Weekend Outlook – Independence Day, Shallows, Free State of Jones, Neon Demon

It is a very busy weekend at your local multiplex. It’s really one of those weekends that there is something for everyone. However, the battle for box office supremacy this weekend is not going to be much of a battle at all. It would be a huge upset if Finding Dory doesn’t handily take down the alien invaders.

Since its record-breaking, $135 million opening weekend, Finding Dory has continued to impress with its box office performance. Forget about comparing it to all other animated films which it has blown out of the water (no pun intended). Finding Dory‘s performance puts it in the company of films such as Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Jurassic World and The Dark Knight. I’m expecting Dory to bring in another $80 million this weekend. So let’s look at the four wide releases that will hit theaters today and find out what you should watch and what your should wait for.

Independence Day: Resurgence

The 20 years in the waiting, sci-fi sequel had a reported budget of $165 million. You might think it makes sense to compare this film with Jurassic World which successfully revived a 20 year old property. The main difference is that Jurassic World had other sequels and their marketing was amazing prior to and during the films release. However, heading into their opening weekend, the studio is hoping for a $50 million opening. That is a far cry from the $208 million opening that Jurassic World had last year.

This isn’t necessarily that kind of sequel. This isn’t the Jurassic Park or Star Wars franchise and as much as I love Jeff Goldblum he isn’t bringing audiences to theaters the way the return of Will Smith would have. This is a film selling the fact that it has giant special effects and happens to be a sequel.  However, such effects have become a dime a dozen nowadays compared to 1996. So, what makes Independence Day: Resurgence special?” Unfortunately, I really don’t really see anything so I’m predicting a lower than predicted opening weekend at $47 million.

The Shallows

Terror on the water makes for entertaining films. Sony moved The Shallows up a few days to open this weekend instead of next Wednesday. I take this as a sign that they feel the film is tracking well, but they could also be betting on the lack of interest in Independence Day. The film, led by Blake Lively has generated solid buzz ever since its first trailer was released. The theater is a bit crowded with thrillers with The Conjuring 2 still playing well and The Neon Demon also opening this weekend, that could be why the studio is projecting around $7 million for an opening weekend. I think that is low given the buzz around this film. I’m betting on a solid $12 million.

Free State of Jones

Next up is Free State of Jones, which is opening in just over 2,800 theaters. Early reviews have not been great which doesn’t usually bode well for historical dramas. This film has been marketed to a significantly older crowd, but its R-rating and a runtime over 2 hours don’t play well and will limit the number of showings that can take place. The studio is hopeful in their projection of an opening over $10 million, but I think Free State will come up just short of that number. I would probably skip this one at the theater and check it out on DVD unless you are a die hard Matthew McConaughey or historical drama fan looking for something different at the theater.

The Neon Demon

The weekend’s final major new release is the latest from a talented visionary director, Nicolas Winding Refn (Bronson, Drive, and Only God Forgives). After premiering at the Cannes Film Festival in May with walk-outs and yelling at the screen the film has received middle of the road reviews, but Refn fans will likely come out in support of the new release and others curious about films they may never be able to see outside of Los Angeles and New York. The Neon Demon, will release in 783 theaters. It is worth mentioning here that a “wide release” is generally defined as presentation in more than 600 theaters nationwide. I don’t think we will see revenues over $2 million this weekend, but a filmmaker like Refn isn’t in it for the money, it is an art-form and The Neon Demon will likely gain a cult following.

So what are you watching this weekend? Taking the kids to see Finding Dory again? Checking out something new? Let me know in the comments below.

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