Box-Office-Feature

Our 2016 Summer Box Office Preview – What Movies Will Rise To The Top?

Box Office Brasserie: Movie News For Movie Lovers

Welcome to the land of summer movies, or as Hollywood now refers to it, $equel City.

And despite what N.W.A. warned us—“don’t be another sequel”—that’s exactly what audiences crave right now, as 8 of the top 10 grossing films of 2016 are sequels, spinoffs or reboots.

The release slate for 2016’s hottest months isn’t really that much different than any other over the last 20 years or so; however, sequels, reboots, and remakes are more prominent and populous than ever before, as multiplexes will munch on no fewer than 18 continuing sagas in wide release from the first weekend in May through Labor Day Weekend.

17 weeks. 18 re-imaginings. No need to whip out your calculator…that’s one every seven days and an added bonus…just for playing along.

Roman numerals are a thing of the past, and even numbers themselves are becoming passé, as studios don’t necessarily want audiences fixated on numerical limitations; they just want fans sold on the next adventure.

Yes folks, the subtitle is king these days: “Civil War,” “Apocalypse,” “Through the Looking Glass,” “Out of the Shadows,” “Resurgence,” “Election Year,” “Collision Course,” “Beyond,” and “Resurrection.”  Half of the sequels this summer will forego digits in search of a double—or in some cases triple—dip of dollars.

Big budget reboots, sequels or spin-offs–that’s what summer is about these days. And because of the mass quantities of them this summer, 2016’s box office crop will be much mightier overall than summer 2015. That’s great news for exhibitors, as it keeps pushing the popcorn from now through Labor Day.

There’s just nothing better than escaping summer’s swelter and slipping into a darkened theater with a popcorn and a Coke that’s bigger than your head. Multiplex and chill–sorry Netflix, but that’s how I roll in the summer months.

TOP 10 SUMMER BOX OFFICE- WORLDWIDE

#1 Finding Dory (Disney) – June 17 — $1.4B

Pixar pulls strings like Geppetto pulls…well…strings. Motion picture puppeteers like no other, they return this summer with the continuing saga to arguably their most-beloved film of all-time, “Finding Nemo.”

Showcasing 30 minutes of footage at CinemaCon in Las Vegas a few weeks ago had theater exhibitors in tears. Tears of joy. Forget a 1-2 punch, Disney has a $1 billion-$2 billion punch between “Finding Dory” and “Captain America: Civil War,” and still has “Alice 2,” Spielberg’s “The BFG” and “Pete’s Dragon” on the docket this summer. Disney is the magic kingdom of money…and still the gold standard of animation.

“Finding Nemo” swam into theaters back in 2003, and grossed $936M—which was before the widespread, international 3D boom. Factor that in, and that’s why I’m guessing Pixar snags the big one–#1 flick of the summer. Everyone will see this.

#2 Captain America: Civil War (Disney) – May 6 — $1.3B

If you’ve seen the billboards you know what this really is: “Avengers 3,” or if we’re following the new Tinseltown logic “The Avengers: Captain America V Iron Man – A Civil War.” This is America’s finest versus the real man of steel—this is the main event, this is the title card. Sorry, Bats. Sorry, Supes.

Warner’s “Batman V Superman,” on marquee value alone, debuted with $166M. “Civil War” is actually a compelling film, standing amongst Marvel’s best.

While the “Captain America” sequel saw fortunes increase mightily from the original– –this will inevitably achieve heights closer to “The Avengers” and “Age of Ultron,” which tallied up $1.5B and $1.4B respectively.

#3 Independence Day: Resurgence (Fox) – June 24  — $850M

It used to be when a film was celebrating its 20th reunion, they’d put out a special edition DVD. Nowadays they just get the original cast together and make another movie. Everyone except Will Smith, that is.

Who needs Big Willy Style when you have the Chinese box office. The original grossed $817M worldwide…in the days before the Great Wall of Cinema came down, bonus bucks in the form of 3D dollars and widespread IMAX appeal.

Should easily clear $750M+ and may just end up taking over the world, although it’s doubtful it will match the $306M it earned in North America. In Japan, ID4 scored an int’l high of $92M.

#4 Alice: Through the Looking Glass (Disney) – May 27 — $775M

No, director Tim Burton isn’t back for the sequel; however, Johnny Depp and the rest of the cast are.

