June 2016 Box Office Forecast

By Michael Lynderey

June 2, 2016

Fish always seem to be getting lost.

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5. Warcraft (June 10th)
“Warcraft" is one of those words I’ve heard people use in casual conversation over and over for many years, smiling and nodding my head in agreement without ever really knowing what the word meant or what they were talking about – sort of the same experience I've had with other mysterious but ubiquitous words or phrases of the modern world, like "Angry Birds", "Facebook", "Hello Kitty", "Cell phone", and so on.

Some furious googling later, it looks like what the video game Warcraft amounts to on the big screen is a Lord of the Ringesque fantasyland, perhaps up in space this time, with orcs and humans engaged in consequential battles of the species. Aside from the more recognizable Paula Patton, the film’s leads, human and otherwise, are played by Travis Fimmel, Robert Kazinsky, Dominic Cooper, and Ben Schnetzer, some of whom look a little alike, and many of whom have bristled on the edges of stardom in indie films or television shows. Warcraft is helmed by sci-fi auteur Duncan Jones, who directed the indie Moon (2009), which got a lot of good notices, and Source Code (2011), one of many great recent Jake Gyllenhaal films. Those are respectable credentials, and there's bound to be a fanbase that's bursting at the seams to see a live-action Warcraft, but critics are already ramming this film vociferously; reviews that make it all the more likely that it’ll only be hard-core fans, and few civilians to their cause, who will attend on opening weekend.

Despite all this, Warcraft is still the film I expect, perhaps foolishly, to fight out a victory on June 10th, a weekend that right now carries the hopes of no less than three films on its shoulders - Warcraft will be competing with sequelitis' own Conjuring 2 and Now You See Me 2, a trifecta of films that has a semi-plausible chance of opening above $40 million (each, of course... I think).

Opening weekend: $45 million / Total gross: $101 million


6. Now You See Me 2 (June 10th)
Along with concurrent opener Conjuring 2, this is one of a pair of competing follow-ups to two of summer 2013’s biggest surprise hits. How they got there was a little bit different, and may give us a hint about how their sequels will play out: Now You See Me arrived with little buzz, started with a relatively soft $29 million, and finished with $117 mil, while The Conjuring broke out big, both opening and finishing with roughly $20 million more. The original film’s story – about betrayals and double-crosses among heist-prone magicians - was loopy, chaotic, and unmanageable, and the sequel’s promotional material promises much of the same for those already on board. Not to play the age card too hard, but the first film was an ensemble with a balanced mix of younger leads (Jesse Eisenberg, Dave Franco, Isla Fisher) and older, Oscar-winning thespians (Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine). The sequel brings most back, with Lizzy Caplan stepping in for Fisher, this time, and Jay Chou (Seth Rogen's assistant in The Green Hornet) and Daniel Radcliffe (who presumably needs no introduction) joining the proceedings.

I was a bit more bullish on the film's chances until I realized that this has been a summer, and, indeed, a year, that's given a beating to the expected success of several sure-thing sequels. Superhero films Batman v. Superman and Civil War are the only 2016 follow-ups to outgross their predecessors, and unless Now You See Me’s magicians plan to don even longer capes and fight crime, I’m not so sure they can beat part one.

Opening weekend: $43 million / Total gross: $100 million

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