June 2017 Box Office Forecast

By Michael Lynderey

June 1, 2017

Is Lightning McQueen mooning us?

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11. Megan Leavey (June 9th)

Too bad the title War Dogs was taken. Here, that name would have been singular: Megan Leavey is a U.S. Marine corporal who befriends a battle-scarred veteran of the Iraq War, one who, as the trailer tells us, saved countless lives in battle. This veteran is a beautiful and proud German Shepherd named Rex, and the film depicts both their days in battle and Leavey's legal struggle to formally adopt her new companion (bureaucracy!).

Kate Mara plays the title character (and that's the woman's real name), and the supporting cast includes Common as a stern-faced soldier, Tom Felton as a dog trainer, Edie Falco as Megan's mother, and, in another big role, Bradley Whitford, presumably more congenial than he was in Get Out earlier this year. The dog actor playing Rex is uncredited on the IMDb, at least at the moment, a situation I hope is rectified.

So, Megan Leavey is a story of canine bravery meets courtroom drama, with shades of the similar Max, another dog of war whose film took in a respectable $42 million in June 2015. This film, too, ought to attract enough children and dog-loving adults attune to this title, to award it a decent run of counter-programming opposite all the month's computer-drawn films. Good dog!

Opening weekend: $14 million / Total gross: $43 million


12. It Comes At Night (June 9th)

Post-apocalyptic nightmares meet monsters-in-the-woods in this sort of riff on the recent 21 Cloverfield Lane (a film that I believe had the single worst twist ending of all time - not that it means this one will try for same). Much as in Cloverfield 2, family and strangers are ensconced together in a house in the forbidden wilderness, fleeing the terror they're sure must be occurring offscreen.

Star Joel Edgerton has been known for low-key thrillers (he was behind the excellent The Gift in 2015), even if he's not behind the scenes here. The trailers are appropriately chilly and damp with atmosphere, and this type of slow-paced horror film seems to have a knack for breaking out to respectable numbers against all expectations.

Reviews are stupendous, and if a lot of the month's bigger films implode, it's counter-programming like Megan Leavey and this film that'll reap the benefit of spillover audiences looking for something more satisfying than another green screen-flavored sequel.

Opening weekend: $12 million / Total gross: $40 million

13. Amityville: The Awakening (June 30th)

The new Amityville is slated to be the fifth wide theatrical release in the franchise, and, like a lot of horror series, the history here is really quite interesting for a follower of low-budget horror film legacies (yes, such as myself)...

The original The Amityville Horror was released when the country was puzzled by the real-life murders at the Amityville, Long Island house in 1974, and when supernatural horror films were all the rage. The film took in $86 million in the summer of 1979 (that's unadjusted), giving another boost to stars Margot Kidder and James Brolin, and inspired a 1982 prequel (Amityville II: The Possession) and a 1983 sequel (Amityville 3D, part of that era's third dimension craze), both of which finished in the early teen millions.

The series mostly sat out the rest of the horror-loving 1980s, before releasing no less than 16 other TV and straight-to-video sequels and redos (you'd think people would stop moving to that house; and no, I haven't seen them all, although I made a good try at it). The 2005 remake starring Ryan Reynolds inspired enough curiosity to bring the Amityville name shrieking back into pop culture, and gave the actor his first big solo hit (I told you the Amityville house was pure evil!).

Amityville: The Awakening is the first Amityville film to open in the summer since the original. So, what have we on the plate this time?

The house still has its infamous spooky drooping eyes built out like windows, perfect for the glow of yellow light or red glare from inside.

This new entry has been co-produced by Jason Blum, the new instigator of our national nightmares (Get Out, Split, and so on into the nether). It's nice to see Jennifer Jason Leigh getting another big leading role, and teenagers (or simile thereof) are played by Cameron Monaghan, Bella Thorne, and one of my favorite co-generationists, Thomas Mann. The director, Franck Khalfoun, helmed the effective and underseen P2 (2007), which is a good start. Factors like reviews and advertising will make a difference here, but I think we're looking at a total somewhere in the adjusted ballpark of the second two films, or of some of this year's army of horror sequels. Nevertheless, box office or none, I have a feeling the Amityville house will stay standing for a very long time.

Opening weekend: $11 million / Total gross: $24 million

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