While three studio films opening on more than 3,000 screens each could hardly be called minor, it still feels like we’re in the prelude to summer proper. Each of this week’s releases have a little bit of buzz about them, but none of them are the four-quadrant monsters that dot the landscape from next week on. They’ll jostle for their one week in the limelight, then cede the spotlight. It’ll really be all about the opening weekend for these.
And what is it we always say, kids? “Horror movies open.” And one with the pedigree of The Conjuring 2 should open very well. The original brought in $41 million opening in mid-summer three years ago, and the current barren horror landscape bodes well for the sequel nabbing a similar total, even if the weekend has a bit more competition (the original only had R.I.P.D. and Red 2 to contend with; not the stoutest of challengers). There’s already good word of mouth on this one too. So while I might be more interested in seeing this week’s other two releases, I feel pretty good about this one finishing on top.
Now You See Me was a perfectly fine little film — if you’d stumbled on to it on cable one rainy Sunday afternoon. I enjoyed it just fine, but everything about it screamed “TNT at 2:00 PM.” Which isn’t a bad thing necessarily, but not the thing of sequel-generating blockbusters. And $117 million off a $75 million budget is definitely not a blockbuster. But here comes Now You See Me 2, which is probably just adequately entertaining as the first and probably fated to a similar middling box office return. And a similar slot on TBS sometime next year.
But call me a glutton for punishment — or possibly Chinese — because it’s Warcraft I most want to see this week. The video game adaptation is already blowing the doors off the box office in China, which could mean that its US gross is ultimately inconsequential. Granted, Universal doesn’t exactly want the film to tank here in the States, but a $300 million+ foreign haul will certainly make that an easier pill to swallow. I’m not expecting greatness here, just some cheesily self-aware fantasy tropes on parade. Of course, I was also expecting that from Seventh Son and still wake up in a cold sweat thinking about that one…
And now, the preliminaries are done. Here comes the parade of fish and aliens and giants and pets and ghosts. Here comes what really feels like summer. And now that my air conditioning is finally fixed, I say bring it on.