The box-office is down 22 percent so far this summer, thanks to a string of flops (Alice Through he Looking Glass, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows) and under-performers (X-Men: Apocalypse, Warcraft), as well as movies that are much better than their box-office suggests (Neighbors 2, Nice Guys).
Still, every summer seems to have a break-out hit or two that will come along and save the box office. It might be an unexpected early hit, like The Hangover, or a movie that arrives in August, like Rise of the Planet of the Apes, or even something that comes in the middle and rescues us from a string of sequels, like Bridesmaids.
We haven’t seen that unexpected hit this summer yet. But it may arrive sooner than you think. I don’t think it will be the fourth Bourne film, The BFG or Ghostbusters, which all should perform to expectations. It won’t be the Independence Day sequel, which will underperform, and it won’t be Tarzan, which is gonna flop. Suicide Squad might be a break-out hit, but it won’t put up Deadpool like numbers, and Finding Dory won’t come anywhere near Zootopia numbers.
My bets for the summer break-out hits are the action comedy Central Intelligence, which opens this weekend and boasts Kevin Hart and Dwayne Johnson. I haven’t seen it yet, but it possesses an original premise, it has two huge stars, and it’s a welcome relief from sequels and superhero movies. It’s a fastball down the middle, and director Rawson Thurber (Dodgeball, We’re the Millers) knows just how to hit a home run with a sense of humor that is not dumb and yet remains broadly appealing. It looks fun, and that’s exactly what we need right now. Plus, Johnson has been selling the hell out of this, and nobody promotes a movie better than The Rock.
The other potential break-out is Bad Moms, a female-led comedy with recognizable, likable faces (Kristen Bell, Mila Kunis, Kathryn Hahn and Christina Applegate) and an R-rating that should bring parents exhausted with their children in the middle of the summer in droves. It’s going to put up big Bridesmaids numbers.