Another weekend, another shitty-looking and unnecessary sequel. After nicely wrapping up the Jason Bourne saga in 2007 with “The Bourne Ultimatum,” Universal sagely decided to… make another “Bourne” movie. This time, they went the route of such classics as “Trail of the Pink Panther,” “Curse of the Pink Panther,” “Son of the Pink Panther,” and, more recently this summer’s beloved “Independence Day: Resurgence,” by making a sequel without the series’s signature star. Brilliant, brilliant move. With 2011’s flop “The Bourne Legacy,” series scribe Tony Gilroy took over the directing reigns from Paul Greengrass, and wooden board Jeremy Renner sapped all the charisma out of the proceedings as a Matt Damon stand-in. There was a reason “The Bourne Ultimatum” was called “The Bourne Ultimatum.” There was a finality to that movie, damn it. But all that’s gone now, as Damon and Greengrass return to produce a second sequel to the series’s “last” movie, the imaginatively-titled “Jason Bourne.” And, as Filmcore intends to talk about a lot pretty soon, it’s coming about at the worst possible time: during a huge, deeply satisfying down year for movie attendance in general and Hollywood sequels and reboots in particular.
Audience exhaustion with excessively regurgitated content may finally be registering with studios, and although we have to slog through a bunch more this year, maybe they’ll actually give us something new to watch next year! For now, we have “Bourne,” even though we don’t really want it. When it comes to original content, STX Entertainment is serving up a platter of R-rated, femme-centric raunch, the Milas Kunis/Kristen Bell-starrer “Bad Moms,” a nice slice of alternative programming to counter the testosterone-addled Bourne bros this weekend. Something called “Nerve” also opens, starring less-famous members of famous actor families.
Weekend: July 29th-31st, 2016
Big New Releases: “Jason Bourne,” “Bad Moms,” “Nerve”
Big Holdovers: “Star Trek Beyond,” “Lights Out,” “Ice Age: Collision Course,” “The Secret Life of Pets,” “Ghostbusters”
1. “Jason Bourne” (PG-13, 4,026 theaters) – $55 million first weekend, $130 million final
“Jason Bourne” should experience a significant drop-off from the opening weekend of “The Bourne Ultimatum,” despite that entry’s being unveiled nine years ago, when ticket prices were significantly lower than they are now. “Ultimatum” racked up $69.3 in its first weekend, en route to a great $227.5 million domestic take ($442.8 million worldwide). That opening weekend in today’s dollars would be $87.2 million, a number that “Jason Bourne” has no hope of sniffing. Universal will be happy to see this puppy reach the unimpressive heights of last weekend’s 13th “Star Trek” movie, “Star Trek Beyond,” which opened significantly below the $70.2 million weekend of its immediate predecessor, amassing $59.3 million. I say “Bourne” hits $55 million and falls off quickly, despite a significant bureaucratic antagonist upgrade to Al Gore’s college roommate. Hitting summer screens on a reported $120 million budget, the apathetically–reviewed espionage thriller will be lucky to even hit a $150 million final.
Last night, during Thursday previews, “Bourne” pulled in $4.2 million from 2,928 theaters. This take was right in line with the $4 million preview grosses of “Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation” (2011) and “The Wolverine” (2013); those franchise installments (#4 for “M:I,” #6 for “The Wolverine”) brought in $55.5 million and $53.1 million in their debut weekends. So something in the $50-$55 million range feels probable here.
2. “Bad Moms” (R, 3,215 theaters) – $35 million first weekend, $115 million final
Who the hell is STX Entertainment? After tanking with “Free State of Jones” a month ago, the upstart studio returns with a movie that is actually tuned into a needy demographic: adult women. Headliner Mila Kunis is a real name, and, coupled with good trailers and a market starved for (relatively) mature content, will help bring in paying crowds this weekend. Though reviews have been mixed-to-decent, on average just a bit better than “Jason Bourne,” it’s a novel concept, and has a good chance at holding up much better than its more hyped fellow rookie. “Jason Bourne” have been ubiquitous, at least here in LA, blanketing every damn billboard and bus stop not occupied by the new Laika movie, for some reason. Anyway, back to “Bad Moms.” It made $2.1 million in 2,550 theaters during its own Thursday evening previews, similar to the $1.8 million “Trainwreck” pulled in during Thursday night previews last year (the Judd Apatow-Amy Schumer comedy finished with $30.1 million in its first weekend) and the $1.5 million “Spy” grossed during its preview evening, ahead of a $29.1 million weekend haul.
3. “Star Trek Beyond” (PG-13, 3,928 theaters) – $30 million (-49%) second weekend, $200 million final
The well-received 13th “Star Trek” feature opened much softer than I had anticipated, although its $59.3 million gross was right in line with the estimates of other box office pundits. Well played, other box office pundits. Despite this, it should still see its audience cut virtually in half this weekend, as fanboys switch from Pine to Damon. The very good notices will perhaps ensure that the descent isn’t a disastrous one. A $30 million sophomore posting will bring “Beyond” to a total domestic sum of $110 million after 10 days, with a $200 million wrap-up still quite possible.
4. “The Secret Life of Pets” (PG, 3,673 theaters) – $18 million (-39%) fourth weekend, $330 million final
After holding up much better than I for one had expected, in the wake of a hilarious bellyflop by “Ice Age: Collision Course,” “The Secret Life of Pets” should continue its summer success story this weekend. I see it easing around 40% from last weekend’s $29.6 million gross to an $18 million fourth weekend, bringing its US total to $296 million after a month’s worth of play. The $350 million mark is still a very real possibility.
5. “Nerve” (PG-13, 2,538 theaters) – $15 million first weekend, $45 million final
This $20 million-budgeted Emma Roberts/Dave Franco young adult thriller, centered around a fictional truth-or-dare video game, debuted to a decent $3.7 million on Wednesday with very little advance buzz, at #3 on the charts. More or less augmented-reality fan fiction that was green-lit before augmented-reality became a thing, “Nerve” may have hit a… nerve (HAD TO) with its target audience of teens and young adults. It made $2.3 million on Thursday, and stands to bring in a solid $15 million this weekend. Relative to Lionsgate’s modest promotional campaign and expectations, this gross is another W in the non-reboot department! It’s based on a popular book, but, hey, it’s not a remake of, or a sequel to, another movie. Progress!