Historically July tends to be one of the busiest months of the year at the box office and 2017 will probably be no different, despite offering only 8 new wide releases.
Yes, that’s right, only 8 movies open in more than 800 theaters this month and while that might seem like a low number (and it is), I’m pretty sure it’s that way mainly because the other studios wanted to stay the hell away from the big July releases. But enough about that, let’s get cracking.
On July 7th Spider-Man: Homecoming is the only wide release and of course that’s the case, it’s Spider-Man’s first solo MCU outing and word of mouth is through the roof. The film currently sports a 93% approval rating on reviews aggregator Rotten Tomatoes and so far everything points towards Spider-Man: Homecoming opening ahead of tracking. Back in January I predicted a $125-130 million start for Homecoming, about $300-400 million in the US and $900 million to $1 billion worldwide. Honestly I still think that sounds pretty spot on, so I’ll stick to those numbers. To become the highest grossing solo Spider-Man movie Homecoming needs over $890 million worldwide (Spider-Man 3).
Next up at the box office are War for the Planet of the Apes and Wish Upon, both coming July 14th. War for the Planet of the Apes is another film that’s getting overwhelmingly positive reviews, right now sitting at 96% on Rotten Tomatoes after 50 counted reviews. Somehow the rebooted Apes movies turned into one of the best trilogies of this decade. Of course a great movie doesn’t guarantee butts in seats and from what I hear War is pretty light on action. I’m still saying $70 million opening for War, $200-250 million domestically and over $700 million worldwide. It’s a busy month so that might hurt it a bit, same goes for Spider-Man.
What I saw of Wish Upon in a trailer did not look particularly good, but then again it’s a horror movie in July and those tend to perform okay. Let’s say $7-9 million start and $20 million overall in the US.
On July 21st we have Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk, Luc Besson’s Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets and R-rated comedy Girls Trip. On paper Girls Trip seems somewhat similar to Rough Night, which didn’t exactly set the world on fire at the box office (quite the opposite). That being said I think Girls Trip will play better, $13-15 million opening, $40-50 million in the US.
We’ve gotten to a point where Christopher Nolan’s name on a movie poster guarantees success. That’s because he has yet to make a bad movie and by now you know exactly what you’re getting out of a Nolan film. Dunkirk is probably his most ambitious movie yet and definitely very much outside his wheelhouse. Among other things that makes Dunkirk very hard to predict. For now I’m going with a $60 million start and depending on how well the film is received $180 million to $250 million domestically and more than $700 million worldwide. That would make it Nolan’s 4th most successful movie at the box office, ahead of Interstellar ($675.1 million) but behind Inception ($825.5 million).
If there’s one big budget July movie that’s likely to bomb in the US, it’s probably Besson’s passion project Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets. I want to believe there’s a chance Valerian can break out the way Lucy did three years ago, but sadly that’s very unlikely. Instead Valerian will probably play similarly to The Fifth Element, $17 million opening weekend, $63.8 million in the US and $263.9 million worldwide. Okay, maybe more like $25 million opening weekend and $350 million worldwide for Valerian. The big difference between those two, besides $20 years of inflation at the box office, The Fifth Element cost less than half.
The month concludes with Atomic Blonde and The Emoji Movie on July 28th. I’d like to think most people will make the smart choice this weekend and go see Atomic Blonde instead off The Emoji Movie. At the same time one is a PG animation while the other is an R-rated action movie from one of the directors of John Wick, the same guy filming Deadpool 2 right now in Canada. I can’t really expect parents to bring their kids to Atomic Blonde, as much as some of them might love that (I was five when I first saw Predator). Or hopefully kids will be smart enough to pick something other than The Emoji Movie. On to the numbers, $25-30 million opening weekend for Atomic Blonde, similar to John Wick: Chapter 2 ($30.4 million), $85-90 million domestically (also like Chapter 2) and $150-200 million worldwide.
The Emoji Movie will probably open with $30 million and finish around $80-100 million domestically with over $200 million worldwide.
There’s no other month this year with more movies I want to watch, so for me it would be impossible to pick just one. Even so I’ll still ask the hypothetical question. If you could only watch one movie in July, which one would it be? Because I’m a huge Spider-Man fan I might lean more towards that, but damn it, I can’t pick one.