Each Thursday we look at what is going to be coming out in theaters this weekend, show you the trailers for the big releases, predict the box office winner and just generally give you enough of a carrot to pull you through the rest of the work week. June 24th brings two new wide releases. Twenty years after the release of the original (pause to feel very, very old), the aliens are back to squish our landmarks in Independence Day: Resurgence. Also opening is Matthew McConaughey in a little-known story from the Civil War: The Free State of Jones. Can either take down the juggernaut that is Dory as it just keeps swimming through animated box office records?
Alright, alright, alright, we got ourselves some McConaughey and a sequel that I’m not entirely sure people want this week. It seems like Matthew McConaughey was kind of washed up just a few years ago before he kicked into another gear and started cranking out the kind of performances that won him an Oscar and would have won him an Emmy in any year other than Bryan Cranston’s last on Breaking Bad. Free State of Jones tells an intriguing, little-known story from the Civil War, but the reviews have been vile. It’s currently dithering at 13% on Rotten Tomatoes at the time of writing, and in the shadow of Finding Dory and the weekend’s other release, I think it’s going to be heading to video extremely quickly.
Roland Emmerich has been trying to make Independence Day 2 since the first film was released in 1996. I don’t know that there’s been a huge call for a sequel to Independence Day. We left everybody at a good point. We beat the aliens…..I mean, they’re not going to come back and WIN, so aside from making everything bigger and ‘splodier, what’s the point? Will Smith declined to return, so they killed his character off on the film’s website, saying he died in a training accident testing the hybrid flyers you see in the film’s trailer. If there was a kid in Independence Day, they’ve slapped 20 years on the character and brought them back, as well as Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman, Brent Spiner and most of the rest of the original film’s cast. The reviews are middle-of-the-road, but you’re not really going to ID42 to get amazing cinema. You’re going to see things blow up and listen to Jeff Goldblum’s hilarious cadence. I have a dream where one day a movie will be made with Goldblum, William Shatner, and Chistopher Walken as neurotic brothers on a road trip. I would FUND that movie just to listen to all three of them talk at the same time.
Free State of Jones (Matthew McConaughey, R , 2hr 19min)
Independence Day: Resurgence (Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman, PG-13, 1hr 59min.)
HOW DID WE DO LAST WEEK?
KT picked Finding Dory to open #1 and at over $100 million, but the absent-minded fish did a little more than that. Finding Dory opened at $135.1 million. That is the largest opening for any animated feature in history, and the film crossed the $200 million mark on Tuesday, making it the fastest animated film to reach that mark. This was the ELEVENTH time Disney has won the box office already this year. ELEVEN! In second place and light years behind, but still with a solid opening for an action comedy was Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart’s Central Intelligence with $35.5 million (Lifetime record 13-3).
WHO WILL WIN THE WEEKEND?
This is actually a tough call. You’d think Independence Day: Resurgence would be an auto pick, but I don’t think it is. Dory has such momentum, and such a huge start, that even if it falls off the normal amount for a film in its second week, it should still make somewhere between $70 to $80 million. I’m not confident that ID42 has enough of a built-in audience or buzz surrounding it to open bigger than that. Plus, at this point, betting against Disney this year just seems a little stupid. We’re going with Dory for the repeat and Independence Day in second place.