Summer Box Office Preview 2017

With arguably the biggest movie of the summer opening tonight, I felt like it was time to finally get out my Summer 2017 predictions. There’s a lot of talk about this summer being the biggest summer of them all. They always say that. What that means to me is we might see more 100M+ films, but it’s doubtful we’ll see a ton of 300M/400M films as a result. The money is likely to be more spread out, if all of these films are actually crowdpleasers. There are always flops, but they’re hard to see coming sometimes. Let’s see if I can see them coming this summer.

1) Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol 2- 394M Total, 150M Opening Weekend
My projection for the top grosser of the summer opens tomorrow. It’s going to have the benefit of the biggest opening weekend, and a complete lack of competition. Even in its second weekend, when it had competition from King Arthur and Snatched, it won’t be nearly as crowded as later in the summer when tentpole after tentpole are being pushed into theatres. Since reviews on this film are generally positive, I think this film will push itself close to 400M.

2) Spider-Man Homecoming- 317M Total, 105M Opening Weekend
This summer’s other “unchallenged” opener is also a Marvel film. It’s largely unchallenged because the week before sees Despicable Me 3 open, and that’s just two juggernauts too many to want to try and go up against. I think people are excited for this reboot, and I think it has a great chance at being a 100M+ opener, especially considering the 4th of July weekend it opens on. Here’s hoping the reviews are good.

3) Despicable Me 3- 290M Total, 80M Opening Weekend
There’s some talk about audiences being a little “minioned” out, which is possible. If that’s even a slight possibility, it could lead to three not being as big as two, at least domestically. Add to that, it opens almost immediately after Cars, and will still have Captain Underpants attempting to soak up some audience. That, and you could argue that Spider-Man Homecoming targets some of the same demo that Despicable Me 3 does, and it crashes the party in week two. I think this film is still an unrivaled success, but if you look at even the popular Shrek franchise, it eventually showed its age at some point.

4) Cars 3- 240M Total, 65M Opening Weekend
Pixar films always do well, except The Good Dinosaur, but that wasn’t a summer film. Cars 3 also looks to be trying to right the wrongs of Cars 2, which might bring in some fans turned off by the awful sequel. If it’s actually good, which I’m betting it is, it will mark a turn around for the series. It still has to deal with Despicable Me 3 crashing the party, and Captain Underpants trying to soak some kids up, but it’s got a great shot at being a Top 5 film this summer.

5) Pirates 5- 235M Total, 90M Opening Weekend
This is another film that needs course correction for the franchise, but I’m betting this one won’t work quite as well as Cars. Tracking suggests it has a shot at doing 100M because of Memorial Day weekend, I think that’s a bit of a stretch. It’ll fall short, and it’ll have harsher week-to-week drops than Cars 3. Still, the worldwide grosses on this are likely to be enormous.

6) Wonder Woman- 230M Total, 80M Opening Weekend
Opening right after Pirates is Wonder Woman, the highly anticipated DC superhero. Working for Wonder Woman is a lot of goodwill and expectation that Warner Bros is trying to tonally shift away from the super dark Batman V Superman. The trailers are solid, and there’s no reason to suggest this won’t be a hit. 230M is still a hit, especially considering how frustrated fans have been with the DC Cinematic Universe thus far. Wonder Woman has an uphill battle to climb, and those people who are suggesting this is a 300M film are forgetting that. This opens a week after Pirates, when that will still be soaking up some dough, and does feature Gal Gadot in the lead, who is still unproven as a lead actress. This is more of a “Thor” than an “Iron Man”, so I don’t think it’ll break 100M. If its good, it will bring a lot of people back to DC, which sets up Justice League for even bigger success.

7) Dunkirk- 220M Total, 55M Opening Weekend
Never count out Christopher Nolan. This war epic is hitting with a PG-13 rating, which will allow it to play across all audiences. If the film gets strong reviews, which it might, it could be the surprise hit of the summer. Except, I wouldn’t be surprised. I would never bet against Chris Nolan, who creates true cinematic experiences, and that feeling that you have to see the film in theatres to truly appreciate it. I’m expecting this to do well in big ticket formats like IMAX and DBOX. It opens just enough after Spider-Man for that to not be a huge issues. Its biggest worry si War For The Planet Of The Apes, which is coming up on this list.

8) Transformers 5- 210M Total, 75M Opening Weekend
This is a franchise that has shown its age with each subsequent entry. Each sequel has performed worse than the last, and the last sequel was awful. I know this is like Cars 3 and Pirates 5, in that we’ve been promised course correction, but like Pirates, we’ve just been burned too many times before. Cars 3 has only 1 bad entry to make up for, Transformers has 3-4 (depending on who you ask). It will still make some money, and it will open big, but it won’t have legs, and it will suffer from high competition.

