It’s become a tradition on this blog for me to try (and fail) to predict what will be the most commercially successful movies of the summer. Case in point, last year, I was one of the many suckers who failed to see the Jurassic World juggernaut coming, thinking the Age of Ultron would be too big to be stopped by 90s nostalgia. Because I never learn from my mistakes, I’m predicting similar results this year. Although, in my defense, nostalgia for Independence Day cannot possibly be as rampant as nostalgia for Jurassic Park, can it?
So, how did I do with my predictions last year? I got seven of the ten movies in the top ten right. Like many a Hollywood producer, I underestimated the power of female and black audiences, failing to see Pitch Perfect 2 and Straight Outta Compton as the massive successes that they ended up being. And while I got the top four grossers right, I didn’t have them in the correct order. I actually didn’t have any of the movies in their correct position. A mess. But let’s stop beating ourselves about the past and look to the (inevitably inaccurate) future.
But before we do, a disclaimer: I’ve been horribly busy the last couple months and there’s been virtually no posting on the blog. Ideally, I would’ve finished this piece before Captain America: Civil War opened, so I’ve decided to not take into account its actual performance, but stick to the predictions I had made before the movie opened. Here are those predictions…
1. Captain America: Civil War
Release Date: May 6
Predicted Box Office: 450 Million
I know I bit the bullet last year thinking Age of Ultron would obviously -obviously!- be the highest movie of the summer, but how can you bet against this beast? Especially when the movie has gotten glowing reviews (I personally didn’t care for it, but more on that in a different post). I think this very easily clears the 400 million mark, whether it can climb to 500 or 600 is a different question. That’s what makes it number one.
2. Finding Dory
Release Date: June 17
Predicted Box Office: 400 Million
The only true contender to steal the summer crown from Captain America is a long-awaited Pixar sequel. Based on strictly anecdotal evidence that I believe to be very reliable, I’m inclined to believe Dory will perform closer to Toy Story 3 than to Monsters University, which would get it to the 400 million mark pretty easily. The only problem facing this movie are the rather bland trailers, but then again, I though Inside Out looked bad based on its trailer and we all know how that turned out.
3. Suicide Squad
Release Date: August 5
Studio: Warner Bros.
Predicted Box Office: 300 Million
Warner Bros. must be desperate to find some superhero power after the massive yet disappointing box office performance of Batman v. Superman. In almost any other circumstance, I would write off Suicide Squad –a comic book movie in which the villains become heroes and fight the Joker or something- as a horrible idea, except that the trailer makes it look very similar to Guardians of the Galaxy and Deadpool, both of which ended up north of 300 million. Apparently, audiences can’t get enough rowdy, profane, supposedly comedic superheroes.
4. Alice Through the Looking Glass
Release Date: May 27
Predicted Box Office: 240 Million
Believe me, nobody will take the fact that this movie is going to be a hit more personally than I will. Tim Burton’s horrendous Alice in Wonderland is perhaps the worst movie I’ve seen this decade. I cannot believe it is getting a sequel, and I will be crushed when it becomes one of the summer’s most massive hits. Because, who are we kidding? Alice in Wonderland was a gigantic success, and there are probably enough teens who shop at Hot Topic and unsuspecting families to also make this one a hit.
5. X-Men: Apocalypse
Release Date: May 27
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Predicted Box Office: 230 Million
The X-Men franchise has been all over the place, but the last entry, Days of Future Past, seemed to right the ship and build some some genuine excitement for what is coming next. I personally don’t think the movie looks that good -and I’ve been a fan of the X-Men since I was a child- but hey, superhero movies make money, and people seem to be at least a little bit excited about this one. People will probably be ready to move on from Captain America and check out a different set of heroes by May’s end, right?
Release Date: July 15
Predicted Box Office: 200 Million
This is where the prediction game gets really hard, if you ask me. Beyond those top five spots, I can see the rest of the movies on this list be either huge hits, or massive flops. I really want Paul Feig’s female Ghostbusters to be a huge hit. Mostly because I like the cast, but if nothing else, to stick it to the chauvinistic pigs who complained about the gender bending cast. The problem is the trailer looks kind of really lame, if you ask me. But then again, I have no emotional connection to the original Ghostbusters, so who cares what I think.
7. Star Trek Beyond
Release Date: July 22
Predicted Box Office: 195 Million
Star Trek Into Darkness left a pretty horrible taste in everybody’s mouth, so we’ll see if the franchise can recover. The trailers make this look much funnier and exciting than Into Darkness, which should be a good sign. Still, this seems like this movie’s goal is to regenerate excitement for the franchise more than to be a massive hit. I don’t think it’ll do as good as either of its predecessors.
8. Jason Bourne
Release Date: July 29
Predicted Box Office: 190 Million
Bourne is back! And he’s played by Matt Damon! Does anyone care, though? I don’t know. The guy who cuts my hair is really excited about it, so I guess that counts for something, right? Also, The Martian was a big hit.
9. Independence Day: Resurgence
Release Date: June 24
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Predicted Box Office: 180 Million
If you follow last year’s logic, and assume that 90s nostalgia is the strongest force in making a movie a hit, then you better put all your chips on Independence Day. If you think the way I do, however, you’ll say that Jurassic Park is a much better movie, and a bigger staple of the nineties than Independence Day ever was. I’ve heard some people on the internet be excited about this movie. No one I interact with in real life is. I don’t know how to turn that into math.
10. The Secret Life of Pets
Release Date: July 8
Predicted Box Office: 175 Million
Because we all love pets, and the trailer plays pretty well whenever it plays at my local AMC, and because parents will have to take their kids somewhere during the scorching months of summer. Animated movies with talking animals marketed at families tend to make at least 160 million, so there’s that. I guess this can be a hit, even if it is so blatantly a “Toy Story but about pets” ripoff.
What other movies could be big hits this summer? Angry Birds looks dumb and terrible, and I thought our culture had moves past the Angry Birds, but maybe I’m wrong? Meanwhile, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 could do a similar trick and convince unsuspecting children into buying tickets. Neighbors 2 could build on the goodwill of its predecessor and be an even bigger hit. The same goes for The Conjuring 2. And finally, I could see Steven Spielberg’s The BFG making anywhere from 200 to 20 million dollars.
Sometimes, it’s more fun to predict what will fail than what will make money. This summer’s most likely flops are obviously Warcraft and The Legend of Tarzan.
What Am I Most Excited About?
The Nice Guys, of course.