June 2017 Box Office Forecast
By Michael Lynderey
June 1, 2017
5. The Mummy (June 9th)
The Mummy returns in another blast from the past, a visit from the deathly slow-moving villain whose misadventures began when Boris Karloff's title character first crawled across the dusty screen in 1932. Lots of Mummy movies have come from the woodwork henceforth, but the first modern version, with Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz, was a surprise breakout hit on the first weekend of May 1999, opening with $43 million two weeks before Star Wars Episode I was expected to crowd everything else out (indeed, Lucas’ 1999-2005 trilogy brought a graceful and honorable end to the Star Wars films...).
The Mummy Returns was a classic 2001-era popcorn movie (it was fun!), and delivered a franchise high of $202 million. The third film, Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, made some cast changes and altered the setting to China, though it retained Fraser and finished with $102 million, almost exactly halving its immediate film predecessor in a most unpleasant way. The new Mummy is played by Sofia Boutella (who strode the earth atop metal blades in Kingsman), and her co-star is, as a matter of fact, Tom Cruise (does it feel like I should have mentioned that Tom Cruise is in this a little earlier in the forecast?).
Cruise has continued to assert himself as a box office lead the last decade, working in genre action, thriller, and science fiction, with a consistent range that usually surpasses $100 million, though the recent Jack Reacher: Never Go Back was a notable disappointment last year. The Mummy '17 is part of a series of new monster movies emanating from the classic home of such creatures, Universal Studios. A recent such redo was Dracula Untold (2014), a film about which I can be either positive or honest.
The combo of Cruise and Russell Crowe (whose supporting role as Dr. Jekyll has been heavily advertised) ought to buy this new mummy some cachet and a reasonable box office floor. As a period fantasy film with a kick-ass female lead, The Mummy also follows nicely along the lines of the previous week’s Wonder Woman, even if the Amazonian's increasingly burgeoning fortunes may drown out some of the Mummy's buzz.
Opening weekend: $43 million / Total gross: $138 million
6. Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie (June 2nd)
The most baffling entry on the June schedule is this CGI comedy, about children hypnotizing their hated principal into superheroic deeds and goofy city-scape adventures, including gallant battle against the latest malfeasant supervillain (oh, wait! So this is another superhero film, then).
Captain Underpants and its subtitle come from Fox and the production team behind fellow animation Turbo (2013). The voice cast is the kind of reasonable collection of character actors and comedy up-and-comers that populate this type of CGI adventure as a given; the kids are voiced by Kevin Hart and Thomas Middleditch, who are clearly no longer middle-school age, the heroic principal who must wear undergarments upon his brow is Ed Helms, and the German-accented villain is Nick Kroll, presumably reprising the dialect of his porker character Gunter from Sing last year.
I could be underestimating the good captain's box office. So far, critics like it, and if the trend of diminishing returns for three-quels holds at all, then Captain Underpants may, at the very least, end up the month's best reviewed animated film.
Opening weekend: $36 million / Total gross: $97 million