9) War For The Planet Of The Apes- 205M Total, 60M Opening Weekend
I think War, which is being billed as the final Apes film, has a battle that has more to do with competition and fatigue by the time it opens. It will likely still be beloved by critics and audiences, and I think it will still gross 200M, but I don’t think there’s much growth potential here for the series. Dunkirk battling against it will cause it to suffer a bit, as well as films like Valerian and Atomic Blonde.

10) Baywatch- 150M Total, 45M Opening Weekend
Everything points to this film being the breakout comedy smash. It’s biggest competition is Snatched, as another big comedy won’t open until halfway through June with Rough Night. Counter programming here is a huge factor, plus Dwayne Johnson has proven himself a consistent performer at the box office. As long as this doesn’t get CHIPS style reviews, it should be fine. This has that 21 Jump Street vibe, and I think that will pay off in spades. Look for Baywatch 2 to be announced shortly after. Baywatch Nights perhaps?

11) Alien Covenant- 145M Total, 50M Opening Weekend
There’s a ton of buzz around this film, and with Ridley Scott coming back to direct the franchise, I can’t help but feel like this is the biggest course correction of the summer. Whether you like it or not, Prometheus was actually the highest grossing film in the franchise (seriously, it’s the only one INCLUDING the AVP series that actually broke 100M), and Covenant could actually go higher than that. The cards are somewhat stacked against this film because of Prometheus, but I’m betting reviews will flow in telling everyone this is the Alien film we’ve been waiting for. Either that, or this flops. A lot of people don’t want a Prometheus 2.

12) The Mummy- 125M Total, 50M Opening Weekend
This is my pick for one of the more “disappointing” releases of the summer. I don’t think it will hit as big as Universal is hoping. You might think 125M is not a disappointment, which it kinda isn’t, but it’s just disappointing enough for Universal to reconsider their Horror Movie Monster franchise that has already struggled with Dracula Untold and The Wolfman. The Mummy is supposed to bring new life, but is 125M enough?

13) Rough Night- 120M Total, 25M Opening Weekend
A lot of people are pointing at Rough Night to be the sleeper hit of the summer. A LOT of people. They think this is the Bad Moms of the summer, and I think that could be true. The trailer is hilarious, and by the time it opens, Baywatch won’t be a problem anymore. This could easily be the breakout hit of the summer.

14) Captain Underpants- 120M Total, 30M Opening Weekend
I think this is a bit of a stealthy performer that will do well, especially considering it opens before Cars 3 and Despicable Me 3 suck up audiences. I don’t think it’s a huge threat, but I do think it’ll be a solid week-to-week performer that everyone is surprised by in the end.

15) Snatched- 115M Total, 30M Opening Weekend
I think this film has a really good shot at being a silent sleeper like Rough Night. It opens when there isn’t much competition,l and it is a mother/daughter themed movie on Mother’s Day weekend. Amy Schumer earned some new fans with Trainwreck, and I think that will pay off here with her follow-up. Let’s just hope it’s not Tammy, and that it doesn’t suck.

16) Valerian- 110M Total, 35M Opening Weekend
I think Valerian has a mass audience appeal problem, and a lack of stars. A lot of people point to The Fifth Element and Mad Max Fury Road, but The Fifth Element had Bruce Willis, and Mad Max Fury Road had Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron. This film has Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevingne. Not the same thing. My prediction here is “best case scenario” for Valerian, which I’m really hoping is actually good. I’m going out on a limb here, and saying this film will score positive on Rotten Tomatoes, and have strong word of mouth. If not, it will get absolutely BURIED, and would be lucky to make 50M. This is one of the biggest gambles of the summer. If it’s good, it’ll creep its way into the 100M club.

17) King Arthur- 105M Total, 35M Opening Weekend
King Arthur comes in Week Two of Guardians, and that will hurt it some. We still haven’t seen reviews for this, but AMC is hosting advance screenings, so the studio must believe they’re sitting on something that doesn’t suck. Is 105M enough to launch a franchise? I’m not sure. Probably not, but this is a really tough summer to stand out in.

18) The Emoji Movie- 100M Total, 35M Opening Weekend
Emoji Movie is the groan enducing film that your kids will drag you to. I don’t think it has mass appeal, but it hits just far enough after Despicable Me 3 to do some clean up work. Timing is everything for this film, and it’s basically the last kids film of the summer (unless you’re just super excited for Nut Job 2), and will mop up some audience just looking for something to take the kids to.

