Universal To Come In 1st, 2nd, & 3rd With ‘F9,’ ‘The Boss Baby: Family Business,’ & ‘The Forever Purge’
After months of the box office cycling between revving up and stalling out, we’ve finally seen some real summer blockbuster numbers with F9: The Fast Saga’s $70 million opening last weekend, leading the charge for an overall weekend total that came in at just under $100 million. This Fourth of July weekend looks to continue the stride, with three new wide releases, two coming from Universal, which will give the studio the top three with F9, The Boss Baby: Family Business, and The Forever Purge. With Black Widow coming next weekend and a string of big films over the next month, our box office future is starting to look much brighter.

F9 should top the charts again as it takes its victory lap. 60% second weekend drops are the norm for the series, which would put it at roughly $28 million, though with the holiday weekend we may see a stronger hold than usual. The film will cross $100 million by Friday, passing Godzilla vs. Kong as the second highest domestic grosser of the year, and should end the weekend on the heels of A Quiet Place Part II. It will also pass Godzilla vs. Kong’s $444.2 million worldwide cume, making it the biggest global grosser since Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

Universal is determined to have market dominance this weekend as they roll out two other franchise films. First up is The Boss Baby: Family Business. The Dreamworks Animation film, which once again stars Alec Baldwin as the titular infant CEO, comes four years after The Boss Baby grossed $528 million worldwide. The first film opened to $50.2 million and had a $175 million domestic cume. The sequel, which is hitting 3,600 theaters, will have a hard time reaching those numbers. This summer has not been kind to family films thus far, and the film will also be available on the streaming service Peacock. The reviews are just starting to trickle in, but the response seems to be similar to the first film, which had a 53% Tomato-meter.

Going for a totally different audience is the fifth installment of the Purge franchise. The Forever Purge is hinting at being the final film in the anarchist horror franchise, though horror franchises have a habit of getting revived. It is opening in 3,000 theaters in the same Independence Day weekend slot as the last two Purge films. The domestic grosses of the series have had little variance, ranging from $64 to $79 million. The previous film The First Purge had a lackluster opening weekend ($17 million) compared to the rest of the series (ranging from $29 to $34 million), but it still caught up in its final tally with $69.5 million. Internationally, the series has picked up considerably as it has gone on, going from $24.9 million on the first film to $39 million on both the second and third, and then ballooning to $67.6 on the fourth. Reviews are limited so far, but they look to be comparable to the rest of the series, which has seen the last three films get near identical scores on RottenTomatoes (56-57%).

Getting a semi-wide release is Zola from A24, which opened Wednesday to $505k from 1,468 theaters. The film, which premiered at Sundance in 2020, is based on a viral Twitter thread about a stripper who takes a trip to Florida and gets more than she bargained for, with twists, turns, and crime aplenty. A24 is positioning the comic crime drama on the same 4th of July weekend Wednesday opening that they gave Midsommar in 2019. Zola has received similarly great reviews (89% on RottenTomatoes), but the comparisons end there. Midsommar was on almost double the screens and had a Wednesday opening gross of $3 million for a $10.9 million five day weekend. A better comp is A24’s Spring Breakers, which made $4.9 million from 1,104 screens in its first wide weekend (after a three theater opening weekend of $263k), though Zola does not have the same star power.

In limited release is The God Committee from Vertical Entertainment. The film debuted at Tribeca and stars Kelsey Grammer and Julia Stiles.

Searchlight’s Summer of Soul expands to 700 theaters after a two theater opening last weekend. The Questlove directed doc about 1969’s Harlem Cultural Festival is also hitting Hulu on Friday.