Box office preview: Cars 3 to zoom past Wonder Woman
Disney is putting the pedal to the metal with its Cars franchise for a third time this weekend, as the Pixar series enters a crowded theatrical arena rife with strong holdovers and a handful of newcomers alike. Wonder Woman is still performing well above expectations (midweek numbers are holding strong between $6 million and $9 million after a slight 43 percent drop from week one to week two),but Cars 3 should still lay on the gas enough for a No. 1 finish. Check out EW’s June 16-18 box office predictions below.
1 – Cars 3 – $58 million
Let’s face it: Cars, while far from being on its last legs as a franchise, doesn’t carry the same box office girth as its Disney/Pixar brethren, and it lacks the glowing critical reviews of fellow Pixar releases like Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, and Inside Out. With each of its iterations bowing in the summer, Cars is basically Pixar’s answer to the traditional seasonal spectacle, often landing a little lighter on the quality side, but consistently delivering easily digestible, harmless family-friendly entertainment.
What Cars does have on its side as it races into 4,256 theaters this Friday, however, is a lack of competition. The last major animated title to open wide in North America was Fox’s Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie, which made a so-so $23.9 million at the start of June, but other than that, families are hungry for a hit aimed squarely at them, and by all accounts (reviews aren’t awful thus far), Cars 3 delivers.
Still, now 11 years after the first film sped to $244 million total in the U.S. and Canada, franchise fatigue is likely setting in on Cars and company. The third film’s forerunners didn’t exactly break box office records, either, finishing their respective release windows between $60 million and $66 million. That puts Cars 3 on track to gross approximately $56-$60 million through Sunday.
2 – Wonder Woman – $35 million
After dipping an unprecedented 43 percent after its record-breaking $103 million opening weekend at the top of the month, Wonder Woman is poised to charge onward, shedding as little ticket buyers as possible in the process. Superhero tentpoles tend to drop big across their sophomore outing (Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice lost 69 percent of its first weekend audience, while Suicide Squad similarly saw 67 percent of moviegoers jumping ship in its second week) and level off for round three. With superb word of mouth fueling the film’s already impressive grosses ($453 million worldwide and counting), expect Wonder Woman to continue its light descent down the domestic chart to the tune of $30-$35 million in the days ahead.
3 – All Eyez On Me – $22 million
Though he died in 1996, Tupac Shakur remains one of the music industry’s most influential and respected figures, having sold over 75 million records worldwide. Now, the long-gestating movie chronicling his life — directed by Benny Boom and starring Demetrius Shipp Jr. in the lead role — is finally hitting 2,450 theaters this weekend, and fans are likely to make the film a hit in his honor.
His life and impact are still felt throughout the music industry, and it’s probable that the same audiences that catapulted Universal’s N.W.A. biopic Straight Outta Compton to a staggering $60.2 million opening in 2015 will similarly turn out to support All Eyez On Me, which is named after Shakur’s 1996 studio album of the same name. Whether the film’s numbers will soar as high as Compton‘s remains to be seen, though it’s unlikely, given that, according to Box Office Pro, the film’s social media stats currently trail those of Tate Taylor’s 2014 James Brown drama Get on Up, which posted $13.5 million over its opening weekend three years ago. Look for Eyez to bag anything from $15 million to $22 million over the three-day stretch.
4 – Rough Night – $21 million
There couldn’t be a more fitting time for a female-fronted (and directed, mind you, as Broad City‘s Lucia Aniello takes the reins here), R-rated comedy to debut on domestic screens. Releasing on the heels of the astonishing success of Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman — the first picture directed by a woman to gross over $100 million across its first three days in release — American audiences are in the mood for another shot of girl power, and Rough Night has assembled one of the most enticing casts (from Scarlett Johansson, Jillian Bell, and Ilana Glazer to Kate McKinnon, Demi Moore, and Zoe Kravitz) at the center of a mainstream comedy in recent memory. The film’s growing social media presence indicates an opening larger than Amy Schumer’s Snatched, which bowed to $19.5 million in May, but that number could balloon higher, as this year a major, adult-oriented comedy has yet to take hold of the market, meaning Rough Night could quench the industry’s thirst for a comedy hit to the tune of $20-$25 million.
5 – The Mummy – $14 million
Universal’s first foray into its planned Dark Universe — slated to come together through films about classic horror figures like the Invisible Man, Dr. Jekyll, and Frankenstein’s Monster — underwhelmed across its first weekend on North American screens with a middling $31 million. The film did manage to earn star Tom Cruise’s best worldwide opening of all time, however, raking in a healthy $172.4 million total from all global territories. With a $125 million budget, the film’s international performance is its saving grace, with U.S. numbers most likely topping out at around $80 million by the end of the film’s run. As it heads into its second weekend in wide release, the film is on track to lose at least 50 percent of its debut audience, finishing the period ahead with anywhere between $12 million to $15 million.
Outside the top five, the Mandy Moore/Claire Holt shark thriller 47 Meters Down should drum up solid business from the teenage crowd. Releasing almost exactly one year after Blake Lively led the similarly-themed creature feature The Shallows, this film enters theaters with a relatively untested distributor, Entertainment Studios, behind it, though the film’s robust marketing push has visibility high. With better-than-expected reviews, Moore’s in-demand screen presence (This Is Us is one of the most popular shows on television at the moment), and seasonal tastes (genre films tend to perform better in the summer and winter) working in its favor, all signs point to 47 Meters Down posting a decent number in the $7-$12 million range at roughly 2,300 theaters this weekend.
Also opening at around 575 locations this weekend is Focus’ Colin Trevorrow-directed drama The Book of Henry, which stars Naomi Watts as the mother of two young boys (Jaeden Lieberher, Jacob Tremblay) who seek to save their friend (Maddie Ziegler) from the abusive clutches of her stepfather (Dean Norris). While the film has received largely negative reviews, its buzzy premise, sensational theatrical trailer, and appealing cast (Sarah Silverman, Lee Pace, and Bobby Moynihan also star) should be enough for casual audiences to hitch a ride.
Additionally, Sally Hawkins and Ethan Hawke appear in Aisling Walsh’s Maud Lewis biopic Maudie, which traveled the festival circuit to positive critical reaction late last year. Mature audiences are the target, here, and they’ll show up enough to register the project as a specialty success.