Box office receipts are one of my favorite aspects of movies, and are by far the thing I enjoy most about the Summer Movie Season, my favorite time of year to spend in a theater. While “The Fate of the Furious” came out a few weeks ago, the Summer Movie Season officially kicks off May 5 with “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” (although both films ironically star Vin Diesel and Kurt Russell). Just like I did last year, I’m going to do a rundown of the 10 films I am most fascinated by as far as box office goes, and give my predicted US opening weekend and worldwide final gross totals, listed in the order of release.
Note: I did a long range forecast for all of 2017 back in January (you can check that out here), so some films will double dip, and the predictions may differ here based on how this year has played out so far.
10. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (May 5)
The original film came out of nowhere to open to $94.3 million back in August 2014 en route to a final domestic take of $333.2 million and worldwide gross of $773.4 million. Dating back to “The Avengers” in 2012, only one Marvel film (“Ant-Man,” $180.2 million) did not gross at least $200 million domestically, a trend “Guardians 2” will have no problem continuing. I think this will play similar to the first film as far as in the US, and take a little bit more overseas. It’s also worth noting that while they typically are the “bigger” titles, every time Marvel has released a film in May it opened at over $100 million.
Opening Weekend: $162 million
Worldwide total: $870 million
9. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (May 26)
It’s been six years since the last “Pirates” film, so there may not be the demand in the US as there was a decade ago and Johnny Depp has been far from a safe box office bet in recent years. That being said, people love their summer blockbusters, and films like this tend to do well in their opening weekend no matter what reviews say (and the four-day Memorial Day weekend will only help). “On Stranger Tides” grossed “only” $241.1 million in the US but murdered overseas, grossing over $804 million for a total of $1.045 billon. As US audiences get pickier about what they spend their money on, foreign moviegoers (especially China) keep flocking to blockbusters no matter how awful they are, so while “Dead Man” will do standard in North America, look for it to again clean house everywhere else.
Opening Weekend: $80 million (3-day) / $100 million (4-day)
Worldwide Total: $940 million
8. Wonder Woman (June 2)
The DC Extended Universe could very well ride or die on the success, both critically and commercially, of this film. With “Man of Steel” and “Batman v Superman” both underperforming at the box office and “Suicide Squad” getting panned by critics, people’s patience is running short with the DCEU and Warner Bros. “Wonder Woman’s” opening weekend, and especially legs, will depend on reviews, but I think there is enough interest here for a solid debut. “Pirates” will steal some of its audience, plus being released next to “Captain Underpants” will steal some of its kids/family demo, but look for “Wonder Woman” to do solid numbers for a film with a $150 million budget, even if it likely opens with the smallest figures of the DCEU.
Opening Weekend: $83 million
Worldwide Total: $745 million
7. The Mummy (June 9)
Much like Johnny Depp, Tom Cruise isn’t the box office draw he used to be but unlike Depp, Cruise still delivers solid enough numbers. The original “Mummy” films had openings ranging from $36-68 million back in the early 2000s, and I bet this falls in the middle of those numbers. “Kong: Skull Island” ($61 million debut, $560M worldwide total) showed people, especially overseas, enjoy remakes of old monster movies, so this will do alright in a pretty crowded June.
Opening Weekend: $45 million
Worldwide total: $520 million
6. Cars 3 (June 16)
The first “Cars” opened to $60.1 million in 2006 and its sequel (which some still refer to as the only bad Pixar film) was welcomed to $66.1 million in 2011. Needless to say, don’t look for this to open to “Finding Dory” numbers, and it’ll likely be middling Pixar for both reviews and box office totals, but it is the only kids film on either side of its release date, so that will help both its opening and legs.
Opening Weekend: $60 million
Worldwide total: $572 million
5. Transformers: The Last Knight (June 21)
Ughhhhh. Like I said in my “Pirates” blurb, Americans are starting to wise up to Hollywood and not paying to see crap just because it features colors and explosions but foreign audiences (read: China) are only getting bigger. And films will only continue to get worse as studios feel the need to put less dialogue and character development into films in exchange for more action. But this isn’t a preemptive review of Michael Bay’s latest form of cinematic torture, so I’ll move on. “Age of Extinction” opened to $100 million in 2014 (many say it was actually lower than that, but the studio lied about the numbers. Hollywood is weird, man) and crawled to $245 million domestically, the lowest of the franchise by nearly $80 million. Americans don’t want this series anymore, but Paramount doesn’t care; China will show up in droves.
Note: figures were adjusted upon the film’s release being moved from June 23 to Wednesday the 21.
Opening Weekend: $70 million (3-day) / $85 million (5-day)
Worldwide total: $1.03 billion
4. Despicable Me 3 (June 30)
The first film opened to $56.4 million in 2010 but that was before people got infected by the Minions cancer. The sequel debuted to $83.5 million in 2013 and the Minions’ spin-off made $115.7 million in 2015. They legged out to $543 and $970 million and $1.160 billion, respectively, so I have no doubt the yellow talking Tic Tacs will push this towards the $1 billion mark.
Opening Weekend: $90 million
Worldwide total: $990 million
3. Spider-Man: Homecoming (July 7)
People love Marvel, people love Spider-Man, people love Marvel’s Spider-Man. This thing is going to kill. The “Amazing Spider-Man” series (if you wanna be generous and call that hilarious swing-and-a-miss of an attempt of two films a series) underperformed at the box office and with critics, but this new rendition should benefit from the Marvel name brand. The biggest opening of the series belongs to “Spider-Man 3” with $151 million in 2007, and neither the heights opening weekend and its total gross of $890 million are impossible.
Opening Weekend: $135 million
Worldwide total: $920 million
2. War for the Planet of the Apes (July 14)
“Rise of the Planet of the Apes” opened to $54.8 million in 2011 and “Dawn” opened to $72.6 million in 2014; they legged out to $481 and $710 million, respectively. How well this does will depend how good reviews are in order to get more than the current fanbase in seats, but numbers close to the last film seem fair.
Opening Weekend: $63 million
Worldwide total: $650 million
1. Dunkirk (July 21)
Christopher Nolan’s latest film is the last one on this list (August is a graveyard this year, more so than usual) and it should be interesting. I think this will do well, as Nolan is now a brand within himself and he doesn’t really allow himself to make bad films, so people will show up. “Interstellar” and “Inception” opened to $47 million and $62 million, respectively, and I bet an opening in between the two seems about right. The film could very well have the biggest opening of any WWII film ever, a title currently owned by “Captain America: The First Avenger” ($65 million in 2011); if you don’t want to count that, “Pearl Harbor” made $59 million in 2001.
Opening Weekend: $52 million
Worldwide total: $450 million
Thanks for checking out my 2017 summer box office projections! In September I’ll do a follow-up so be sure to come back for that, and hope you have a great summer at the movies!