While this one may have a tough time reaching $1B like its predecessor, I’m sure $750M+ will be enough to buy a new infinity pool full of gold for Scrooge McDuck.

#5 Ice Age: Collision Course (Fox) – July 22 — $750M

Grosses have long since retreated in North America, but the last two installments have done bonkers business abroad with overseas totals reaching $690M and $715M for “Dawn of the Dinosaurs” and “Continental Drift.” To the moon, Scrat!

#6 X-Men: Apocalypse (Fox) – May 27 — $745M

With $760M, the R-rated “Deadpool” has grossed more than any other X-Men movie or spin-off, including the previous high-water mark “X-Men: Days of Future Past” which leveled off at $747M in 2014.

Director Bryan Singer returns, as does everyone else in the X-Men universe. Should be a return to form, possibly challenging “Deadpool,” if international audiences embrace it like they did the last installment—to the tune of $513M.

#7 The Secret Life of Pets (Universal) – July 8 — $700M

This has the feel of another “Despicable Me” from Illumination Entertainment. That film debuted with $56M on its way to $543M worldwide. Audiences love these trailers, and it’s positioned far enough from the ebb and flow of “Finding Dory” to really clean up at the box office litter box.

#8 Suicide Squad (WB) – Aug 5 — $685M

When Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy” made $773M worldwide, the Marvel brand truly arrived. They took a no-name band of outsiders and turned them into the biggest act of the summer, domestically, topping the likes of “Transformers,” “Spider-Man,” and “X-Men.

DC is hoping for similar results and build on the box office momentum of “Batman V Superman.” No doubt, with David Ayer (“Fury,” “End of Watch”) at the helm, this will be a much more linear and livelier film.

#9 Jason Bourne (Universal) – July 29 –- $550M

Matt Damon is coming off the biggest film of his career in “The Martian,” and is truly a bankable international star. His return to the Bourne franchise, after Jeremy Renner took his shot, should propel the series to new heights, much in the same way “Fast & Furious” saw resurgence after “Tokyo Drift.”

“The Bourne Ultimatum,” Damon’s last entry, was also the highest grossing of the series with $442M worldwide. If “Jason Bourne” makes the list, it will be the only film not offered in 3D to do so.

#10 Ghostbusters (Sony) – July 15 -– $485M

There isn’t another film this summer that simultaneously arrives with as much anticipation and angst. The question is, which emotion will bust out?  Will the new reboot be a buster or a box office big shot?

Last summer’s mega-misfire, “Pixels,” still grossed $243M globally for Sony, so there’s no reason to think Girl-busters can’t capture upwards of $400M.

That is, unless this repackaging is truly a slimy mess. Can’t see that happening with Paul Feig at the helm; however,the backlash is real. And the reboot pretending the original doesn’t exist is sort of a slap in the face to Ackroyd and crew, not to mention the hardcore fan base.

That’s just asking for trouble. Read any message thread related to this and you’ll see outrage, profanity and disgust along the lines of Donald Trump winning the presidency.

Feig and some cast members have even resorted to commenting and defending the film on social media, which only eggs folks on further. You can’t win in a realm where the dunce is the king. Best let the movie speak for itself.

What do you expect though when you’re rebooting a film that is one of the most beloved of all-time?! Marketing of the film has been a joke: they just slapped on the “Who You Gonna Call” tagline. Reboot? Really? This is a full-on recycle, something creative folks like Fieg should probably stay away from in the future.

Feminist propaganda. Maybe. Although, the only thing they did was replace men with women; not such a big deal these days. Does this actually have a ghost of a chance? We’ll find out soon.

Other Contenders

If any of the above miss the mark, here’s a collection of worthy flicks that arrive with some serious summer heat and might just blast their way  into the Top 10:

 TMNT: Out of the Shadows (Paramount) – June 3 — $475M

Believe it or not, the pizza-loving party crew made nearly $500M globally with the latest reboot. Cowabunga, dude. The sequel actually looks…dare I say…sort of fun. Yep. I said it. It was said. Tweet it.

