Wednesday, July 5th FINAL: This past weekend associated with the Independence Day drew $169.7M, -11% from a year ago and ranked as the seventh highest for the holiday. The last time we saw a July 4th weekend that cracked past $200M was five years ago ($230M actually) when Despicable Me 2 benefited from the holiday landing on a Thursday, thus creating extra foot traffic over the FSS span without any distractions. That Thursday phenomenon won’t potentially occur again until 2019, and that’s when Sony’s Spider-Man: Homecoming 2 and Illumination’s Secret Life of Pets 2 are currently dated.

Outside of Good Friday, Christmas and Thanksgiving, does the Memorial Day or July 4th span even matter anymore at the B.O.? There’s seems to be more upside and worthwhile money spent by the majors in launching tentpoles outside both these holidays (it’s interesting how Deadpool 2 is sitting there on June 1 next year in the same post-Memorial day space where Wonder Woman launched, especially as Disney/Lucasfilm’s Han Solo movie gets back on track production wise to meet…a Memorial Day weekend launch).

After this month, which bodes well with releases such as Spider-Man: Homecoming, War for The Planet of the Apes, Dunkirk and Atomic Blonde, there are some insiders who are concerned that summer ticket sales will truly collapse without a major mega four-quad picture on the marquee like last year’s Suicide Squad. Already, the season is -8% from last year’s $1.98 billion.  Spider-Man, save us. Thank God for the rest of the year, as it’s keeping us even with last year’s pace of $5.7B, which ended on a banner note of $11.4B.

Illumination’s Despicable Me 3 has a franchise history of launching around Independence Day. The pic battled its way to $99M over five days and will still be profitable. But there’s a feeling of ennui in the air given how it’s off greatly from its industry forecast of $90M-$100M. The pic took four days to click past Uni’s $85M projection. Being original proved worthy for Sony-TriStar/Media Rights Capital/Working Title’s Baby Driver which overperformed its tracking with a $29.5M five-day, first $39M week. Following the opening of Get Out, Baby showed that there’s a thirst for non-franchise fare. Meanwhile, The House underscored how comedy films are in the hospital.

Below are the final June 30-July 2 actuals from ComScore with total cumes through July 4th according to ComScore:

  1. Despicable Me 3, Universal, $72,434,025, 4,529 locations, $15,993 average, $99,020,280, 1 Week.
  2. Baby Driver, Sony, $20,553,320, 3,226 locations, $6,371 average, $39,003,927, 1 Week.
  3. Transformers: The Last Knight, Paramount, $16,880,555 (-62%), 4,132 locations, $4,085 average, $109,158,195, 2 Weeks.
  4. Wonder Woman, Warner Bros., $15,706,011 (-37%), 3,404 locations, $4,614 average, $354,602,300, 5 Weeks.
  5. Cars 3, Disney, $9,689,279 (-60%), 3,576 locations, $2,710 average, $125,350,795, 3 Weeks.
  6. The House, Warner Bros., $8,724,795, 3,134 locations, $2,784 average, $11,905,080, 1 Week.
  7. 47 Meters Down, Entertainment Studios Motion Pictures, $4,517,143 (-36%), 2,250 locations, $2,008 average, $34,350,297, 3 Weeks.
  8. The Beguiled, Focus Features, $3,163,472 (+1280%), 674 locations, $4,694 average, $4,707,995, 2 Weeks.
  9. The Mummy, Universal, $3,013,395 (-50%), 1,760 locations, $1,712 average, $76,143,865, 4 Weeks.
  10. Pirates Caribbean:Dead Men Tell No Tales, Disney, $2,525,546 (-53%), 1,674 locations, $1,509 average, $166,899,822, 6 Weeks.
  11. All Eyez On Me, Lionsgate, $1,824,631 (-69%), 1,258 locations, $1,450 average, $43,358,982, 3 Weeks.
  12. Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2, Disney, $1,539,519 (-49%), 966 locations, $1,594 average, $384,262,086, 9 Weeks.
  13. The Big Sick, Lionsgate, $1,651,958 (+292%), 71 locations, $23,267 average, $2,973,888, 2 Weeks.
  14. Rough Night, Sony, $1,275,124 (-73%), 1,657 locations, $770 average, $20,887,146, 3 Weeks.
  15. Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie, 20th Century Fox, $1,114,612 (-74%), 1,452 locations, $768 average, $69,798,274, 5 Weeks.
  16. Beatriz At Dinner, Roadside Attractions, $1,057,021 (-40%), 683 locations, $1,548 average, $5,217,900, 4 Weeks.
  17. The Hero, The Orchard, $839,239 (182%), 401 locations, $2,093 average, $1,945,894, 4 Weeks.
  18. Megan Leavey, Bleecker Street, $484,110 (-60%), 433 locations, $1,118 average, $12,096,394, 4 Weeks.
  19. The Book of Henry, Focus Features, $270,145 (-72%), 363 locations, $744 average, $4,027,872, 3 Weeks.

