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Should The Talking Teddy Celebrate?
Box Office Brasserie: Movie News For Movie Lovers

This summer was supposed to be all about The Avengers; instead, Universal’s paleontologists unearthed the bones of one of its biggest franchises and their dinosaurs have been stomping and romping all over box office records.

With the follow-up domestic weekend living large with $106M, “Jurassic World” became the only film outside “The Avengers” to ever hit that milestone in its second spin. And for those keeping track, Earth’s Mightiest grossed $102M in weekend #2. It’s not enough that the dinosaurs are stealing all of Marvel’s records, but it’s literally putting its stamp on the summer of 2015.

Who would have thought? And with “Ted 2” and “Minions” still on the horizon, Universal Studios is going head-to-head with the mighty Magic Kingdom—the only studio that even comes close, really.

Worldwide, “Jurassic World” tallied $981M over the past weekend and is now cruising past $1 billion, with no end in sight. With “Furious 7” and “Jurassic World” and soon “Minions,” Universal will have three billion dollar franchises this year. All sequels or spin-offs, mind you, which is why they’re here to stay, folks. If you don’t like it, don’t worry, we’re living in the golden age of television, and there is content up the wazoo–from here to Timbuktu and back again.

All those records aside, “Ted 2” strolls in under the radar a bit, after the first one debuted three years ago with a thunderous $54M and lined Universal’s pockets with $549M worldwide. That’s pretty impressive for an R-rated comedy as it bust through the seams of international territories with surprising gusto—very rare indeed.

Credit Seth McFarlane’s far-reaching popularity; however that didn’t help him much with last summer’s “A Million Ways to Die in the West,” which scrummed up just $83M worldwide. That’s why you always have a sequel in the hopper, folks.

“Ted 2” plays the game again; although results will likely be less stellar this go-round as the ante doesn’t seem to have been upped much. Mark Wahlberg is back, but switching out with Mila Kunis with Amanda Seyfried doesn’t do much. C’mon this is all about Thunder Buddies…for life!

Expect “Ted 2” to gross upwards of $50M+ in its debut, although with a much bigger drop off this go-round. Does that mean it will be #1 this weekend? That’s a great question. $55M seems to be the magic number; something “Inside Out” may have the inside track on as Pixar has a history of magnificent holds. And then there’s those pesky dinosaurs…

Warner Bros. trots out the feel-good movie of the summer in “Max.” Well, feel-good if you think a dog with post-traumatic stress syndrome is family entertainment. It actually looks pretty cute, and should do decent business, as family fare is premium entertainment during these scorching months.

Warners has had success with “Dolphin Tale” and its sequel, which opened with $19M and $15M respectively. In 2,850+ theaters, expect $16M, possibly a bit more if folks are jonesin’ for a way to beat the heat and continue the wave of box office momentum that “Jurassic World” and “Inside Out” have built up.

It wouldn’t be summer without an anti-action-packed British period piece, right? Ah, a duel is in store, no doubt! The only Roman numerals here are in King Louie’s namesake: XIV. In limited release, Focus Features drops “A Little Chaos” in 75 theaters. Alan Rickman directs, and Kate Winslet, Stanley Tucci, and Rickman star.

In exclusive release, WB also whips out another Batman movie this weekend. Holy balls, Batman! Hey, don’t get your Bat-undies in a bunch; this is the documentary about the little kid from San Francisco who battled leukemia called “Batkid Begins.”

Inspiring stuff, no doubt, but where does it fit in the lexicon of Batman flicks? Hmmm. I wonder if Christopher Nolan approved this? Julia Roberts is actually attached to the dramatic remake.

I mean, I don’t even know where to begin with “Big Game.” It isn’t a real movie, right? Like it’s really an SNL trailer, right? Samuel L. Jackson is proving without a doubt that he is the new Christopher Walken. Hell, I wouldn’t be surprised if Walken shows up in this at some point. Folks, EuropaCorp is releasing “Big Game” in theaters and it may just get the lowest per screen average of all-time. The only thing that can save this is a drinking game, but unfortunately most college kids are on hiatus.

Surprisingly, “Big Game” somehow managed to garner a 71% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes…which is better than “Max” or “Ted 2.”  I smell payola. That’s cash/money to you and me, folks.

WEEKEND ESTIMATES

1.  Inside Out – $55M

2. Ted 2 – $53M

3. Jurassic World – $51M

4. Max – $16M

5. Spy – $7M

SPIDEY SLING AGAIN

The new “Spider-Man” flick doesn’t hit theaters until summer 2017, but that didn’t stop Sony from announcing the star and director:  Tom Holland and Jon Watts. Who? Yup, I went right to IMDb after I heard those names, too. After an extensive search,, Sony came up with Watts whose last film is a thriller called “Cop Car” with Kevin Bacon. (It’s scheduled to be released by Focus World later this summer).

No dig on Watts, as I haven’t seen any of his previous films, but he hasn’t exactly earned the right to carry one of the biggest franchises to the big screen. We saw what happened with Marc Webb with the “Amazing” Spider-Man films, and he was basically railroaded by suits.

Now I’m all for a new Spidey, especially one as a teen, but I also like Peter Parker as more of an adult. The one engaged to MJ. Hell, I can see two different versions existing concurrently. Back in my day, they had three different Spider-Man comics going on simultaneously and that was just barely enough for me.

Now I wasn’t particularly a fan of Andrew Garfield, although it didn’t help that he was surrounded by people who thought guns shooting off every 5 minutes is how you keep an audience’s attention, so I don’t blame him. It’s just that “Spider-Man” deserves a film as good or better than “Iron Man.” That’s all.

Let’s face it, “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” was just awful, not in its execution, but to its core. Sony just didn’t get it. They thought they could just bring in new villains and people would show up. Batman learned the hard way after “Batman Forever” and “Batman & Robin” that that’s the quickest way to bury your franchise.

Like many people, Spidey was my favorite comic book in my formative years, and I have yet to see it done right. Guess what? This is Sony’s last shot at it, as you just can’t keep rebooting a franchise without tarnishing the brand. Is it any wonder Marvel has come on board to incubate (i.e., hold Sony’s hand)? Solid move. Marvel doesn’t want to see Spidey fail again either, which is why they’re launching him in “Captain America: Civil War” next summer. Probably a glorified cameo, but pretty cool idea.

Next summer’s kickoff flick just went into the $200M+ discussion. And yes, Chris Evans is one lucky son-of-a-gun.

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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.

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Image Courtesy of Universal Pictures; Poster Design by BOND