 The Angry Birds Movie (Sony) – May 20 — $425M

The release date is key for Sony Animation’s latest as it’s the first animated film of the summer season. Sure, those short-tempered feathered creatures aren’t as popular as they once were, but from the looks of the trailers,  the animators seem to have done a pretty decent job with this video game app adaptation–an app-daptation, or ad-app-tation, if you prefer. The first of its kind…but certainly not the last.

Star Trek: Beyond (Paramount) – July 22 — $445M

The first two installments of JJ Abrams’ relaunch of the series scored $385M and $467M respectively. Things are definitely on the up-and-up, but will that trajectory continue without JJ at the helm?

Director Justin Lin (“Fast & Furious”) will ramp up the action, no doubt, but will it go boldly into the box office expanse this summer?

The BFG (Disney) – July 1 — $465M

Spielberg teams up with Disney for his first family film since the very Euro-centric “The Adventures of Tin-Tin.” That film did $373M worldwide, with nearly $300M coming from overseas.

Still, “Big Friendly Giant” has a prime release date, and if it’s RFG (Really Frickin’ Good) or even PFG (Pretty Frickin’ Good), it could easily stomp through the top 10.

Pete’s Dragon (Disney) – Aug 15 –$400M

Disney must like what they see from director David Lowrey (“Ain’t Them Bodies Saints”) as they also have him lined up to helm “Tinker Bell,” starring Reese Witherspoon.

Bryce Dallas Howard and Karl Urban star in this remake of the 1977 film of the same name. Could be another late summer hit for the Mouse House.

BOX OFFICE PROGNOSTICATORS PICK THEIR TOP 10

Cary Darling (Reporter, STAR-TELEGRAM

  1. Captain America: Civil War
  2. Ghostbusters
  3. Independence Day: Resurgence
  4. X-Men: Apocalypse
  5. Finding Dory
  6. Star Trek: Beyond
  7. Jason Bourne
  8. Suicide Squad
  9. The BFG
  10. The Angry Birds Movie

Edward Douglas (The Weekend Warrior

  1. Captain America: Civil War
  2. Finding Dory
  3. The Secret Life of Pets
  4. Suicide Squad
  5. X-Men: Apocalypse
  6. Jason Bourne
  7. Independence Day: Resurgence
  8. Star Trek: Beyond
  9. Ghostbusters
  10. The Angry Birds Movie

Jason Guerrasio (Entertainment Reporter, BUSINESS INSIDER

  1. Captain America: Civil War
  2. Finding Dory
  3. X-Men: Apocalypse
  4. Suicide Squad
  5. Star Trek: Beyond
  6. Ghostbusters
  7. Independence Day: Resurgence
  8. The BFG
  9. The Legend of Tarzan
  10. Warcraft

Petr Hruby (ERC’s #1 Twitter Correspondent & All-Around Swell Fellow) 

  1. Captain America: Civil War
  2. Finding Dory
  3. Independence Day: Resurgence
  4. Suicide Squad
  5. Ice Age: Collision Course
  6. The Angry Birds Movie
  7. The Secret Life of Pets
  8. Alice Through the Looking Glass
  9. X-Men: Apocalypse
  10. Jason Bourne

Pamela McClintock (Entertainment Writer, THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

  1. Captain America: Civil War
  2. Finding Dory
  3. The Secret Life of Pets
  4. Alice Through the Looking Glass
  5. Ice Age: Collision Course
  6. Suicide Squad
  7. The BFG
  8. X-Men: Apocalypse
  9. Independence Day: Resurgence
  10. Jason Bourne

Scott Mendelson (Box Office Analyst, FORBES

  1. Finding Dory
  2. Captain America: Civil War
  3. The Secret Life of Pets
  4. Suicide Squad
  5. Independence Day: Resurgence
  6. X-Men: Apocalypse
  7. Ghostbusters
  8. Jason Bourne
  9. Star Trek: Beyond
  10. Central Intelligence

Gitesh Pandya (Box Office Analyst, BOXOFFICEGURU.COM

  1. Captain America: Civil War
  2. Finding Dory
  3. Independence Day: Resurgence
  4. The Angry Birds Movie
  5. Alice Through The Looking Glass
  6. X-Men: Apocalypse
  7. Jason Bourne
  8. Suicide Squad
  9. Ghostbusters
  10. Ice Age: Collision Course

