July 2017 Box Office Forecast

By Michael Lynderey

July 6, 2017

Wait 'til they get a load of me.

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5. Atomic Blonde (July 28th)
The title refers to nuclear power and Charlize Theron, who has emerged in this decade as an A-list action star, and who in this film plays a spy working her way through eliminating or at least injuring henchmen and characters actors in shadowy Berlin of 1989; not long before German reunification put her spy games in the region to a presumed end. The actress was wasted as a talky and nonchalant plot-motivator in the recent Fast and Furious movie, and here must make up for so much lost time.

Atomic Blonde is based on a graphic novel from a few years ago, and is helmed by David Leitch, creator of everyone's favorite pet avenger, John Wick. It is a period piece action film (those I always like; see one of my favorites, Watchmen, set in 1985), and co-stars James McAvoy, an actor who is now fated to be remembered by a mental picture of him screaming "Rejoice!" while wearing a dress in the recent thriller Split (sorry).

Atomic Blonde has already been seen and reviewed (very well at that). It comes in at basically the end of the summer action sweepstakes, and may suffer from the physical and moral exhaustion wrought upon a large percentage of its potential audience, who have sat through three months of violence, stylized jump-cuts, the elimination of hundreds of underlings who never had a chance, and the destruction of any number of major cities, often written off in a mere dialogue line or two.

This film presumably operates on a less overwhelming scale, and with Baby Driver breaking out out there, Atomic Blonde's potential success should be seen as another win for original and well-made action cinema.

Opening weekend: $16 million / Total gross: $54 million


6. Girls Trip (July 21st)
As the title describes with precise accuracy, this film is another entry in that always lively sub-genre, wherein a handful of lifelong friends participate in unexpected debauchery and bacchanalia while setting out on a road trip; they sing old songs, relitigate unhealed wounds, and change their unfulfilled lives in subtle or major ways.

Girls Trip is a broad comedy directed by Malcolm E. Lee, who helmed The Best Man films, and recent sequels to Barbershop and, alas, Scary Movie (no one is perfect). The quartet hitting the road this time are veterans Jada Pinkett Smith, Regina Hall, and Queen Latifah, and relative newcomer Tiffany Haddish, while the city under attack here is New Orleans, skipping the usual Las Vegas festivities (not that that helped last month's Rough Night, which had its sights on Miami).

Speaking of which, I wouldn't have thought this a few weeks ago, but that surprisingly cheery and generally entertaining Rough Night will almost certainly be outgrossed by this film, a cousin in its genre that on paper would seem to be much less of a box office draw (as in politics, this is what happens when you clearly identify your base and get them to the box office).

Girls Trip is, interestingly, July's only outright comedy (Emoji Movie, I know, I know), a surprise for a month that's historically been used to premiere any number of hit funny films. In fact, in a summer of comedies that have largely underwhelmed, the film will probably at least beat the expectations of your average forecaster, even if critics decline to review it well. Girls Trip opens just about when Bad Moms did last year, and might offer a similar escape for its target demographic.

Opening weekend: $17 million / Total gross: $43 million

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