Forecast: 'Transformers' to Take Out 'Tammy' Over July 4th Weekend
by Ray Subers
July 2, 2014
It's shaping up to be an unusually quiet Fourth of July at the box office: Transformers: Age of Extinction should easily hold first place over the holiday weekend ahead of newcomers Tammy, Deliver Us From Evil and Earth to Echo.
The fourth installment in the Transformers franchise opened just over $100 million this past weekend. That's the fourth movie this Summer to debut north of $90 million (a new record). The other three all dropped at least 61 percent in their second frame; meanwhile, 2009's Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen received similarly poor reviews and fell 61 percent over the Fourth of July weekend. It's likely that Age of Extinction winds up in the same range, which would put it just below $40 million.
Tammy is the only movie with any chance of taking first place from Transformers. Opening at 3,465 locations on Wednesday, the Melissa McCarthy comedy could theoretically earn over $30 million this weekend.
McCarthy became widely known thanks to her strong supporting turn in 2011 comedy Bridesmaids. Her status as a comedy superstar was cemented last year when she headlined Identity Thief and The Heat, which earned $134.5 million and $159.6 million, respectively.
It's unlikely that Tammy comes anywhere close to replicating the success of those movies. Identity Thief and The Heat put McCarthy against a more conventional lead actor (Jason Bateman and Sandra Bullock), and the comedy flowed naturally from their conflict. While Tammy does pair McCarthy with Susan Sarandon (oddly playing her grandmother), that relationship isn't really front-and-center in the movie's marketing.
Tammy did earn a solid $1.3 million on Tuesday night, which is actually stronger than The Heat ($1 million) and Identity Thief ($450,000). It would be surprising if it maintained that edge over the next few days, though. For the five-day frame, Tammy may wind up earning roughly as much as those two movies earned over their traditional three-day weekend ($39.1 million and $34.6 million).
At 3,045 locations, Deliver Us From Evil is the first horror movie to hit theaters in over two months. The Screen Gems release has grabbed the attention of horror fans in a few ways. First, the movie has been sold as a true story: "inspired by the actual accounts of an NYPD sergeant" is spelled out on the poster in font that's almost as large as the title. Second, it's from director Scott Derrickson, who has horror movie credibility thanks to his work on Sinister and The Exorcism of Emily Rose. Finally, it had a frightening teaser trailer that spooked moviegoers for months earlier this year.
Unfortunately, those same moviegoers seem to have tired a bit of the supernatural horror genre. Last year delivered three $70-million-plus hits: so far, 2014's four major supernatural horror movies have all earned less than $33 million. On its major marketing push alone, Deliver Us From Evil is going to earn more than that. Still, it may fall short of $20 million over the three-day weekend.
Relativity releases sci-fi adventure Earth to Echo at 3,230 locations this weekend. Marketing for the movie has been angling for family audiences: one frequently-used commercial highlights critics saying "kids are going to love Earth to Echo's non-stop adventure," and that it's "a great film for everyone in the family." This makes sense, given the odd dearth of family entertainment at the box office this Summer (Maleficent is slowing down, and How to Train Your Dragon 2 didn't catch on the way many expected).
Unfortunately, the movie seems to combine two genres that have debatable appeal. The found footage style that the movie employs peaked in late 2011/early 2012, when Paranormal Activity 3, Chronicle and Project X all had successful runs. While there's not a great sample size of recent found-footage movies, the weak performance of Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones and Devil's Due suggest audiences are moving on from the format.
Additionally, family-friendly live-action sci-fi has been a mixed bag. In different ways, Echo calls to mind movies like Zathura, Aliens in the Attic and The Last Mimzy, all three of which wound up between $20 and $30 million. It's likely that Echo earns more than that, but it would still be surprising if it crossed $20 million in its first five days.
After five days in limited release, America expands to 1,105 locations on Wednesday. The documentary is Dinesh D'Souza's follow-up to 2016: Obama's America, which is the second-biggest documentary ever with $33.4 million.
Can America match that? Probably not. 2016: Obama's America pointedly shined a negative light on an unpopular president in the midst of a heated re-election contest. America, on the other hand, is being sold simply as an alternative history of America (it does tie this history in to present-day events, but that's not the focus of the marketing). While this aligns nicely with the Fourth of July holiday, it also isn't as appealing as the overtly political content found in 2016.
In its first weekend, 2016: Obama's America earned $6.5 million from 1,091 locations. It's possible that America takes in a similar amount over the five-day frame.
Forecast (July 4-6)
1. Transformers - $40 million (-60%)
2. Tammy - $24 million ($40 million five-day)
3. Deliver Us From Evil - $20 million ($33 million five-day)
4. Earth to Echo - $13 million ($19 million five-day)
-. America - $3.3 million ($5.5 million five-day)
Bar for Success
Over its five-day opening, Tammy should at least be matching Identity Thief's $34.3 million three-day opening. Meanwhile, Deliver Us From Evil ought to be reaching $30 million (that would match Emily Rose's three-day start). Finally, Earth to Echo is in good shape if it gets to $25 million.
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• Last Weekend's Report: Fourth 'Transformers' Opens to $300 Million Worldwide
• Last Weekend's Forecast: Fourth 'Transformers' to Fight Off Franchise's 'Extinction' This Weekend
• Summer 2014 Forecast