20. Baywatch, Paramount, $248,335 (-67%), 196 locations, $1,267 average, $57,360,207, 6 Weeks

Tuesday July 4th Writethru 8:23AM after Monday postIllumination’s Despicable Me 3 cracked the $85M projection that Universal forecasted, but in four days with $86.4M after an industry estimated $14M Monday, -27% from Sunday.  DM3 looks to be down another 20% today for $11M-$12M for a five-day run of $98.9M on the high end. That’s the third best five-day run for a DM movie after Minions ($145.5M) two years ago and DM2 ($143M over its first Wednesday-Sunday). It’s also above the original movie which made $72M in its first five days from Friday to Tuesday. Despite coming in below both industry and studio expectations over three days, DM3 will still profit as we mentioned yesterday given its low cost (under $80M), which keeps within Illumination’s model and is anomaly budget-wise compared to other animated pics.

As far as franchise fatigue goes this summer, we hear July is apt to reverse the trend with Sony/Marvel’s Spider-Man: Homecoming seeing a $100M-plus start and 20th Century Fox’s War for the Planet of the Apes reaching in the $70M range. According to comScore, this year’s pre-Fourth of July weekend was estimated at $175M, -8% from a year ago. This has impacted summer turnstiles to also be off 8% from the May 5-July 2 period a year ago, currently totaling $1.98 billion. This year is now dead even with 2016 at $7.5B through six months. Remember last year was a banner year stateside at $11.4B.

Sony

Sony TriStar/Media Rights Capital/Working Title’s Independence Day weekend sleeper Baby Driver made $5M on Monday, more than the $4.5M-$4.75M we saw, taking its cume through six days to $34.5M. Today will deliver another $3.7M to $3.9M, taking the Edgar Wright-directed movie to $38.2M-$38.4M. As far as comps, which are hard because Baby Driver is so different as a pure action title opening on a Wednesday in the summer, number-wise the Wright title is close to what the R-rated This Is The End made in its first week ($39.8M). Sony was able to push that Seth Rogen-James Franco ensemble to $101.5M.

New Line/Village Roadshow/Warner Bros.’ casualty The House took in $1.67M yesterday, -31% for a running total of $10.4M.  Industry projections see $1.5M today for the $40M-budgeted Will Ferrell-Amy Poehler title for a five day cume of $11.9M. 

Overall, grosses will be down today despite most people having the holiday off. Moviegoing is not the priority today as people take time out at the beach, pool, BBQ, fireworks and families.

Monday 8:40AM writethru after Sunday AM post: Illumination/Universal’s Despicable Me 3 is playing more like a threequel (some even argue fourthquel after Minions) coming in lower than Universal’s original expectation of $85M with a now three-day of $72.4M prior to July 4th. The industry was far more bullish projecting $90M-$100M. But still at these figures, DM3 will be a profitable at the end of the day, and a feather in Uni’s 2017. That’s because Illumination builds these titles at responsible budgets, and DM3 is in the same high $70M range as SingDespicable Me 2, and Minions. Unlike other rival animation studios, Illumination is careful about controlling costs and isn’t freewheeling in its spend.

