July 3rd - 7th -
While Despicable Me 2 was tearing it up in the box office over Independence Day, The Lone Ranger was sucking it up. Sadly the project was a disaster waiting to happen ever since it's inception, this because of the high price it took to make it and the low demand for the Western genre. The Lone Ranger had a budget of $250 million which is a disaster because no Western movie has ever earned more than $200 million in the domestic box office. Even the popular True Grit remake and Django Unchained didn't get there, although they were fine not making that because their budgets were approximately $200 million less than Lone Ranger. The Lone Ranger was made by the people who did Pirates of the Caribbean and they advertised that heavily to try to buck the Western trend, but it didn't work. The Lone Ranger's three-day total was just under $30 million with a five-day total just under $50 million. Reactions were mixed. The general audience gave it a luke-warm reception on average while the critics ripped it apart. For a movie that cost $250 million, it's final total will be really disappointing as it will probably barely top $100 million. Overseas totals could help it, but probably not since international audiences typically don't jump for Westerns.
Finally, the surprise of the week was Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain. The movie is simply a stand-up comedy concert brought to the big screen and those types don't happen very often and when they do, they usually don't make a ton of money because really they don't need to. However, Kevin Hart showed his rising popularity by helping this movie get all the way to $17 million in its first five days. That is already the fifth highest grossing stand-up comedy concert ever and it's been out less than a week. Not bad at all.
July 12th - 14th -
If July is going to break the July record, Pacific Rim is probably the movie that needs to break out big time, but whether it will or not is questionable. Right now I wouldn't be surprised to see it fall to third place this weekend behind Despicable Me 2 and Grown Ups 2. Audiences have been loaded with action movies recently and may be a bit burnt out at this point, which could be the cause of both White House Down and The Lone Ranger flopping. Pacific Rim is billed as an original sci-fi movie, which really is questionable as it looks like a combination of Power Rangers, Transformers, and Godzilla. The huge thing it does have going for it is the fact that it is directed by Guillermo del Toro and he has a very strong track record, so perhaps audiences may see it as what Transformers would've been like if it actually had a good director.
July 19th - 21st -
Providing some good counter programming to Red 2 will be Dreamworks' latest animated movie Turbo. It does come at a somewhat problematic time as there will be many family audiences still enjoying Despicable Me 2 and plenty of others looking forward to Smurfs 2. A movie about a snail may be hard-pressed to get audiences out, but that could be Dreamworks' problem with advertising. There are two different routes that it could take. The first is the route of Dreamworks movie from earlier this year in The Croods, which opened to $40 million on it's way to $180 million and in that case it could steal the weekend, but the more likely scenario is that it will go the way of Dreamworks movie from last year in Rise of the Guardians, which opened up just north of $20 million and only barely crossing the $100 million mark. While Dreamworks' track record isn't as good as Pixar's, they have still managed to have 13 straight movies earn over $100 million. Turbo is in danger of breaking that streak. It is worth noting that Turbo does get a head start on this weekend by opening on Wednesday the 17th.
Another highly possible candidate to take the weekend is the one movie with no genre competition and that would be horror movie The Conjuring. Horror movies typically have a very small ceiling, but if last month is any indicator with The Purge, there is still a good audience for them if they make themselves seem unique enough. The conjuring is billed as a true story, which really isn't that unique, but word is with this movie a few of the people involved in the actual incidents helped work on making this movie and that could attract audiences. The more likely thing to attract audiences, though, is director James Wan, the director of Saw and Insidious, two typically well-liked horror movies. If The Conjuring opens up like The Purge from last month or Mama from earlier this year, it could take the weekend, but otherwise it may get lost in a crowded weekend.
Final movie of the week comes the most troubled one and that is R.I.P.D., which stands for Rest in Peace Department. The movie has been heavily advertised in order to try to get it recognition, but the problem is that is most likely will have somewhat of an identity crisis as to who its audience is. On one angle it is trying to go for the family audience. That will be difficult with family audiences opting for either Turbo or Despicable Me 2. The PG-13 rating also makes it a difficult choice for families. The other option is the adult audience which is also troubling because Red 2 is also opening this same weekend. Adult audiences will either opt for that or wait another weekend for The Wolverine. R.I.P.D looks like it is trying to be the next Men in Black, but it won't get anywhere near those numbers. In fact, I'd be shocked to see R.I.P.D.'s final total even get near the $50 million opening that all three Men in Black movies got.
July 26th - 28th -
There are also two comedies that get released this week, but both will be in only be in around 600-700 theaters, so neither will make a huge box office dent. The first is R-rated comedy The To Do List which is a comedy about a recently graduated high school girl trying to become more sexually experienced in her first year of college. That is all I care to say about it. The second is a PG-13 comedy called The Way, Way Back, which got an official release this past weekend, but will be getting its official wide release this final weekend. The movie is an official Sundance Film Festival selection is is more of a drama/comedy as it is about a 14 year old boy trying to fit in his mom and her boyfriend during his Summer vacation. Finally, it is worth mentioning that The Smurfs 2 is a July release as it gets released on Wednesday July 31st, but its first weekend is all in August, so I will discuss it in next month's movie preview.