Disney/Pixar hopes the elements are there for a hit when Elemental debuts on June 16th. The 27th feature from the studio comes from director Peter Sohn, who made a rare Pixar disappointment in 2015’s The Good Dinosaur. Voiceover artists include Leah Lewis, Mamoudou Athie, Ronnie del Carmen, Shila Ommi, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Catherine O’Hara, Joe Pera, and Matt Yang King.
Four years ago, Toy Story 4 took in over $400 million domestically. It’s been a rather unimpressive run for the Mouse Factory’s nearly 30-year-old production company since. Onward debuted to $39 million and that figure was likely low since it opened in March of 2020 just as COVID shutdowns were beginning. Soul, Luca, and Turning Red went the Disney Plus route due to the pandemic. Last summer’s Lightyear was a high profile flop with a $50 million premiere and $118 million eventual stateside gross (well under expectations).
I don’t see Elemental reversing the downturn. Some youngsters will be preoccupied with The Flash or maybe they’ll go see Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse again. Reviews won’t get audiences to rush out either as the Rotten Tomatoes is 63% (low for Pixar).
Add all that up and I think this will be lucky to get past $35 million.
Elemental opening weekend prediction: $30.6 million
Warner Bros hopes for the 13th DCEU picture is lucky at the box office as The Flash bolts into multiplexes on June 16th. It’s been a bumpy ride to the big screen between COVID delays and Ezra Miller (playing the title character) and their personal troubles. Andy Muschietti, who made the two It chapters, directs. Michael Keaton and Ben Affleck reprise their roles as Batman with Sasha Calle debuting as Supergirl. Costars include Michael Shannon (reprising his General Zod role from Man of Steel), Ron Livingston, Maribel Verdú, Kiersey Clemons, Antje Traue, and Jeremy Irons. Expect other noteworthy cameos.
The DCEU has had a rough go lately. Their last two titles, Black Adam and Shazam! Fury of the Gods, were significant financial disappointments. James Gunn and Peter Safran were recently tapped to run the struggling franchise. The Flash hopes to right the ship. The first four entries in the series (Man of Steel, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Suicide Squad, Wonder Woman) all grossed $100 million plus in their debut weekends. The next eight movies did not with the second Shazam! only taking in $30 million out of the gate.
Reviews are fairly positive with a 71% Rotten Tomatoes score at press time. If you subscribe to the all publicity is good publicity notion, the negative ink surrounding its lead shouldn’t hinder its potential (and the studio is keeping Miller off the circuit). While The Flash isn’t as iconic a character as the Caped Crusader, the reemergence of Keaton as that character could draw in viewers for a nostalgia fix (it’s been over 30 years since he’s donned the Batsuit).
A best case scenario is The Flash achieving the second best start of 2023 and topping the $120 million that Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse achieved. The worst case result could be not reaching nine figures like those first four superhero tales. That might be the case and it could end up falling outside the top five openings of 2023 (under the $95 million of The Little Mermaid). My forecast puts this on pace with the $93 million that Justice League made back in 2017 (where Miller first fleshed out this character).
The Flash opening weekend prediction: $90.2 million
Transformers: Rise of the Beasts will attempt to topple Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, but that could be a tall order. Beasts is the sole wide release this weekend and you can peruse my detailed prediction post on it here:
The seventh entry in the franchise based on the Hasbro toy line will not have the lowest start of the bunch. That belongs and will continue to belong to Bumblebee which started with $21 million over the holidays in 2018. It may, however, have the second smallest if it fails to exceed the $44 million three-day premiere that Transformers: The Last Knight had in the summer of 2017. I am projecting it will fall under that mark.
That should leave Across the Spider-Verse in first position after an amazing rollout this past weekend (more on that below). While I think the sophomore frame dip will be more than 50%, I believe a high 50s gross will comfortably leave it atop the charts.
Holdovers will fill slots 3-5. The Little Mermaid, after an expectedly hefty second weekend fall, should level off and get above $20 million in weekend 3. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 may remain fourth since it shouldn’t see a percentage drop as large as The Boogeyman‘s in its second outing.