Despicable Me 3
Universal/Illumination

Together with overseas, DM3 is off to a $189.4M global start. While DM3 will likely fall short of DM2 ($368M domestic, $970.8M global B.O., $394.5M profit), it should certainly be higher than Sing ($270.3M domestic, $632.4M global) and that latter pic cleared after all ancillaries a $194M-plus profit. So, DM3 will be fine despite the lower than expected opening.

The slowdown in DM3 can be attributed to July 4 falling on a Tuesday versus being attached to the weekend (like a Thursday, which is ideal). The notion is that for families, they’ve spent the bulk of this weekend traveling or projecting most of their vacation activities over this Friday-Tuesday stretch. July 4 is always a truncated day at the box office, but today many distributors are hoping for another solid day. Last time DM2 played, Independence Day fell on a Thursday, with the sequel seeing $83.5M over FSS and a five-day of $143M.

Comcast/NBCUniversal supported DM3 through all of its verticals including a high-profile show integration on NBC with a sneak peek of the movie on America’s Got Talent, an in-show integration and custom co-branded spot during the season premiere of American Ninja Warrior, and a Minions appearance during the season finale of The Voice. DM3 spots ran during the NBA playoffs and high-profile premieres, finales and special events, across network and cable.  The film’s digital campaign featured high impact activations, including an Amazon Minion Day, where the site’s star ratings were replaced with Minion ratings and a character takeover of BuzzFeed’s “LOL,” “WTF,” “OMG,” “Trending” and “CUTE” badges.  Sculpted Minions sat atop more than 600 NYC Taxicabs, with a Minionese “Bello, New York” greeting.

Similar to other DM titles, DM3 has had an embarrassment of riches when it comes to promotional partners including McDonald’s, Kellogg’s, Ferrero, Proctor & Gamble, Topps, 23 & Me, Yummy Spoonfuls and Chiquita, which will feature DM3 stickers on 300 million bananas worldwide.  DM3 marks the largest cross-category consumer products offering for Uni, with innovative toys from WowWee’s Minion MiP, and Moose Toys, to fashion and lifestyle collaborations including Puma, Sprayground, and Free & Easy.

Wilson Webb

Sony TriStar/Media Rights Capital/Working Title’s Baby Driver missed the $30M five-day mark that Sony spotted yesterday by $500K per industry estimates this morning. It’s coming in at where rivals spotted it at $29.5M.  Still that’s a great result for this original summer title.  Three-day for Baby Driver is at an estimated $20.5M in second place.

“It’s great to see an original, non-IP film breakthrough this summer; it’s a shot in the arm for anyone who supports original filmmaking,” beamed Sony worldwide distribution and marketing chief Josh Greenstein yesterday morning. Sony is having a great start to its July, because after Baby Driver, its Spider-Man: Homecoming is already generating great critical heat at 94% percent fresh. Homecoming is bound to have a $100M-plus opening weekend as audiences see the webslinger finally included in the greater Marvel Cinematic Universe with his own standalone title.

Baby Driver is director Edgar Wright’s biggest opening at the box office, his previous high being Scott Pilgrim vs. The World ($10.9M, which actually bombed). We hear Wright is like a kid in a candy shop; just completely over the moon with this weekend’s success.

On social, RelishMix noted on Sunday that YouTube views for Baby Driver had doubled. The top 10 views over Friday through Sunday increased from 30k to 60k views per day, while the organic views on the top reposted videos have exploded from 50k by 3X to 150-165k views a day which is at a rate on superhero films. Ansel Elgort added 46k new fans over the last week on his Instagram account sending his account to 8M+ followers.

At a time when some cynics in the industry believe that low-to-mid budget films like the disastrous New Line/Village Roadshow/Warner Bros. comedy The House at $8.7M (in 6th place) should be relegated to streaming services like Netflix instead of the big screen, Baby Driver proves that they can break through. With Uni/Blumhouse’s Get Out this year debuting to $33.3M and ending at $175.5M stateside, it would be a shame to slot original fare on streaming or day-and-date VOD. Not only is cash left on the table, but their cultural relevance is too. By relegating a Get Out or a Baby Driver to in-home, viewers “wouldn’t have that shared experience about talking about the movie with a group of people. That’s what this business is all about,” remarked a rival studio executive on Sunday morning about the success of Baby Driver. Like The Shallows, Don’t Breathe and Sausage Party last year, Sony spent a majority of their P&A on digital, which reaches their prime demos for a movie like Baby Driver at a low cost.

