One Year From Now Preview: Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates; The Secret Life of Pets is Illumination Entertainment’s answer to Toy Story; Star Trek Beyond continuing franchise without Abrams

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.

This post-Independence Day weekend has been a mixed bag. Some years, its real good, some years, it just doesn’t warrant much discussion. This mid July weekend has been a relatively hot date for franchises, though. From Harry Potter, to Despicable Me, to Planet of the Apes, this weekend has seen them all. Last year saw Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, the critically acclaimed follow-up to the equally good franchise rebooted kick-starter, having a huge obstacle to overcome- all the bad will that has arisen from the previous installments, including those from Tim Burton. It succeeded in large parts, with superb motion capture performance from Andy Serkis on his take on Caesar, one which has won him Oscars. It opened with $72.6 million, once again proving that July has been a hotbed of summer, and moviegoers at this time of year are at their prime, ready to devour anything you throw at them (monkey bait). In 2013, blockbuster sequels gave the weekend a miss, though there’s still a sequel in the form of Grown Ups 2, yet another piece of trash from the ever-increasing list Adam Sandler must have been paid to add on to (here’s hoping Pixels won’t join the club). Okay, maybe that was a bit too harsh, I mean a piece of artistic work gone wrong, if you know what I mean. Still, it opened to $41.5 million, a figure not to be reckoned with. Anyways, that weekend also saw Pacific Rim, Warner Bros answer to their usual Mid-July blockbuster offering. Unfortunately, their plans to kick start a brand new franchise were futile, even with Guillermo Del Toro at the helm, because apparently even with Ron Perlman’s stand-out performance, it only earned $37.3 million, opening in third, muddling any future plans, while also provoking a commonly brought up thought- are original movies attempting to be ambitious bound to fail? This year, gladly, sees Minions, the spin-off to the Despicable Me franchise, bringing its massive fanbase on top to great success. It is currently tracking to earn in the high $110- low $120 million range, good enough for the second best animated opening of all time. However, this year attempts something different, bringing along two counter-programmers, in the form of Gallows, a horror movie shifted here because ‘The Conjuring’ could do it here, why can’t I? and Self/Less, the Tarsem Singh directed conscious-transfer film starring Ben Kingsley and Ryan Reynolds. And sadly, both failed to attract too much attention, for they are looking towards niche genres. The Gallows would have been better off in a month like October, while Self/Less looked more like  January release than one meant for summer. Not going to dwell over this here anyway, so for more about that watch out for my box office report coming up later this week. Top 12 weekend grosses for this weekend have varied a lot, so lets talk about the past 5 years. Last year, this very weekend saw $138.6 million shared among the top 12, which was the lowest in 5 years. The biggest top 12 figure for this weekend would be back in 2011, when Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Part 2 opened, propelling the top 12 to $251.65 million, one of the biggest top 12 for a weekend  of all time.

Next year sees three releases- Star Trek Beyond, Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates and The Secret Life of Pets. We are going to be dwelling into them with detail. Let’s begin with Star Trek Beyond. The next one is in a rather interesting state, considering its the first one in the trilogy to not be helmed by J.J Abrams, due to obligations towards Star Wars. Instead, Justin Lin is taking the crown position, bringing the skills he picked up in the Fast and Furious franchise, and applying it in a sci-fi world. Most of the main cast do return, save Benedict Cumberbatch, because having the same villain appear over and over again just won’t work out well. Idris Elba (Pacific Rim, Thor), Bryan Cranston (Godzilla, Breaking Bad) and Sofia Boutella (Kingsman: Secret Service) are all going to join the cast in unknown roles. Nothing much regarding the plot has been disclosed at the moment, continuing the previous installments’ trend of staying hush up until the marketing begins. However, how will this movie perform at the box office?

