This weekend I will be seeing Life, Animated in a limited engagement at the Hippodrome Theater. It is only playing for 1 week so if you are here in the Gainesville area, you need to act fast. Unfortunately, I have to work on Saturday, but I may be able to check out another movie on Sunday afternoon. Let’s look at the new films hitting theaters and see if they stand a chance of passing Suicide Squad in its second week.
I kind of see this weekend as the unofficial end of the summer movie season. Very quickly studios are shifting to their fall releases which are typically more dramatic and geared towards adults and particularly Academy members. But the three new wide releases compete for second place this week because Suicide Squad, though it is still receiving less than stellar reviews, is almost certainly going to top the box office during its second weekend. I find it funny that all six of the new movies coming this weekend beat Suicide Squad on Rotten Tomatoes. I’m just saying, you can probably skip Suicide Squad this weekend and see a better movie.
First up is Disney’s Pete’s Dragon, the name might sound vaguely familiar because it is a remake of the 1977 film of the same name. Disney is looking to push even further out in front in the box office this year with another big family hit to add to Finding Dory, Jungle Book, and Zootopia. Last month they released The BFG, which I enjoyed and which received good reviews overall but which failed to attract the public at the box office grossing on $52 million.
It is hard to find a film to compare to Pete’s Dragon because the source property isn’t nearly as popular as Jungle Book or Cinderella. It is coming out in late August just as school is back in session across the country so it isn’t fair to compare it with others that came in the summer. The reviews are saying that it is great, and it currently holds an 85% on Rotten Tomatoes. I’m going to say that it will open somewhere in the neighborhood of Enchanted or The Good Dinosaur which opened at $34 and $39 million respectively.
If Sausage Party taps into the same audience that Neighbors and Ted had then we could be looking at a tight race for the top 3. Those two opened to $49 and $54 million respectively. Amazingly, despite the extremely foul content and crude 3D animation Sausage Party is currently looking at an 83% on Rotten Tomatoes, so it could have a very strong showing. On the other hand, it could go the way of This is the End and Pineapple Express. Those were both also Sony pictures and opened to $20 and $23 million.
Seth Rogen and his troupe hope are hoping that Sausage Party’s unprecedented combination of 3D animation and crude humor will connect with fans worldwide. Part of me hopes it doesn’t because I have three kids and they already want to see it and it’s hard to explain to children why they can’t see a cartoon because it was made for adults only.
Meryl Streep is bankable talent for older audiences. It’s been a while since we had a film appealing to older audiences. It could possibly do very well as counter-programming, but a couple of other films have tried this summer and haven’t taken off. Florence is getting very good reviews though. It is currently sitting at 88% on Rotten Tomatoes. I think that this should do better than Ricki and the Flash which she released last August to $6 million, but not as well as Hope Springs which opened in a much less crowded August in 2012 and brought in $14 million.
Box Office Projection
- Suicide Squad – $46 million
- Pete’s Dragon – $36 million
- Sausage Party – $32 million
- Jason Bourne – $10 million
- Florence Foster Jenkins – $8 million
There are also a handful of Independent films that are worth watching that are premiering this weekend. I hope that if you see them here it might peak your interest and you can keep your eyes open for when they come to your theaters. Also, get to know your local theater managers and try to encourage them to bring more independent films to market or seek out smaller venues that might be more willing to show eclectic films or documentaries that others pass over with a yawn.