The House, as we first analyzed on Friday night below and again here, is part of a current drought for comedies at the box office. It’s the fourth title this summer after Baywatch, Snatched and Rough Night that hasn’t broken out. House‘s demise has a lot to do with studios flooding the marketplace with this party-hardy subgenre of comedies like Office Christmas Party, Neighbors 2 and Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates, but then no comedy titles has broken out since last summer’s crop of Central Intelligence, Ghostbusters, Bad Moms and Sausage Party. No amount of funny trailers could save House. Audiences can smell these tired raunchy titles from miles away and are flat out rejecting them with their wallets. Some will try to blame Ferrell’s waning star power or sense of humor, but that theory doesn’t hold water given how Get Hard and Daddy’s Home worked for him recently, grossing, respectively, $90.4M and $150.4M

If Warner Bros. has anything to celebrate this weekend, it’s the holding power of Wonder Woman-37% in its fifth weekend with $15.7M. We thought she’d end her stateside journey at $360M, but there’s a good chance she gets close to $380M. The current running cume for the DC hero is $346.2M. Worldwide, she’s just under $708M.

Studio reported weekend estimates for June 30-July 2 as of Monday AM:

1). Despicable Me 3 (UNI/ILL), 4,259 theaters / $29M Fri. (includes $4.1M previews)/$24.3M Sat/ $19.1M Sunday/ 3-day cume: $72.4M /Wk 1

2). Baby Driver (PAR), 3,226 theaters / $5.7M Wed. (includes Tuesday preview of $2.1M) / $3.3M Thurs. / $6M Fri. /$7.7M Sat/$6.8M Sun/ 3-day cume: $20.5M / Total cume: $29.5M / Wk 1

3). Transformers: The Last Knight (PAR), 4,132 theaters (+63) / $4.9M Fri. / $6.5M Sat/$5.5M Sun/3-day cume: $16.8M (-62%)/ Total cume: $101.9M / Wk 2

4.) Wonder Woman (WB), 3,404 theaters (-529) / $4.4M Fri. /$6.1M Sat/$5.3M Sun 3-day cume: $15.7M (-37%)/ Total: $346.2M / Wk 5

5). Cars 3 (DIS), 3,576 theaters (-680) / $3m Fri. /$3.6M Sat/$2.8M Sun/ 3-day cume: $9.4M (-61%) / Total: $120.6m / Wk 3

6). The House (WB), 3,134 theaters / $3.3M Fri. (includes $800K previews) /$3M Sat/$2.4M Sun/ 3-day cume: $8.7M/ Wk 1

7.). 47 Meters Down (ENT), 2,250 theaters (-221) / $1.37M Fri. /$1.7M Sat/$1.4M Sun 3-day cume: $4.49M (-36%) / Total: $32.4M / Wk 3

9.) The Beguiled (FOC), 674 theaters (+670) / $1.05M Fri. /$1.2M Sat/$1.2M/$902K Sun/3-day cume: $3.1M (+1279%)/Total: $3.5M/ Wk 2

9.). The Mummy (Uni), 1,760 theaters (-1,112) / $835K Fri. /$1.1M Sat/ $984K Sun/3-day cume: $2.9M (-51%)/Total: $74.7M / Wk 4

10.). Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales  (DIS), 1,674 theaters (-682) / $724K Fri. /$963K Sat/$836K Sun/ 3-day cume: $2.5M  (-53%)/ Total: $165.6M / Wk 6

The Little Hours
Gunpowder & Sky

NOTABLES:

The Big Sick (AMAZ/LGF), 71 theaters (+66) / $537K Fri /$612K Sat/$503K Sun/ 3-day cume: $1.65M (+292%) / Per screen: $23,3K /Total: $2.2M Wk 2

The Little Hours (GSKY), 2 theaters / $20K Fri. / $23,6K Sat/$12,8K Sun/PTA: $28,3k, 3-day cume: $56,6K /Wk 1

Brian Brooks’ specialty box office report can be read here. 

