Nope came out Friday and had a successful opening weekend by pulling in $44 million and making almost twice as much as the #2 film (Thor: Love and Thunder which is in it's 3rd week in release). That is far behind Jordan Peele's last film Us (which opened with $71 million in 2019) but it's still an adequate number for a movie with no franchise attached to it and a relatively small budget of around $70 million.
Despite the solid numbers from Nope and what has been a decent return to movie theaters this summer so far by audiences, executives around Hollywood are not quite as confident for the slate of new releases.
That’s because the upcoming schedule looks like total dogshit.
Here’s a weekend by weekend look at new releases until the end of August:
DC League Of Super-Pets
Warner Bros. has been pushing this movie hard since the Spring. I’m not super confident. Minion: The Rise Of Gru is still in theaters so families have an option out there and we’ve already had a franchise-adjacent movie geared to kids tank already a few weeks ago (Lightyear). Maybe it’ll open strong because of the DC fanboy crowds but have a huge dropoff in Week 2 and beyond?
I am personally very excited for this movie which is written, directed and starring B.J.Novak (Ryan from The Office). Novak is a very good writer who wrote 15 episodes of The Office and put out an entertaining collection of short stories about a decade ago called One More Thing.
The good news for this making money is it’s being released by Blumhouse who does a fantastic job marketing. The bad news is…everything else. I’ll be pleasantly surprised if it cracks the Top 5 even in the opening weekend.
Prediction of who is #1: DC League of Super-Pets
Fun action packed Brad Pitt movie with a Baby Driver feel to it. This could do OK but it does come with some big warning signs. For instance, Pitt hasn’t had a movie with only his name above the title bring in over $86 million since World War Z which came out…over nine years ago. Plus that had a built-in fan base. It’s also rated R. The highest grossing rated R movie to come out this year? Scream at $82 million.
Bodies Bodies Bodies
This is a horror movie with a hip, young cast featuring Maria Bakalova, Amandla Stenberg and Pete Davidson. In theory, this could be a huge sleeper hit for the end of summer. The problem? It’s an A24 movie.
A24 makes some of the best movies of the past decade (Uncut Gems, The Disaster Artist) but A24 movies don’t make money. No A24 movie has made $70 million. Everything Everywhere All At Once which is very good, is the top grossing A24 movie and it only made $68 million.
I'm torn on this one.
On one side, Universal has been advertising this movie quite bit on both TV and on YouTube. On the other side, Universal seems to have no confidence in this movie by releasing a movie about Easter in August and the trailer looks incredibly corny.
On one hand, This movie focuses on a Filipino family and there are so few American-made movies made about Filipino people, it’s a shame this is the quality of movie that comes out. On the other hand, there aren't many comedies in release and when under served communities finally get movies geared to them, they can break out (Crazy Rich Asians made $174 million domestic).
Prediction of who is #1: Bullet Train
This is the weekend where Hollywood declares that the summer box office is over. Neither of these movies will even hit number one (guessing Bullet Train stays at 1? Can Easter Sunday sneak in there? Or if those fail, Nope is #1 in the 4th weekend? Ouch.). This is the beginning of a very dark stretch for movie studios.
Having said that, this doesn’t look like a bad movie. I’m a sucker for survival type movies (127 Hours is probably the best of that genre) but this also looks a little polished and uplifting for a genre that traditionally is pushing limits.
Mack & Rita
Remember Big with Tom Hanks? This is Old with Diane Keaton. A young woman in her early 20’s wakes up and is in the body of a 70-something Keaton. At least Big was funny.
This is some bizarre scheduling by the studios. Both of these movies are geared almost exclusively to women. But yet nothing in the few weeks previous has been. Why not use one of these as counterprogramming against Bullet Train or Nope? It almost feels like the studios really don’t give a shit about either movie. I am guessing audience will have the same reaction.
Prediction of who is #1: Bullet Train (again)
Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero
I have no fucking idea what this movie is about. I’m just going to rely on past data. Dragon Ball Super: Broly came out in 2018 and made $30 million domestic. It did open at #1 and I bet this movie wins the weekend as well. Dragon Ball Super has a very loyal fan base but Broly had a hard time reaching out beyond that audience. Guessing after that initial weekend, this one will have the same type of collapse.
Idris Elba Vs. a lion. Can Elba open a movie on his own? He’s been in many massive Marvel hits or has done voice work in some giant animated films…but this is the first time he’s had to do it on his own. I don’t like his chances here. I think for a movie like this to make money in the summer, it needs to be more playful (like Anaconda or Congo). Also, it’s a another human vs. nature movie a week after Fall. The title is also horrible.
Despite all of that, the trailer has over 30 million views on YouTube but I'm still going to stick with this movie not hitting #1 or getting close to $100 million.
Prediction of who is #1: Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero
Horror movie with no stars attached and a first time director? Trailer looks terrible too.
This was going to be a movie I saw as a dark horse hit. It stars Sylvester Stallone as a retired superhero in hiding and a little boy finds him. This isn't tied to DC or Marvel but the premise seemed interesting enough and there is still so much goodwill for Stallone out there among Boomers and Gen Xers.
But then I saw Amazon Prime scooped it up and planned to release it there on the same day and date that Samaritan was due to be released in theaters. It may still get a release but even if it went wide, having that option to watch on streaming will kill any box office chances for a smaller movie like this.
Prediction of who is #1: This will be the worst week for the box office in months. I'm guessing The Invitation but the only chance it has is if it is released in a ton of theaters.
Three Thousand Years of Longing
They saved the most interesting movie of the the month for last. This is George Miller's next film after directing Mad Max: Fury Road. That movie made over $150 million domestic but had the built in Mad Max fan base and Charlize Theron and Tom Hardy. I'm not sure Idris Elba and Tilda Swinton have the same box office pull. In Three Thousand Years defense, this is the first movie that could even potentially get people excited since Bullet Train.
I just think this might be too weird to get a large audience. Are people wanting an action/comedy/fantasy movie about getting three wishes? Will this fall under the Big Trouble In Little China trap of being too many genres for audiences even though it's a well made movie? The best comp might be Everything, Everywhere, All At Once which was a critical darling and still only made $68 million.
Moneyline on these movies making $100 million domestic:
DC League of Super-Pets: -140
Bullet Train: +225
Easter Sunday +750
Three Thousand Years of Longing: +800
Bodies Bodies Bodies: +1850
Mack & Rita: +2000
The Invitation: +2500
Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero: +3500