And with that, here’s how I envision the top five:
1. Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse
Predicted Gross: $58.4 million
2. Transformers: Rise of the Beasts
Predicted Gross: $42.2 million
3. The Little Mermaid
Predicted Gross: $22.5 million
4. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3
Predicted Gross: $6.6 million
5. The Boogeyman
Predicted Gross: $5.8 million
Box Office Results (June 2-4)
Swinging the #2 best premiere of 2023 behind The Super Mario Bros. Movie was Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse. That’s also the seventh highest animated opening ever. It built upon the goodwill from its 2018 Oscar-winning predecessor and made off with $120.6 million. That’s well beyond my projection of $96.4 million. Look for it to play well throughout the season (and it’s certainly the frontrunner to win Best Animated Feature next year).
The Little Mermaid slipped to second with $41.3 million in its sophomore frame, on track with my $40.5 million take. The ten-day gross for the live-action Disney remake is $186 million. That’s pretty decent, but its overseas earnings are underwhelming.
PG-13 horror flick The Boogeyman, based on a Stephen King short story, couldn’t pick up buzz as Spidey sucked up all the oxygen. It made $12.3 million for third, falling below my $17.7 million prediction.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 was fourth with $10.6 million (I said $9.6 million) as the MCU threequel is up to $323 million after five weeks.
Fast X rounded out the top five with $9.5 million compared to my $10.1 million forecast. It’s doing better internationally, but the three-week $128 million domestic haul is unimpressive.
Get those pens (not pencils) ready for one nominee in the Animated Feature race at the 96th Academy Awards. Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse is out this weekend. The sequel to 2018’s Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is drawing similar reactions to its predecessor. That means some serious raves as it currently stands at 95% on Rotten Tomatoes (on par with the 97% for part 1).
In December 2018, Into upended the animated category. Any hope that Incredibles 2 or Isle of Dogs held for taking the prize fell by the wayside upon its release. That happened late in the calendar for the first Spidey. We are not even at the midpoint of 2023 and Across has established itself as the strong frontrunner. Pixar’s Elemental, which drew so-so chatter from Cannes, may even struggle to make the final cut of five nominees.
Across is guaranteed a slot and is a huge threat to win no matter what follows in the next few months. It is only the first half of two sequels as Beyond the Spider-Verse follows in March of next year. You can safely assume it might be a hopeful for the 97th Academy Awards.
As for other competitions, I suppose Adapted Screenplay is feasible if Sony were to make a dedicated push. Critics are also pointing out the visual effects. Yet animated titles struggle to get noticed in that particular derby. It’s more likely this will stick to Animated Feature and it could very well stick the landing. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…
Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse swings into multiplexes for a highly likely first place debut while The Boogeyman lurks for a start in third position. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on the newcomers here:
Spidey is the follow-up to 2018’s Oscar-winning animated adventure Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. In addition to plenty of awards, it had an A+ Cinemascore grade and nearly $200 million in domestic sales. Anticipation should be elevated for the sequel (with part 3 coming next year). That’s why some estimates have this as lofty as $100 million. I’m a tad more conservative, but I’ll say it clears $90 million.
The Boogeyman should take advantage of its PG-13 rating, the connection to Stephen King for the source material, and that there’s been a slight lull between horror flicks. Heck – it probably helps that it’s called The Boogeyman. I could see this opening similarly to The Black Phone and Smile. That would mean high teens or low 20s for a solid third place showing.
Memorial Day weekend champ The Little Mermaid should drop to second after a mixed bag of a debut (more on that below). A mid 50s dip (similar to the live-action Aladdin four years ago) would mean a number slightly north of $40 million.
The 4-5 slots should belong to sequel holdovers Fast X and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. It could be a close race between the two as they each may earn a tad over $10 million.
Here’s how I see it looking:
1. Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse
Predicted Gross: $96.4 million
2. The Little Mermaid
Predicted Gross: $40.5 million
3. The Boogeyman
Predicted Gross: $17.7 million
4. Fast X
Predicted Gross: $10.1 million
5. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3
Predicted Gross: $9.6 million
Box Office Results (May 26-29)
As expected, Disney’s The Little Mermaid (updating the 1989 classic) swam to the top of the charts. It did so on the lower end of its expected range. Over the four-day holiday, the total was $118.8 million. That’s below my take of $132.1 million. While nowhere near the starts of Beauty and the Beast or The Lion King from 2017 and 2019, it is on pace with what Aladdin accomplished over Memorial Day four years back.