Writethru Saturday 8AM after 12:39AM update: One thing you have to say about this year’s Independence Day weekend at the box office: It sure is far more riveting than last year.

This weekend we have a kids’ animated threequel in Illumination/Universal’s Despicable Me 3a franchise which refuses to show any sign of fatigue with a healthy three-day of $81M-$83M; the second best FSS out of the series’ three titles after Despicable Me 2‘s $83.5M (third best if you count the spinoff Minions’ which holds the record domestic debut for any Illumination title at $115.7M). DM3 gets an A- CinemaScore tonight, which is lower than the A earned by the first two movies and Minions, but on par with The Secret Life of Pets. 

Next is Sony-TriStar/Working Title/Media Rights Capital’s Baby Driveran action title which is proving that original material when made for the right price actually works at the summer B.O. with a 5-day B.O. of $27M-$28M.

WB

Then, there’s the ultimate collapse of Amy Poehler and Will Ferrell’s The House from New Line, Village Roadshow and Warner Bros. with $9.3M in 5th place, arguably the lowest opening for both Saturday Night Live alums when it comes to their live action comedy vehicles. The House‘s opening weekend is even lower than Ferrell’s 1998 SNL spinoff feature A Night at the Roxbury ($9.6M FSS, $30.3M final domestic). Even though Ferrell counts more big comedy studio projects than Poehler, she’s at least filed eight figure openings with such movies as Baby Mama ($17.4M), Sisters ($13.9M) and her last pairing with Ferrell, Blades of Glory ($33M). Interestingly enough, those CinemaScore audiences who attended The House didn’t completely hate it, nor did they love it tremendously, giving it a B- grade. Note, there have been other Farrell comedies that they’ve thumbed down in the past, i.e. A Night at the Roxbury (C-), Zoolander 2 Land of the Lost and Bewitched (all C+s).

This trio of holiday wide releases will gross close to $108M altogether, +22% over last year’s July 4th weekend wide openers which included a classic literary hero (The Legend of Tarzan), an absurdist, out-of-touch children’s literary adaptation (The BFG), and a horror threequel (The Purge: Election Year) — none of which could push Disney’s Finding Dory out of the top spot.

Given how yesterday was a half work day for most Americans and also a time for travel, Saturday night and even Sunday will provide a better barometer for this weekend’s business. DM3‘s ticket sales, of course, are determined by matinees, while it will be fun to watch word of mouth impacting Baby Driver for the better.

Sony

That’s the movie that truly has distribution executives all over town jazzed up. In the wake of microbudget Get Out‘s success at the box office, Baby Driver is another reminder about how potent the theatrical experience remains in the streaming era. There is truly a demand for original material on big screens outside the home. Should Baby Driver’s ticket sales maintain their speed throughout the holiday stretch, many expect a big multiple for Wright’s movie down the road.

How ironic is it that Baby Driver hits theaters on the same day another critically acclaimed, amazing movie, Bong Joon Ho’s Okja started streaming on Netflix? The movie about a young South Korean who raises and bonds with a genetically modified pig, only to see it snatched from her by the corporation that bred it, not only has emotional touchstones like E.T., but it’s hysterically fun with a huge take-it-to-the-man (or woman, in this case) message. Both Baby Driver and Okja are two titles that many fanboy filmmakers are talking up this weekend as mindblowing; Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn for one.

Netflix

While Okja, which carries a reported production cost of $50M, will receive a limited theatrical release this weekend, most people will catch it in their homes on Netflix. If Baby Driver can work at the B.O., is Okja leaving money on the table by avoiding a wide theatrical release?

“Can you imagine all the money that would have been lost had Get Out went straight to VOD or if it was pulled out of theaters early and placed on PVOD?” one New York-based distribution chief remarked to me recently about most majors’ thirst to collapse theatrical windows.   

