On June 7 two major factions of the summer movie season – the superhero blockbuster and the digitally animated movie – will clash as Fox’s DARK PHOENIX and Universal’s SECRET LIFE OF PETS 2 battle for box office dominance. Both movies are expected to do solid business over their opening weekends, but so far analysts are expecting Illuminations latest impending hit to win the weekend over Marvel’s mutant family, as the former is poised to dig up a terrific $65 million.
On the other side, the latest X-Men outing is expected to make a solid $50 million over the weekend. Both movies’ openings would reflect a downturn from the previous outings in the respective series, with the first PETS making $104 million its first weekend in 2016, while X-MEN: APOCALYPSE made $65 million that same year.
The latest Illumination movie stars Patton Oswalt (replacing Louis C.K.), Eric Stonestreet, Lake Bell, Kevin Hart, Tiffany Haddish, Dana Carvey and animation newcomer Harrison Ford is expected to do well coming off the success of the first movie. While MINIONS is Illumination’s biggest hit globally ($1.15 billion), SECRET LIFE OF PETS narrowly beat out DESPICABLE ME 2 to become their biggest title domestically. PETS 2 will benefit on opening weekend as the first major animated movie in the summer market, with the other family-friendly movies, POKEMON: DETECTIVE PIKACHU and ALADDIN, coming out weeks before.
As for X-MEN, while solo outings like LOGAN and DEADPOOL have triumphed, APOCALYPSE took much of the wind out of the flagship series sails. Coming off that movie’s poor reviews and one of the lesser box office runs of the series, DARK PHOENIX has had to work extra hard to earn back fans’ excitement. Several release bumps haven’t helped matters, but a recent marketing push by Fox with “X-Men Day” may help get audiences into theaters by teasing an end to this new run of movies before Disney and Marvel Studios begin making plans for the series. Stars Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult and Sophie Turner return for more action.