Written by Dapo Olowu
The first half of the U.S. Box Office year was simply enormous, ending with June becoming the biggest grossing month on record. Disney’s dominance is a massive factor, but a fascinating stat reveals that, domestically, only 4 of 2018’s Box Office weekends so far have been topped by non-franchise films, with ‘Ready Player One’, ‘A Quiet Place’, and ‘Rampage’ hitting number 1 back in April. This franchise supremacy (or ‘sequel-itis’) is set to continue this weekend, as ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp’ and ‘The First Purge’ break into cinemas across America.
Riding on the waves of ‘Black Panther’ and ‘Infinity War’ is the MCU’s final showing of the year: ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp’, and it’s looking to make a big splash at the top of the rankings this weekend. The sequel to 2015s ‘Ant-Man’, which opened to just $57.2m, sees Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly return in the title roles, as Scott Lang and Hope Van Dyne work to return Janet Van Dyne from the quantum realm.
MCU first-sequels have generally seen a 30%-45% boost in openings from their predecessors, with ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’s 55% leap proving a rarity. Applying a similar measure to ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp’ would give it an opening of $89m, just a shade over ‘Doctor Strange’s $85.1m. Taking into account the MCU’s performance this year, and ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp’s pre-sale numbers tracking alongside ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ (which opened to $117m last July), it’s not an unrealistic figure, proving that even the smallest characters can make a big impact.
‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’ should stabilise after a heavy-ish 59% drop last weekend, and is in-line to perform like big-hitting, Universal franchise film, ‘Furious 7’ — which saw a 60% fall in its second weekend. A similar weekend would see ‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’ grossing a pretty loud $29.8m, for the film to reach the magic $1bn global gross figure in just a month. Closing in is ‘Incredibles 2’, which may find competition this weekend from ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp’, but will have enough firepower to earn close to $28m.
Nearly 5 years to the day after ‘The Purge’ opened, ‘The First Purge’ takes us right back to the beginning, providing cinema-goers with the origins of the 12-hour period of horror. The first of the films not directed by James DeMonaco, the Blumhouse/Michael Bay joint production casts relatively unknown actors Y’Lan Noel, Lex Scott Davis, and Joivan Wade in lead roles; although, Oscar-winning actress Marisa Tomei also stars in the film, so it is perhaps looking to attract the teenage crowd.
‘The First Purge’, directed by Gerard McMurray, actually opened on Wednesday to capitalise on the Independence Day holiday, and grossed a healthy $9.3m. Comparing to other recent horror sequels, like ‘Alien: Covenant’ and ‘Annabelle: Creation’, gives the film a mid-30s 3-day opening weekend, but its 52% on the Tomatometer is more in line with ‘Insidious: Chapter 3’, which earned $22.7m. From this, a $25m opening is likely, the lowest of ‘The Purge’ franchise so far.
Although ‘Sicario 2’ over-delivered on expectations last weekend, we predict a more subdued showing in the next few days, as its critical reception leads to a $10m gross. Comedy, ‘Uncle Drew’, will hope to remain undeterred by ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp’s arrival to make close to $9m. Now in its 5th weekend, ‘Ocean’s 8’ is already on track to finish ahead of both ‘Ocean’s Twelve’ and ‘Thirteen’, and should deliver just under $6m. ‘Tag’ will close in on the $50m domestic mark with $3.5m, and finally ‘Deadpool 2’ and ‘Won’t You Be My Neighbor’ finish off the weekend with around $2m each.
The MCU will hope that ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp’ will be its 6th successive $100m domestic opening, but will it manage it? Let us know your thoughts on Instagram and Twitter – we’re at @JUMPCUT_ONLINE.