Similar to Sony’s trio of releases last summer – Sausage Party, The Shallows and Don’t Breathe – Baby Driver is part of the studio’s latest mandate to take big cinematic risks at low costs. After Wright stepped away from Ant-Man, by Comic-Con 2014 it became clear that Baby Drivewas his next project with Working Title. In fact, Wright had Baby Driver at Working Title since 2006. The project was described as “a collision of crime, action, music and sound” and three years later that promise has lived up. Tom Rothman brought Baby Driver to Sony TriStar, and MRC boarded as a 50/50 finance partner in January 2015 with The Fault in Our Stars star Ansel Elgort attached as lead. Lily James would sign on to play the girlfriend in May 2015. By the way, couples are responding to the pair’s onscreen chemistry, as they rep 43% of Baby Driver‘s audience per PostTrak.

“We are thrilled audiences are connecting with Edgar’s wildly fun and inventive film,” said MRC co-Presidents of Film Jonathan Golfman and Brye Adler. “He’s truly made a movie with something for everyone. Baby Driver is proof that original movies can still breakthrough to summer audiences.”

Sony TriStar

Sony insiders were raving about Baby Driver since late last summer, and they did everything in their power to nurture and protect this movie. The studio was able to get their Rotten Tomatoes rating coming out of the film’s SXSW premiere (where it won the Audience award) at 100% and they sold and leveraged that in their trailers. Sony’s marketing campaign made a point to sell Baby Driver as the most unique action film moviegoers would see this summer in a sea of franchises, and the studio couldn’t ask for a better pull quote from a critic to capture the Wright film’s cinematic sensibility: “It uses music the way the rest of us use air,” beamed Crave’s William Bibbiani. Sony launched the first trailer worldwide as people were filing out of the theater in Austin and posted the positive reviews on social. In fact Baby Driver won best action trailer at this year’s Golden Trailer Awards. Further trailers would highlight the pic’s unique blend of visuals, music and sound, including the international “TeKillYa” trailer which dropped a month prior to release. There was even a specific remix trailer cut to the movie’s opening song “Bellbottoms” edited by Mike Relm, an influencer and video remix master. See below:

Baby Driver‘s digital campaign focused on creating micro-content for social media, targeting specific demographic and several psychographic audiences, including car enthusiasts, music lovers, cast members’ fans and Wright’s followers. The soundtrack –all songs handpicked by Wright and written into the script– hit online and store shelves last week.

There was also an aggressive word of mouth screening campaign that targeted colleges, Hispanic audiences and sports influencers. As of Friday morning, PostTrak showed 59% Caucasians turning out followed by 17% Hispanic, 13% African American and 7% Asian. While the under 25 crowd was the majority on opening day, that’s segued to older folks attending with 54% over 25. Males over 25 were the largest crowd at Baby Driver (31%) followed by under 25 (26%), women over 25 (23%) and women under 25 (20%).

Sony jumped Baby Driver around the calendar trying to find the best date: first it was March 17 of this year, then Aug. 11, then ultimately Wednesday, June 28 to get a leg up on the July 4th holiday foot traffic, create buzz and play into this weekend.

WB

Warner Bros. and New Line, like Sony, tried to keep The House as cheap as they could with a $40M production cost before P&A. They even had financial help from Village Roadshow. This is the second comedy in two weeks to die at the B.O. after Sony’s Rough Night, and third this summer after Baywatch. It’s an understatement to say that comedies are currently in a drought.

The trailers that were cut for The House looked funny, and drew laughs at CinemaCon, especially the Casino satirical moment where Ferrell, Poehler, and Jason Mantzoukas have to physically threaten a guy in their ‘home’ casino.  Such black comedic moments, just like a murdered male stripper in Rough Night, have failed to tickle the funny bone of critics. While we can easily blame them and the whole Rotten Tomato black cloud (15% Rotten) for steering potential ticket buyers away from The House, rival distribution chiefs firmly believe that comedy isn’t dead at the box office, but this party subgenre definitely is, especially after being tapped too many times post-Hangover. New Line bought The House at auction, and it was penned by Andrew Jay Cohen (who directs) and Brendan O’Brien, the guys who wrote Neighbors which proved to be a huge success ($18M production cost, $49M opening stateside, $150.1M domestic take, $270.7M global). However, this duo’s Bacchanalia sense of humor has gotten very tired, very fast among moviegoers, with grosses dropping post Neighbors to Neighbors 2 ($21.8M, $55.4M) and Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates ($16.6M, $46M domestic, $77M global). Many studio marketing chiefs are throwing their hands up when it comes to comedies, as potential moviegoers can get very fickle if a spot is off tonally in its message or sense of humor (Baywatch dealt with this as it walked the line between playing up too many beefcakes in its spots which put off guys, and then focusing on the babes which failed to interest women).