Star Trek Beyond is releasing on the franchise’s 50th anniversary back when it first launched on TV in 1966, not much different from how James Bond pulled it off to the tune of a gross of over a billion dollars back in 2012, the biggest in the franchise by a huge margin. Paramount is definitely hoping for a similar boost due to that anniversary hook here, and it might succeed. The new Star Trek franchise has also done really well under Abrams’ guidance, having been consistently well received by critics and moviegoers alike. However, and disappointingly, despite having great word of mouth and receiving lots of love from fans, that could not contribute to a bigger domestic gross domestically for the sequel- the sequel fell short of the first film both in its opening weekend and in its final domestic gross. This trend will hopefully go backwards here. For now, I’m suggesting a number in the ballroom of $80-85 million over its opening weekend, and ending off around the vicinity of what the first film earned in terms of its cumulative domestic gross, all due to the ‘anniversary’ hype, where Star Trek fans young and old will rush out to catch the latest installment, just to do the franchise some justice.

Then there’s Illumination Entertainment’s next foray into the animated genre, after their wildly successful first attempt bred one of the most popular and enduring animated film franchise of all time, Despicable Me/Minions. Illumination Entertainment is definitely wishing for a repeat performance for this one, and that prospect is genuinely plausible. Judging by the teaser trailer, this looks to be the studio’s answer to Toy Story, replacing the toys with pets instead. So, instead of toys getting to life, because of the notion that toys are man-made objects which lack a life, we get a bunch of pets who start showing their true colors when their owners leave them for outside activities, and behaving just like how you would believe pets behave in your presence. Early footage kind of suggests that this film, though, will not be having as iconic a character as the Minions have turned out to be- the characters don’t have anything specific defining them, and differentiating them from us. Let’s say they are really similar to humans in terms of behavior, they speak English, except perhaps they are many times dumber, love seeking pleasure, and have a misinterpretation of time. Toy Story 3 was known at that time to be thought provoking, and although it appeals to kids, it also has a strong appeal to adults of all ages. Knowing Illumination’s history of building ‘kids first’ animated films (Despicable Me shows you just that), lets say that this film probably won’t be as mind-blowing as Toy Story, but will be much more comedic in nature, and kid-skewing. With that in mind, I’m predicting around $47 million, slightly lesser than the amount Despicable Me earned in its first go round, and proceeding on from that point based on how great or how bad its word of mouth is. Considering the director of Despicable Me and Despicable Me 2 is attached to this film in a directorial role, and how Kevin Hart is attached, you can only imagine how funny it will get. Well, I guess we have to wait sometimes. Phew..

The final film releasing over this weekend would be Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates. Its looking to serve as counter-programming towards the onslaught of CGI-heavy blockbuster crowded throughout the schedule. As you can guess from the title, Mike and Dave are apparently brothers, who are both looking for a date (I guess, anyway). This film will star Zac Efron and Adam DeVine, the former popular for his High School Musical appearance, and most recently, Neighbors, while the latter is known for his supporting cast role in the Pitch Perfect films. Anna Kendrick is joining in the fun as well, reuniting with Adam in the process. While I can say nothing much about this movie- it all depends on the hit and miss tendencies of the trailers, and originals of comedies from a relatively unknown, not heard of director are hard to predict. I personally am predicting an opening of $16 million, though that will probably be the most random of my predictions here in this post.

Here’s my predictions, anyway, which will be pondered upon again within a week of the film’s release. Here it goes:

Star Trek Beyond- $82 million- $260 million final gross
The Secret Life of Pets- $47 million- $160 million final gross
Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates- $16 million- $49 million final gross

These three films alone will contribute around close to $150 million to the box office. Let’s not forget that holdovers will include the likes of The BFG, Tarzan, The Purge 3, all which will likely be in the high teens or low twenties range by their second weekends, while Independence Day Resurgence will probably drop into third with high 20s million, due to the previous weekend being Independence Day, making its drop higher than usual. Whatever it is, by the time the top 12 is factored in, we might be looking at a record weekend, one which certainly has a really high potential of beating Harry Potter’s numbers. Seriously, even $270 million over the 3 days seems plausible. 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. I guess thats all for now.

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