19) Atomic Blonde- 95M Total, 25M Opening Weekend
This film already started its buzz at SXSW hoping to be one of the “sleeper surprises” of the summer. You can be a sleeper hit without breaking 100M, and there are always a few that do very well without hitting 100M. I’m thinking Atomic Blonde falls just short, but everyoen will still be writing this one off as a hit.

20) The Dark Tower- 90M Total, 30M Opening Weekend
Some people believe this film is unadaptable, and that may be the case. 90M isn’t what the studio is hoping for, but for an early August release, this isn’t really that bad. It’ll be seen as a soft disappointment, but I just don’t think this has the kind of breakout appeal to be able to go much further.

21) Girls Trip- 85M Total, 25M Opening Weekend
This is basically a black Bad Moms, and that’s an audience that no one is targeting. I’m betting that women will turn out for this, feeling underserved in Mid July, and Girls Trip will surprise all of you. Wait and see. I wouldn’t even be surprised if it went ABOVE my predictions and even made 100M. It has a solid cast, solid premise, and is already marketing itself to its core demo. Wait and see…

22) The House- 85M Total, 25M Opening Weekend
Yeah, I’m basically predicting the same thing for The House, which has Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler behind it. It’s more of a sure thing, but it opens in a very crowded marketplace. 85M isn’t bad for this film, but it will probably be seen as just OK.

23) Annabelle Creation- 70M Total, 30M Opening Weekend
Taking the “late summer horror” spot is the Annabelle prequel, which will thrive with very little competition on opening weekend. These films rarely have legs though, and 70M is probably where it will top out.

24) The Hitman’s Bodyguard- 60M Total, 18M Opening Weekend
Basically, the last of the decent films of the summer. I’m betting this one does OK. Ryan Reynolds is a bit bigger after Deadpool, and the trailer has been getting a lot of good buzz around it. By the time it opens, it doesn’t have much to worry about. I think this one will perform well into September.

25) It Comes At Night- 55M Total, 18M Opening Weekend
My pick for the early horror sleeper spot. I think this one opens at the right time, enough after Alien Covenant, and before 47 Meters Down. It already has solid buzz, and all it needs are decent reviews to be a sleeper horror hit.

26) Everything Everything- 50M Total, 15M Opening Weekend
Taking up the teen soapy romance slot that both Fault In Their Stars and Me Before You performed so well in is Everything Everything. This film has two stars who are slightly less known. The main girl was technically in the first Hunger Games film, and the boy was in Jurassic World, so everyone has seen them, but neither are big names. It will still do OK, but it’s not going to be as big of a sleeper hit as the other two aforementioned films.

27) Baby Driver- 45M Total, 15M Opening Weekend
I don’t know why this film moved from the uncrowded August to the crowded end of June spot. I would have easily been willing to pick this as another big sleeper hit, had it kept its August date. Instead, it’s going to get crushed. I think it will have some legs and word of mouth, but it’s opening weekend can only be just so high against Despicable Me 3 and the second weekends to Cars 3 and The House, plus everything else in release.

28) 47 Meters Down- 45M Total, 15M Opening Weekend
Another horror entry that will do OK. It opens after It Comes At Night, so it has some competition, but The Shallows performed better than expected last summer too. This should do OK.

29) The Nut Job 2- 45M Total, 15M Opening Weekend
Opening comfortably after The Emoji Movie is technically the final kids film of the summer. No one is excited for this, but people are at least somewhat familiar with the property. It will make a little bit of money.

30) Detroit or All Eyez On Me- 40M Total, 12M Opening Weekend
I think both Detroit, directed by Kathryn Bigelow and starring John Boyega, and the Tupac biopic All Eyez On Me, have equal shot at rounding out the top 30. Both will depend on reviews. Detroit has less competition, but All Eyez On Me is higher profile. It’s a toss up, which is why I included both in the end.

All the other films will finish below 40M, and out of the top 30. This should include all limited releases (unless we have a true huge breakout, 40M is generally out of reach for even a solid summer hit), as well as films like the fourth Wimpy Kid movie, another Amityville film, Wish Upon, and the teen romance Midnight Sun.

We will definitely look back at this list at a few points during the summer to see how I’m doing, as well as recap it at the end of the summer. Last year, I had some huge misses with sequels, and I’m sure I’ve got one or two misses on this list already. But, I always go with my gut, and this is what my gut is telling me right now. With 18 films at 100M or more, it would definitely be a very big summer if this played out the way I think it could.

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