June 2nd - 4th-
I think it's safe to say that big summer blockbusters tend to skew more towards male movie goers than female movie goers. But amidst all of the fighting, action, and explosions that will happen this month, the female crowd will get at least one movie directed right at them and that is the romantic drama Me Before You. This movie is, of course, based off of the best-selling novel of the same name and thus has at least a small built-in audience that has been excited for this movie all year. Essential to these romantic dramas is the two leads and in this case, Me Before You has two very recognizable leads in Emilia Clarke and Sam Claffin. Most will know Emilia Clarke from Game of Thrones and Sam Claffin comes fresh off his role as Finnick Odair in The Hunger Games movies. In terms of box office, two years ago at this time The Fault in Our Stars became a huge summer hit, but that's really the last time a movie from this genre really broke out. Not counting Fifty Shades of Grey, of course. If I Stay ($50.5 million), The Best of Me ($26.8 million), The Longest Ride ($37.4 million), The Age of Adaline ($42.6 million), The Choice ($32.0 million), and The Choice ($18.7 million) are our recent examples. Look for Me Before You to fall somewhere in that range with its final total.
The final wide release of the weekend will be the movie that is most likely to fly in completely under the radar and that is Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping. This is Universal's second raunch-com in three weeks and although they'll be looking for a recovery after the failure of Neighbors 2, they're not going to get it here. To be fair, though, the expectations for this one are a lot lower. Popstar is done mockumentary style and is a satirical commentary on the lives of current pop stars by following the life of fictional pop star Conner4Real while using actual musicians, celebrities, and music producers as subjects of the mockumentary. Popstar comes to us via the comedic trio of The Lonely Island, which consists of Andy Samberg, Akivia Schaffer, and Jorma Taccone. They are most well known for their work on Saturday Night Live, but have done a wide variety of other stuff in the music, TV, and film world. In the film world, they most well known for Hot Rod, which was an initial box office flop, but has since had a huge cult following. Popstar will probably have an initial run similar to that of Hod Rod as Hot Rod opened to $5.3 million back in 2007 while finishing with $13.9 million total.
June 10th - 12th-
Horror movies are always a dime a dozen because of how cheap they are to make and how easy it is to make a profit. Usually a final total of $10-$15 million is enough for a profit. That's why we see a lot of them. While we've already had a decent handful of horrors this year, the most anticipated one has definitely been The Conjuring 2. Speaking of bad history, horror sequels have had a very long history of tanking at the box office and/or being seen as inferior to their predecessors. A lot of people are honestly thinking that The Conjuring 2 will be the exception to that. The Conjuring back in 2013 did a phenomenal job of being a genuinely terrifying horror movie that didn't rely on all of the classic cliche horrors of our day. That led it to an opening weekend of $41 million and a final domestic total of $137 million. Add to that is a worldwide total of $318 million. Remember how I said it is easy for horror movies to make a profit? Yeah. The Conjuring's budget was only $20 million and it made $318 million. Not bad, I'd say. It looks like The Conjuring 2 has another legitimately terrifying premise and if that's true, this could easily steal Warcraft's thunder this weekend. In fact, good will from the first movie and the great marketing from the trailers might be enough to do that anyways, even if the movie is poorly received.
Three movies this weekend. Three movies the previous weekend. Two more highly anticipated movies the next weekend that I'm about to get into. Something's gotta give. Not all of them can make money. My personal bet is that the movie left in the dust this weekend will be Now You See Me 2. The first one was a personal favorite of mine, but apparently I was in the minority. It had a Rotten Tomatoes score of 49 percent and an audience score of just 70 percent. However, despite mixed reviews, it was a surprise hit at the box office with a final domestic total of $117.7 million and a worldwide total of $351.7 million. That's why we're getting a sequel. That said, it was the type of movie that worked well as a stand-alone film and a sequel doesn't make a whole lot of sense to the story. But we'll see if they can conjure up some more magic again both with plot and with the box office. They'll need it. It does boast the same huge cast as the first, minus Isla Fisher. Returning to the sequel is Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Dave Franco, Mark Ruffalo, Morgan Freeman, and Michael Caine. Added to the bunch is Daniel Radcliffe, who obviously has a lot of experience with movies about magic. Different type of magic here, though, than the Harry Potter movies.
June 17th - 19th-
Don't underestimate the power of Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson! Last summer he surprised the world by carrying San Andreas to a $155.2 million domestic total when everyone was calling bust on the film. This summer he's teaming up with comedic superstar Kevin Hart in the comedy Central Intelligence. Dwayne Johnson has proven time and time again that he is one of the biggest box office draws of our day. And I do mean biggest in two different ways. He puts franchises on his back and single-handedly, in some instances, carries them to success while looking huge and imposing in those movies. He also has a very likeable charisma to him that makes him a surprisingly versatile actor. There's a reason why every week seems to have a new announcement of an upcoming film that the man has been cast to be in. His co-star Kevin Hart has also been a solid box-office draw. Six of his last seven movies that he's starred in have opened north of $20 million and he's been a big reason why. Teaming these two up in a comedy seems like the perfect formula for success. And it has a PG-13 rating, which makes it accessible to old and young crowds. This should make for a "huge" weekend at the box office.
June 24th - 26th-
The final movie of the month is the aforementioned war film I spoke in Free State of Jones. This movie comes to us via STX Entertainment, a newer distribution company dedicated to making several medium-budget films each year. So far they've given us The Gift, Secret in their Eyes, The Boy, and Hardcore Henry. In addition to Free State of Jones, they have four more films coming later this year, so we'll be talking about them frequently throughout the year. The placement of this movie seems a bit odd as this looks like an Oscar-contending film coming out in the middle of the summer instead of the fall. Free State of Jones stars Matthew McConaughey, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, and Keri Russell and is a true story about a small farmer in Mississippi during the Civil War that leads a group of rebels against the Confederacy, causing Jones County, Mississippi to secede from the Confederacy and create a Free State of Jones. STX's highest-grossing movie is The Gift, which opened to $11.9 million on its way to $43.8 million total. Those seem like good numbers for Free State of Jones. If it gets great reviews, I could see it even topping those numbers to become STX's biggest movie yet.