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Weekend Forecast for June 24-26, 2016

By Reagen Sulewski

June 24, 2016

I'd buy Goldblum as an astronaut, but not Hemsworth.

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Independence Day: Resurgence basically repeats the beats of the first film but biggerer and badderer, with the aliens returning to Earth and not messing around this time – instead of the city-sized ships last time, it’s a Moon-sized ship (no line from a movie has more scientists slapping their heads this year than “it’s got its own gravity” -- *everything* has its own gravity), as we attempt to do battle using the stolen tech from the first go round. Things go boom, rousing speech, thing goes bigger boom, lather rinse repeat.

In short, we’ve got a waaaay too late sequel that doesn’t involve its primary star, was really time dependent and has been done to death at this point. One need look no further than another recent attempt to repeat a film from that legendary summer of 1996 – Into the Storm, which basically tried for a repeat of Twister, and was ignored completely.

Maybe in 20 years we’ll be saying the same thing about all the super hero films out now, but man, we were hard up for some action blockbusters in the 90s. Independence Day: Resurgence looks to have missed its window entirely and is in danger of not matching an opening weekend from 20 years ago (and in domestic box office it’s a dead certainty). I’d expect around $61 million this weekend.

A high-concept thriller, The Shallows has started to gather some buzz as reviews have rolled in. Blake Lively stars as a surfer, attacked by a Great White Shark and marooned on a rock a mere 200 yards from shore. That’s it. That’s the whole thing. It’s almost the polar opposite to our previously mentioned big film, a stripped down thriller as opposed to the bombast of alien invasion. It’s Lively (in a bikini), a rock and a CGI shark for 80 minutes. Oh, there’s some 127 Hours stuff built in about wasted potential and family strife but really it’s just woman vs shark – and the tide is rising.

Directed by Jaume Collett-Serra (late of a bunch of Liam Neeson films and the campy horror film Orphan), it's a bit of an amuse bouche for the summer season, and with solid reviews, this should mark out with about $12 million this weekend.




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Matthew McConaughey stars in Free State of Jones, a historical drama about a small area of Mississippi that declared its independence from the Confederate States during the Civil War. Its leader, a local farmer, went even further than freeing slaves, by creating an egalitarian state on racial lines. The film follows this small county's efforts at resisting the Confederacy.

It is, of course, a film with its heart in the right place, but it's a dry looking film, packed full with speechifying and meandering historical side paths. It's Oscar bait, but rather saccharine and obvious bait from director Gary Ross of Pleasantville and Seabiscuit fame – and the Seabiscuit take on racism is exactly what you get here. The hopes of this film really rest on McConaughey's personal fame, which hasn't been that strong when he's been the key reason to see a film. I'd look for a modest opening weekend of $9 million.

This brings us to our returning films, led by Finding Dory, which crushed expectations with a $135 million opening weekend, 20th highest all-time, and highest ever for an animated film. Disney's amazing run continues, and this is a film that has a great shot at $500 million domestic, coming as it does with most schools being out, and the strong weekdays that that implies. Indeed, it'll have already crossed $200 million by the time you read this. While any major opening weekend like this is hard to follow up, as a family film it's got better odds than most. I put it at an $82 million second frame.

Central Intelligence was a mild disappointment with a $35 million start, landing at almost exactly the take of Ride Along 2 and the hoped for boost from Dwayne Johnson not really materializing. Thanks to strong summer weekday numbers, it's a good bet for $100-plus domestic, but not by much. I'd expect about $19 million this weekend.

Rounding out our significant films, The Conjuring 2 had a strong fall to $15 million after its over $40 million start. It should bring in about $7 million this weekend, slowing that fall somewhat. As well, Now You See Me 2, the most unnecessary sequel of all unnecessary sequels, dropped nearly 60 per cent to $9 million. It may hang on with about $5 million this weekend.


Forecast: Weekend of June 24-26, 2016
Rank
Film
Number of
Sites
Changes in Sites
from Last
Estimated
Gross ($)
1 Finding Dory 4,305 No Change 85.4
2 Independence Day: Resurgence 4,068 New 61.3
3 Central Intelligence 3,508 No change 18.6
4 The Shallows 2,962 New 12.4
5 Free State of Jones 2,815 New 9.4
6 The Conjuring 2 3,033 -323 6.1
7 Now You See Me 2 2,745 -487 4.7
8 X-Men: Apocalypse 1,679 -953 2.7
9 The Neon Demon 783 New 2.5
10 Warcraft 1,942 -1,464 2.5

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