Well, I decided to begin a new type of post where every weekend, I will look at what’s about to come a year later on the exact same weekend, and start making guesses on how much those films will make. Then, one year later, I will look back at this very post and laugh if it is really off, or pat myself on the back if it comes really close. The point of this is- it’s not going to be accurate, but its going to be fun to see how close I get. And you get, since I’m reminding you of the film’s very existence.
Some right now might be groaning over how the Independence Day weekend, once a spot where some of the biggest films of summer will launch, has become a trash pad. Meaning, for two consecutive years, the lucrative frame has been thrown with horrible movies which really don’t click with anyone. In 2014, we had the horrendous Tammy, headlined by Melissa McCarthy, the in-demand comedy star, Deliver Us From Evil, a horror movie which no one really cared about, and Earth to Echo, a found footage film meant for kids. This year, we have Terminator: Genisys and Magic Mike XXL, and despite them being sequels, they mostly underperformed, mostly due to the fact that they were never asked for. Or maybe moviegoers don’t really want to visit cineplexes over long holiday weekends anymore. Why can’t this weekend be like past years like 2013, when Despicable Me 2 actually earned close to $150 million over its first 5 days, and even Lone Ranger, which was deemed a big-budget flop, actually earned $7 million more (estimated) than Terminator: Genisys? Or 2012, where Amazing Spiderman earned over $137 million over its first 6 days? Even 2011 had Transformers: Dark of the Moon, which easily earned $97 million within its opening weekend alone. The weekend, once dominated by big name sequels to blockbuster franchises, is now filled with badly reviewed low-scale comedies, horror movies, found-footage low budget movies, and minor franchises. Wow.
If you’re wondering if 2016 would be any better, let’s just say that it isn’t a safe bet. Next year will once again be filled with a sequel to a horror movie franchise, Steven Spielberg’s latest fantasy-adventure original flick, and a new take on Tarzan. The fact that Independence Day weekends (and now Memorial Day weekends as well, but maybe this year was an anomaly) no longer attract big films might be blamed on the fact that Hollywood studios have now discovered that regardless of when they open their movies, they still have a strong shot at success. Even in previously obscure months like January, February, March or April, films like American Sniper, Fifty Shades of Grey, Hunger Games and the Fast and Furious franchise have respectively proven that there isn’t a thing called quiet anti-blockbuster month. Even the summer moviegoing season has been extended to fill August and May, resulting in a larger array of weekends for studios to choose from. That might explain why this once lucrative weekend is now a testing ground for new potential franchises. I mean, even Independence Day 2 isn’t opening on this very weekend next year- it’s opening the week before.
Now, on to the preview itself. Many should have heard of Tarzan by now- it’s that human turned monkey-human hybrid (not really, he’s still human, but with monkey traits) that everyone should have at least encountered once in their childhood. What might once be a big hit is now flooded with several blockbusters scattered throughout the summer calendar. The one thing going for it is that it is the most established franchise opening that weekend. Yes, Independence Day Resurgence is going to stay big this weekend, because who doesn’t watch the sequel to Independence Day on Independence Day? However, Independence Day Resurgence is probably going to look towards a more adult audience, whereas Tarzan is clearly aimed at families and younger audiences. The cast looks exciting- Alexander Skarsgard, Margot Robbie, Christoph Waltz, Samuel L. Jackson, Djimon Hounso- all well-known to certain degrees. This one’s going to be live-action, and is going to be based on a never-before seen story- no more history on how Tarzan becomes the renowned character he is known for- instead, this film will be focusing on the aftermath, after he returns back to London to lead an ‘ordinary’ life. The director choice sounds exciting- David Yates can be best remembered for directing the last 4 installments of the Harry Potter franchise, alongside the upcoming Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the spin-off to Harry Potter. Indeed, this is going to be one to look forward to.
The Purge 3 is yet another sequel to another horror franchise that is looking to be the next Paranormal Activity. In which I mean that it will release installments in rapid fashion, every 1-2 years. This isn’t really a beloved franchise- instead, its well remembered for its brand new concept. However, the first film failed, because behind all this new concept, the main storyline is yet another house invasion film which we have all seen before. The sequel improved on that, bringing the context out of the house, giving that film bigger legs. But that’s when the main question arises- how will this film become bigger? Hollywood franchises now depend on a formula to survive- the bigger it becomes, the more people want to watch it. Therefore, its not us influencing their options- its them throwing it upon us, influencing us on the way. Instead of what we should be doing- migrating to films which promise an engaging and intriguing storyline that sticks in your mind for years, we are now thrown with ‘bigger, better, louder’ films which might not make any sense at all. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, just look at Transformers. Its hard to imagine how Purge 3 can best the previous film- rumors are saying that the next installment will either be a prequel, or a direct continuation to the Frank Grillo character seen in the second film. Regardless, its hard to imagine the Purge franchise getting much bigger than it already is, leading me to assume that this is going to be right around the ballpark of the previous films, with not much room for expansion.
The last film is the biggest wild-card- the BFG. Its the next film from the acclaimed director Steven Spielberg, one whose name you cannot possibly have not heard of before if you’re a serious movie fanatic. The guy who bought you E.T., Jurassic Park, Jaws, Indiana Jones has mostly retreated out of the limelight- he is now directing smaller films like Oscar baits Lincoln, War Horse alongside smaller animated films like Adventures of Tintin. I don’t even know much about it, apart from this really vague plot summary from IMDB- ‘The tale of a young girl, the Queen of England and a benevolent giant known as the BFG, who set out on an adventure to capture the evil, man-eating giants who have been invading the human world.’ It definitely sounds like a fun adventure for kids, and is definitely more kid-friendly than Tarzan, which has a more adult cast in comparison. The latter is being compared to ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ in tone, while the former, knowing Steven Spielberg, is definitely going to be an adventure for all ages, and definitely going to be one appealing to little kids. This is also based on a classic children’s storybook, so hopefully fans of the book will bring their kids and turn out in force. Regardless, this can turn out in one of two ways- a miss, or a sleeper hit. It’s your bet.
To sum this up, here’s my really really really un-trustable prediction, which will be pondered upon again within a week of the film’s release- you don’t know, maybe all these films might shift out of the Independence Day weekend (and by then I will be crying, for this article will become irrelevant). Here it goes:
Tarzan- $40 million- $136 million final gross
The Purge 3- $32 million- $65 million final gross
The BFG- $34 million- $120 million final gross
Oh, and Independence Day 2 second-weekend estimates, since you might be curious:
Independence Day Resurgence- $71 million- $242 million cumulative gross
Tarzan and The BFG certainly look like the one with the biggest potential at the moment, with the former being the more likely of the pair to become a massive hit, especially if it really looks a lot like a big-budget CGI-heavy affair. Actually, I wouldn’t be shocked if it hits $50 million over opening weekend, because it certainly looks possible. Regardless, this is definitely going to be bigger than the weekend this year, where the biggest film seems to be topping out at $31 million max. Don’t blame them though, for Independence Day this time falls on a Saturday, the biggest day at the box office in other weeks. However, don’t expect any of the new films to beat the one and only holdover from the previous weekend, Independence Day Resurgence. Regardless, don’t forget to check back here exactly one year later, where you can laugh at how inaccurate I am, or be awed by my prediction skills. I really don’t know how this is going to turn out.