But again, those distribution executives who have weathered the ups and downs of comedies don’t believe they’re destined to die on streaming services, rather the genre is going through a phase, and it’s up to a game changer project (like Hangover) to pull it out of its rut.

Observes one distribution sage, “Ya know, by the time these movies are greenlit two years out, a lot can change in regards to the nation’s sense of humor by the time of release. And you can definitely say that plenty has changed in America in recent months.”

The Big Sick
REX/Shutterstock

Maybe that fresh new project to a certain extent is the Kumail Nanjiani-Emily V. Gordon scripted romantic comedy The Big Sick which Amazon Studios is planning to get into the awards conversation. The movie won’t bust wide for another two weekends, but it jumped from five NY/LA theaters to 71 locations for an estimated second weekend of $1.5M, +264%, for a 10-day take of $2.1M and a per screen of $21,6K. For Amazon and Lionsgate, The Big Sick is a marathon, not a sprint. CinemaScore here is a solid A.

Also faring well funny-wise on the specialty circuit is Gunpowder & Sky’s nun comedy The Little Hours starring Alison Brie, Kate Micucci, Aubrey Plaza, Dave Franco and John C. Reilly with a weekend theater average that is just over $30K.

Focus Features’ The Beguiled expanded from four New York and Los Angeles theaters to 674 in weekend two. The Sofia Coppola-directed period piece is +1,250% with $3.1M and a running 10-day total of $3.4M.

For the July 4th weekend of June 30-July 2, weekend industry estimates as of Saturday AM

1). Despicable Me 3 (UNI/ILL), 4,259 theaters / $29.1M Fri. (includes $4.1M previews) / 3-day cume: $81M-$83M /Wk 1

2). Baby Driver (SONY), 3,226 theaters / $5.7M Wed. (includes Tuesday preview of $2.1M) / $3.3M Thurs. / $5.9M Fri. / 3-day cume: $18.4M / Total cume: $27M-$28M / Wk 1

3). Transformers: The Last Knight (PAR), 4,132 theaters (+63) / $4.9M Fri. (-64%)/ 3-day cume: $16.2M (-64%)/ Total cume: $101.3M / Wk 2

4.) Wonder Woman (WB), 3,404 theaters (-529) / $4.3M Fri. / 3-day cume: $15.4M / Total: $345.9M / Wk 5

5). Cars 3 (DIS), 3,576 theaters (-680) / $3m Fri. / 3-day cume: $10M / Total: $121.1m / Wk 3

6). The House (WB), 3,134 theaters / $3.3M Fri. (includes $800K previews) / 3-day cume: $9.3M/ Wk 1

7.). 47 Meters Down (ENT), 2,250 theaters (-221) / $1.4M Fri. / 3-day cume: $4.6M  / Total: $32.5M / Wk 3

8.) The Beguiled (FOC), 674 theaters (+670) / $1M Fri. (+1024%) / 3-day cume: $3.1M (+1254%)/Total: $3.4M/ Wk 2

9.). The Mummy (Uni), 1,760 theaters (-1,112) / $775K Fri.  / 3-day cume: $2.7M / Total: $74.4M / Wk 4

10.). Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales  (DIS), 1,674 theaters (-682) / $721K Fri. / 3-day cume: $2.48M  / Total: $165.5M / Wk 6

NOTABLES:

The Big Sick (AMAZ/LGF), 71 theaters (+66) / $531K (+299%) / 3-day cume: $1.5M (+264%) / Per screen: $21,3K /Total: $2.1M Wk 2