Fast X slipped to second with $28.5 million and that managed to exceed my $25.4 million estimate. Vin Diesel and company have seen the beginning to the end of their two-decade long franchise earn $113 million thus far.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 was third with $26.8 million, on target with my $26 million call. The MCU threequel stands at $306 million.
The Super Mario Bros. Movie took fourth place with $8.2 million (I said $7.6 million) to bring its massive haul to $560 million.
Spots 5-7, as anticipated, went to three newcomers. I didn’t correctly call their placements. The Machine with popular standup and podcaster Bert Kreischer was fifth with $5.8 million, ahead of my $3.7 million forecast. While not spectacular, it’s on the better end of its predicted range.
About My Father, featuring another popular standup Sebastian Maniscalco alongside Robert De Niro, was on the lesser end of the range. The family comedy was sixth with $5.3 million. I said a touch more at $6.2 million.
Finally, Gerard Butler’s action pic Kandahar bombed in seventh with only $2.8 million. I was more generous at $4.2 million.
And that does it for now, folks! Catch my podcast where I discuss all things box office by searching Movies at the Speed of Speculation wherever you like to stream. Until next time…
At the 91st Academy Awards, Disney/Pixar (a frequent winner in the Best Animated Feature derby at the Oscars) had Incredibles 2 in contention. Yet it came up short to Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. At last year’s ceremony, the studio’s Turning Red was never much of a threat to win and their summer release Lightyear received mixed reactions and didn’t make the cut. Similar elements could be in play for the 96th Oscars and Pixar’s 27th picture Elemental.
Out stateside on June 16, the computer-animated dramedy closed out the Cannes Film Festival. Buzz from France is fairly troubling. The Rotten Tomatoes meter, based on a handful of reviews, is 60%. Peter Sohn directs. He’s best known for 2015’s The Good Dinosaur, which underperformed at the box office and failed to register with the Academy. Voiceover artists include Leah Lewis, Mamoudou Athie, Ronnie del Carmen, Shila Ommi, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Catherine O’Hara, Joe Pera, and Matt Yang King.
This is Pixar’s one at bat for 2023 and prospects look iffy. We may have a frontrunner emerging with Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse opening this weekend. Look for my Oscar Predictions post on it shortly. Even if Elemental manages to make the quintet vying for gold, the chances of a victory look non-existent. If it doesn’t catch on at the box office like Lightyear (and that’s certainly possible), it could get left out altogether. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…
Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse swings into multiplexes on June 2nd and hopes to start the month off on a high note. The animated sequel is the follow-up to 2018’s Into the Spider-Verse, which drew widespread critical acclaim resulting in a Best Animated Feature Oscar. It also grossed nearly $200 million domestically and $384 million worldwide.
There’s a trio of directors in Joaquim Dos Santos, Kemp Powers, and Justin K. Thompson. Shameik Moore is back behind the mic as Miles/Spidey. Other performers voicing additional versions of the hero and other characters include Hailee Steinfeld (back as Spider-Woman), Brian Tyree Henry, Luna Lauren Velez, Jake Johnson, Jason Schwartzman, Issa Rae, Karan Soni, Daniel Kaluuya, Oscar Isaac, Greta Lee, Shea Whigham, and Andy Samberg.
Parts 2 and 3 of the franchise were assembled at the same time. Spider-Man: Beyond the Spider-Verse is slated for March 2024. In December 2018, part 1 started out with $35 million before legging out impressively to a $190 million stateside haul. Achieving a rare A+ Cinemascore rating, it stands to reason that audiences should be pumped for the sequel.
In the summer (as opposed to December), tentpoles are expected to post a gigantic opening immediately. Some forecasts have their projection as rosy as $120 million. That’s certainly possible, but I’ll temper expectations a bit and say $90-100 million is probably where this Verse starts.
Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse opening weekend prediction: $96.4 million