Lisa Richwine  (Media Correspondent, REUTERS

  1. Captain America: Civil War
  2. Suicide Squad
  3. Finding Dory
  4. X-Men: Apocalypse
  5. Ghostbusters
  6. Star Trek: Beyond
  7. Jason Bourne
  8. Independence Day: Resurgence
  9. Ice Age: Collision Course
  10. Alice Through the Looking Glass

Jeff Sneider (Film Reporter, THE WRAP

  1. Captain America: Civil War
  2. Finding Dory
  3. X-Men: Apocalypse
  4. Suicide Squad
  5. The Secret Life of Pets
  6. Alice Through the Looking Glass
  7. Jason Bourne
  8. Independence Day: Resurgence
  9. Ghostbusters
  10. The BFG

Brian Truitt (Entertainment Writer, USA TODAY

  1. Captain America: Civil War
  2. The BFG
  3. Finding Dory
  4. Ghostbusters
  5. Suicide Squad
  6. Independence Day: Resurgence
  7. Pete’s Dragon
  8. X-Men: Apocalypse
  9. Jason Bourne
  10. TMNT: Out of the Shadows

Beatrice Verhoeven (Blogger/Reporter, THE WRAP

  1. Captain America: Civil War
  2. Finding Dory
  3. X-Men: Apocalypse
  4. Suicide Squad
  5. Alice Through the Looking Glass
  6. Independence Day: Resurgence
  7. The Secret Life of Pets
  8. The BFG
  9. Pete’s Dragon
  10. Ghostbusters

TOP 10 LISTS OF DAYS PAST

       Last Year’s Top 10 

  1. Jurassic World – $1.6B
  2. Avengers: Age of Ultron – $1.4B
  3. Minions – $1.1B
  4. Inside Out – $856M
  5. Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation – $682M
  6. Ant-Man – $519M
  7. San Andreas – $473M
  8. Terminator: Genisys – $440M
  9. Mad Max: Fury Road – $378M
  10. Pitch Perfect 2 – $287M

       10 Years Ago Top 10 

  1. Pirates: Dead Man’s Chest – $1.066B
  2. The Da Vinci Code – $758M
  3. Cars – $461M
  4. X-Men: The Last Stand – $459M
  5. Mission: Impossible III – $397M
  6. Superman Returns – $391M
  7. Over the Hedge – $336M
  8. The Devil Wears Prada – $326M
  9. Click – $237M
  10. The Break Up – $204M

Potential Box Office Belly Flops 

 Warcraft (Universal) – June 10

Let’s see. A big budget ($100M+) video game adaptation that is trying oh-so-hard to be compared to “Lord of the Rings,” but likely settles for being the next “John Carter.”

Let’s face it, the PG-13 flick, based on the wildly successful (MMORPG) looks contrived in the worst possible “studio” way, and is much too strange for the multiplex masses, not to mention it completely lacks any buzz…much the same way as “Fantastic Four” last year, or “Battlefield Earth” back in 2000. Doubtful even hardcore fans of the game will log off long enough to catch this in theaters.

And to top it off, it opens against sure-fire sequels “The Conjuring 2” and “Now You See Me 2.” Game over, man. Game over.

Ben-Hur (Paramount) – Aug 19

Never remake a film that has already won Best Picture. Nuff said. You can’t escape comparisons, and you certainly can’t make a better film.

Estimated budget:  At the very least, $100M+.

The Legend of Tarzan (Warner Bros.) – July 1

Director David Yates (“Harry Potter,” “Fantastic Beasts”) is a talented fellow, no doubt, but the subject material here is about as tantalizing as Peter Pan, and we all know how the last adaptation fared.

This might do “The Lone Ranger” business, but in today’s marketplace that’s a bust. Insert Tarzan yelp here.

Luckily for author Edgar Rice Burroughs, he’s been dead since 1950…because between this and “John Carter” he can’t buy a hit in Hollywood these days.

Estimated budget: $180M. Yes, you read that right.

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The soundtrack of summer. Take us there, Mungo!

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Lead-In Poster Image (Finding Dory) Courtesy of Disney Movies; Poster Design by Legion Creative Group

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Jeff Bock, NewsWhistle’s movie editor, is the senior box office analyst at Exhibitor Relations in Los Angeles, California. He can be reached at Jeff@NewsWhistle.com.