The Little Hours (GSKY), 2 theaters / $20K Fri. / PTA: $30.7K/3-day cume: $61K /Wk 1

2ND Update, 12:05PMDespicable Me 3 is looking at an opening day between $27M-$30M including its $4.1M previews from last night. These projections come from midday matinees. With many folks across the nation taking a half-day today leading into the holiday and traveling, we might see softer Friday grosses on the latest Illumination/Universal release with more robust dailies tomorrow and Sunday. The 3-day range for DM3 is $83M-$85M at this point, which on the low end is what DM2 did in 2013. Critics are harder on this threequel at 62% fresh versus DM1‘s 81% certified fresh in 2010 and DM2‘s 73% certified fresh, but it’s quite obvious that  DM3 is the No. 1 destination for moviegoers over the five-day Independence Day stretch.

Sony TriStar/Media Rights Capital’s Baby Driver is dropping into fifth gear, looking at a Friday that’s between $5.3M-$6.3M, a 3-day in the vicinity of  $18M and a five-day between $25M-$27M. That’s a great start and a second-place notch.

Warner Bros.’ Wonder Woman isn’t stopping, with a third-place take of $15.5M-$16M in her fifth weekend, -38%, with a running cume of $346.5M. Today, the DC superhero will see $4M-$5M. WB is having less luck with its New Line/Village Roadshow R-rated comedy The House, which will be Will Ferrell’s lowest major studio live-action comedy opening since 2006’s Stranger Than Fiction ($13.4M) with a current projection between $10M-$12M. Ugh. Critics have burnt House down at 10% rotten.

Paramount’s Transformers: The Last Knight will beat House for fourth place with a $14M three-day in its second weekend, -69% for a running cume of $99.1M.

1st Update, 7:09AM: Illumination/Universal’s Despicable Me 3 took in $4.1M last night from shows starting at 6PM. The film, directed by Pierre Coffin and Kyle Balda and co-directed by Eric Guillon, played in 4,020 theaters. Industry estimates see the threequel grossing north of $90M by Sunday.

DM3‘s Thursday night marks a good start out of the gate that’s higher than such kid pics like Disney/Pixar’s Inside Out ($3.7M) and Cars 3 ($2.8M) and under Illumination’s The Secret Life of Pets ($5.6M) and Despicable Me 2 ($4.7M).  With these feature animated films, it’s never about preview night, rather weekend matinees. Despicable Me 3 carries a thrifty production cost before P&A like other Illumination titles, just under an estimated $80M.

Despicable Me 2 opened on a Wednesday and made $35M on opening day, $83.5M over its Friday-Sunday, and $143M over five days. Technically speaking, all the movies this weekend are five-day openers with Independence Day falling on Tuesday (not the best box office day, but a holiday nonetheless with Monday night business). Minions chalked up $6.2M in its Thursday preview and churned out Illumination’s highest domestic opening of all-time at $115.7M. Despicable Me 3 already counts more than $20M at the overseas B.O.

As we already reported, Baby Driver among regular titles in release, topped Thursday with $3.3M on its way to a low $20M cume over five days. Warner Bros.’ Wonder Woman finally kicked Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice at the B.O. with a running domestic take of $330.5M.

WB

New Line/Village Roadshow/Warner Bros.’ The House earned $800K last night — $1M less than what Ferrell’s last WB release Get Hard made on its preview night. Compared to other party-hardy comedies from the writing team of Brendan O’Brien and Andrew Jay Cohen, i.e. Neighbors ($2.5M), Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising ($1.67M) and Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates ($1.6M), House is the lowest preview night in their canon. Warner Bros. sees $12M at the low end for this $40M budgeted Cohen comedy. It might land in the mid teens, which would still be a nine-year low debut for Will Ferrell among his major studio marquee comedy roles after Semi-Pro‘s $15M opening. True, House co-star Amy Poehler’s Sisters opened to $13.9M in the face of Star Wars: The Force Awakens and legged out a 6.25 multiple to $87M at the domestic B.O. That’s not really a comp here given the fact that Sisters reaped its fortune over the Christmas season when there’s always a high multiple for movies.