If one thing’s sure, it’s that there could be plenty of fireworks at the Fourth of July box office.
A month ago, no one would have predicted that Universal’s Jurassic World would become one of the biggest box-office sensations in history, roaring to $1.238 billion since its release just over three weeks ago. Pixar and Disney’s Inside Out has also been a hit since its debut two weeks ago, earning nearly $300 million globally.
Now enter Terminator: Genisys and the R-rated Magic Mike XXL, both of which open Wednesday in advance of the holiday weekend. This year, the Fourth of July falls on a Saturday, meaning Saturday will be a wash (it’s much better when the actual holiday falls midweek).
Most believe it could be a close contest between the two new films, Jurassic World and Inside Out, with all four titles potentially earning $45 million-$55 million for the five days. “It’s going to be a lot more crowded than anyone thought it was going to be,” says one studio executive.
Insiders at Paramount, who made Terminator 5 with David Ellison‘s Skydance, are hopeful that the $155 million tentpole will come in at $55 million. Sources at Warner Bros., the studio behind the Magic Mike franchise, are suggesting $45 million-$50 million for the sequel, which cost less than $15 million to produce.
Terminator 5 clearly has much more at stake, considering its price and ambitions of relaunching the storied sci-fi franchise, much as Jurassic World has done for that series. (Ellison spearheaded acquiring the rights to the Terminator franchise.)
But Terminator 5 will have to compete with Jurassic World, as well as Ted 2 to some extent, for male attention.
Alan Taylor directed Genisys, with Arnold Schwarzenegger reprising his role as the The Terminator. He stars opposite Emilia Clarke, who plays John Connor’s mother, and Jason Clarke, who plays John Connor. Jai Courtney and J.K. Simmons co-star. This time out, John Connor sends Kyle Reese (Courtney) back in time to protect his mother, but things soon go awry.
In the grand scheme of things, a $55 million debut wouldn’t be considered a spectacular opening, putting pressure on Terminator 5 to do sizeable business overseas, where it opened to a promising $8.3 million from 10 tiny territories this past weekend.
One thing Terminator 5 has in its favor is a berth in North American Imax theaters, where it evicts Jurassic World.
Magic Mike XXL is banking on getting love from females and gay males, although it was made this time without director Steven Soderbergh and Matthew McConaughey, who played an undeniable role in turning Magic Mike into a sleeper hit in summer 2012 after opening to $39.1 million.
But popular star Channing Tatum — whose early career as a male stripper inspired the film series — did return, alongside Matt Bomer and Joe Manganiello. Gregory Jacobs directed.
R-rated comedies targeting males have struggled his summer: Ted 2 debuted to a disappointing $32.9 million this past weekend (the first Ted opened to $54.4 million), and Entourage opened to $10.3 million in early June and has earned only $31.4 million to date.
One 2015 summer comedy that did work, albeit with a PG-13 rating, was Pitch Perfect 2, thanks to its avid female fanbase. Magic Mike XXL hopes to emulate the success of that film by drawing women, who are wielding more and more power at the box office.