name - but at some point between production and release, quiet changes added a few scenes and unmerged Saki and Sacks into two separate characters, though the tell-tale surnames remained. And so Shredder's back this time, along with his never-ending collection of ninjas, The Foot, originally intended as a parody of Marvel Comics' The Hand, though by now there's scarcely a difference.
Comic book adaptations these days are all about pleasing the fans, and there's no shortage of appeal to that base here: after roughly three decades of waiting, they'll get to see mutated rhino/warhog-spinoffs Bebop and Rocksteady on the live-action big screen (though the original Turtles II presented similar characters but changed their names and species); and the film adds two plot lines that even I think are pretty cool: the Technodrome, a sphere-shaped traveling fortress that now looks bigger than ever and looms over New York City (shades of, yes, Independence Day), and Krang, an offensive-sounding and very conversational pink brain with tentacles for hands that co-habits inside the chest of a giant brute. Critically, no Turtles film has ever passed into the side of tomato freshness, but the 2014 reboot had almost a 3.0 box office multiplier, so someone must have liked it. Its sequel should dominate the box office well enough, possibly even holding #1 all the way up until Dory hits us up on the 17th.
Trivia: this is one of the only blockbuster-esque films this summer ‘’not’’ to open overseas well over a week before its North American date. The turtles are patriotic!
Opening weekend: $73 million / Total gross: $200 million
4. Central Intelligence (June 17th)
The two biggest films of June are set mostly in stone, but there'll be a real battle for #3. This very legitimate contender for that spot is another entry in the genre that will live forever, the buddy film, teaming this time Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart, two stars who physically complement each other somewhat perfectly, if you think about it. Between the Ride Alongs, The Wedding Ringer, and Get Hard, Hart has more or less mastered the art of this subgenre, while The Rock is on a real roll right now, even by his standards. Helmed by Rawson Marshall Thunder, previously of Dodgeball and We’re the Millers, this teaming seems like solid, perfectly inoffensive summer entertainment, and is also one of the few original properties among the season’s would-be blockbusters, although Mr. Johnson has by now morphed into something of a humanoid franchise.
The film’s trailer has a few memorable money shots in there where The Rock cleverly embarrasses himself (like the high-school age simulcara of Johnson performing a musical number, a sight that once glimpsed, is not easily scrubbed from memory). So the opening could be strong, and if the film’s good (and there's at least a decent chance that it is), it could finish with a very respectable number among all those sequels and video game adaptations. Central Intelligence could even be the first summer blockbuster since all the way back to Captain America: Civil War to score a “Fresh” on Rotten Tomatoes! (anything is possible).
Opening weekend: $45 million / Total gross: $125 million