The Bottom Line: June 26, 2016: “We Had 20 Years To Prepare. So Did They”

Liam Hemsworth Independence Day Resurgence

Quick Takes

Finding Dory destroyed the box office last weekend with a record-breaking $135.1 million for first place. The weekend’s other big opener, Central Intelligence, was a solid hit with $35.5 million for number 2.  The previous weekend’s films all held steady, with The Conjuring 2Now You See Me 2, and Warcraft taking third, fourth, and fifth place, respectively.

Box Office Top Five

Finding Dory achieved the highest-grossing opening weekend for an animated film of all time with an astounding $135.1 million. Central Intelligence coasted on the star power of its two leads and surprisingly solid reviews to the tune of $35.5 million. Third place went to the previous weekend’s champion, The Conjuring 2, holding steady at $14.9 million (and successful enough to the point where the studio is developing a spinoff). Now You See Me 2 drops down to fourth with $9.4 million, and Warcraft continues to disappoint in America with $7.2 million (a far cry from the record-breaking box office its achieving around the world).

Here is a look at a few films that are opening on June 24.

Independence Day: Resurgence (PG-13) 119 mins.

I’m not sure who was asking for this, but now, 20 years later, a sequel to Independence Day is hitting theaters. Most of the cast is intact (minus Will Smith, a substantial loss), and director Roland Emmerich returns after two decades of hit-or-miss blockbusters like Godzilla (1998)The Day After Tomorrow2012, and White House Down (he has recently shown an interest in smaller filmmaking though, such as his Shakespeare-thriller Anonymous). Mixed reviews and general trepidation from the studio – this film wasn’t even screened for critics until after it was released in theaters – make enthusiasm for this hard to muster. But if you’re a fan of the original in all its dopey patriotism, there might be something to latch onto here.

This could go either way at the box office, but it still has to contend with the juggernaut that is Finding Dory. The studio seems to be trying to tap into the same nostalgic vein that made Jurassic World the monster hit it was. I think we’ll see it open at number two, then slowly drop from there. This is a bad year to be a sequel that nobody asked for.

Free State of Jones (R) 139 mins.

A Civil War drama starring Matthew McConaughey sounds enticing, but reviews indicate that Free State of Jones is a flat, listless look at yet another white savior narrative. Trailers make it look like a movie that, if it were better, would have been released in the fall months for Oscar contention. As it is, it’s going to get lost in the shuffle of summer blockbusters. Don’t expect too much from this one, box office-wise. It’ll be lucky to crack the top 5.

The Shallows (PG-13) 87 mins.

I’ll admit, I am embarrassingly excited for The Shallows. Director Jaume Collet-Serra has been hit-or-miss for me, but his hits, like Orphan and Non-Stop, have been spectacular, and reviews indicate The Shallows is another win. The whole movie is nothing but Blake Lively stranded in the ocean against a merciless shark, a blockbuster survival tale in the vein of All is Lost. I don’t expect much from this at the box office, but if it’s as good as some critics are saying, this could be a surprise sleeper hit.

The Bottom Line

Finding Dory will reign supreme, while Independence Day will open at number two for a respectable number, though it will likely underperform compared to the studio’s expectations. From there, it’s a little fuzzier, but I see Central Intelligence holding in at number three, The Conjuring 2 at number four, and – this might just be me hoping – The Shallows jumping in at number 5.

Movies To Look Forward To:

The BFG (July 1), The Legend of Tarzan (July 1), The Purge: Election Year (July 1).

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About the author

Michael Smith

Mike Smith is an avid filmgoer from New York who loves to hear his own voice - luckily his work as a podcaster on FilmBook allows him to do just that. Mike graduated from The College of Saint Rose in Albany with a degree in communications, and is ready to dole out critical analysis of all your pop culture fixations. Mike is the host of FilmBookCast and can frequently be seen at his local movie theater, patiently explaining to his friends that Superman Returns is a misunderstood masterpiece.

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