July 1st - 4th-
Next up is our latest attempt at making a live-action remake of a Disney animated property with The Legend of Tarzan. Granted, Tarzan had been around for many years before Disney's animated movie in the late 90's, but most of Disney's animated movies are also adaptations of something, so this still fits the bill. This is the third movie this year in this trend following The Jungle Book and Alice Through the Looking Glass. The latter was a huge flop, but with the huge success of The Jungle Book, this trend isn't going to slow down any time soon. In fact, Disney is planning on speeding it up even further as they alone will be doing two to three of these movies a year. And it's not just Disney remaking their own movies. Other studios are joining the party as well as is shown here. The Legend of Tarzan isn't Disney's work. It's Warner Bros. Last year, Warner Bros. joined this trend with their movie Pan, which was a critical and financial disaster. The Legend of Tarzan is tracking ahead of Pan, but that's not saying much. People don't seem to be super excited about this movie and early reviews are coming in sour. Although Tarzan is a popular character, so there's a chance it could surprise, especially with a large cast that includes Alexander Skarsgard, Margot Robbie, Christoph Waltz, and Samuel L. Jackson.
These three movies could realistically end up in any order, but I put The BFG in third place for now because it seems like it has the biggest uphill battle to climb. Fans of The Purge franchise probably won't care that two other horror/thrillers also came out in the last few weeks (The Conjuring 2 and The Shallows) and The Legend of Tarzan seems to be going for a broader audience with a PG-13 rating in addition to having a fan base already built in. The BFG will be specifically targeting family audiences, meaning not only will it be competing directly with the seemingly unstoppable freight train that is Finding Dory, but it also has the highly anticipated The Secret Life of Pets to deal with the upcoming week. Too many options for family audiences in such a small window of time usually means something gets left in the dust. That being said, will people really turn down the opportunity to see another Steven Spielberg directed movie with a John Williams score? This is one of the most successful and popular directors in history we're talking about. Plus, the novel this is based on is one of the more popular novels written by Roald Dahl, who also penned Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda, and James and the Giant Peach.
July 8th - 10th-
This summer hasn't been so nice to R-rated comedies. Granted there's only been two of them, but both Neighbors 2 and Popstar flopped pretty hard. If you throw in The Nice Guys into the mix, which was more of an action comedy, you have a third one that didn't do so well. That means one of two things for this next R-rated comedy, Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates. Either it will follow the trend of being a disappointment or it will take advantage of the current dry market for this genre and be a surprise. The title of the movie tells you all you need to know about the plot of this movie. Mike and Dave, played by Adam Devine and Zac Efron, are searching for wedding dates. Their two female co-stars are Anna Kendrick and Aubrey Plaza. Connect the dots there and you have an idea of what will happen. All four of these actors are popular in their own right, but in most cases it's been in supporting roles. Can they carry their own movie? The director here is Jake Szymanski, who has zero previous experience working on a feature-length, theatrically-released film. Wedding comedies have been huge in the past, but recently they've been hit and miss. Thus all signs point to this being another disappointment at the box office.
July 15th - 17th-
There's no real competition for Ghostbusters this weekend. The only fight it will have will be holdovers from previous weeks. But there is another smaller release and that is The Infiltrator. This is a thriller that will be aimed at adult audiences, which means a giant opening weekend isn't expected, but its box office life will be determined by how well it's received. This is based on the book written by Robert Mazur in which he tells of his experience fighting the biggest drug cartel in history. Playing Robert Mazur in the movie is Bryan Cranston, who is fresh off of his Oscar nomination for Trumbo this past year. In the last few years, Cranston has becoming a big star both on the big screen and on the small screen, so his presence could attract some people to theaters. Movies about the fight against the drug cartel are fairly common, but they're also usually very well received by those who actually go out and see them. The director here is Brad Furman, the director of The Lincoln Lawyer and Runner Runner. Back in 2011, The Lincoln Lawyer opened to $13 million on its way to a $58 million total. That seems like a best case scenario if the stars align for The Infiltrator. A more likely scenario might be one like Runner Runner, which opened to $7 million on its way to a $19 million total.
July 22nd - 24th-
Speaking of sequels, we have another one this week. This one is the fifth Ice Age movie, Ice Age: Collision Course. If you are wondering why in the heck we have five Ice Age movies, look no further than the overseas totals for these movies. Yes, they have been financially consistent here in the U.S., each making between $150 million and $200 million. But the overseas totals tell the whole story. When you look at the overseas chart (not worldwide -- overseas only), the two highest grossing animated movies are Frozen with $875 million and Minions with $823 million. Right behind those two? You guessed it. Ice Age: Continental Drift (the fourth movie) comes in third with $715 million and Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs (the third movie) come in fourth with $690 million. Yep. Now you know why we are getting a fifth movie. When you make that much money in today's movie business, you find a way to keep going. This might be yet another under-performing sequel here in the U.S., but that doesn't matter. They eat these movies up overseas for some odd reason. And it's not just one country. It's a lot of them combined.
The final movie of this weekend will be the horror movie Lights Out. A couple of years back there was a three-minute short film called Lights Out (that I have linked for you right there) that was created by David Sandberg that preys on people's fear of the dark. It's quite the effective little horror short film that might make you have a hard time sleeping if you watch it at night. After going viral, that little short film has been turned into a feature-length film using the same ideas that is also written and directed by David Sandberg while being produced by horror expert James Wan, director of The Conjuring and Insidious. This is a bit of a risky venture as an 81-minute version of this might not be as effective as the three-minute short, but financially there's practically no risk with these horror films. Most of them cost less than $10 million to make, so all they need is a final total of like $15 million (or even less if it cost less than $5 million) in order to be considered a financial success. That should be a very easy mark for Lights Out to hit. It could get there in its first weekend.
July 29th - 31st-
Our second raunchy comedy of the month comes in the form of Bad Moms. STX Entertainment is a fairly new production company whose goal is to produce and distribute several medium-budget, star-driven movies each year. They started off with three thrillers, two of which had pretty good success (The Gift and The Boy). Their last couple of movies haven't been quite as successful. The bought and distributed the action movie Hardcore Henry which failed to get to $20 million and then their war movie Free State of Jones was a huge flop this past month considering it's fairly high price tag. Now they're going to try to get back on track with their first raunchy comedy, Bad Moms. This stars Mila Kunis and Kristen Bell as well as Christina Applegate and Jada Pinkett Smith and is about a group of moms that are tired of being over-worked and under-appreciated. Thus they decide that they are going to stop trying to be perfect angels and live the rebellious party life. This is a premise that a lot of ladies can probably relate to. Whether or not they decide to follow these moms' examples is a different story, but this could make for a decent hit.
Our final wide release of the month comes with the mystery/thriller Nerve. If you watch the trailer to this movie, it might seem like you've just watched the whole movie. Without going as far as the trailer, the premise for this thriller follows a high school senior who finds herself immersed in this strange online game where she has to follow a bunch of dares like kiss a random stranger or try on this expensive dress in a store. As a part of this game, there are both watchers and players and thus I don't know why anyone would actually be a part of this super sketchy "game," but I suppose it's not out of the ordinary for high school students to do crazy things without thinking. You can probably guess that this movie will go in a bunch of crazy directions and if you watch the trailer you will learn that you are right, but personally I'll just leave it at that. The directing duo for this movie is the directing duo that did the third and fourth Paranormal Activity movies and the stars are Emma Roberts, the niece of Julia Roberts, and Dave Franco. So there's some recognizable names, but nothing here really screams box office success.