There weren’t many fireworks at the box office this Independence Day after “Terminator: Genisys” and “Magic Mike XXL” failed to deliver big crowds.
The biggest sparks were made by a pair of veterans, “Inside Out” and “Jurassic World,” which have been in theaters for several weeks, but still managed to outflank the newcomers to capture first and second place on the charts. Domestically, ticket sales are expected to top out at an estimated $137.4 million, making it the twelfth-biggest July 4th holiday weekend, according to Rentrak.
Those figures did represent a 5% improvement over last year, when films like “Tammy” and “Deliver Us From Evil” fell short, sending receipts to their lowest levels since 2001. Because of that weak competition year-to-date, 2015 is still outpacing the prior year’s stateside ticket sales by 13.3%, according to BoxOffice.com.
For a year that has seen films like “Jurassic World,” “Furious 7” and “Avengers: Age of Ultron” torch or threaten several box office milestones, it’s a surprisingly lackluster result. In fact, neither Memorial Day nor Independence Day, historically strong periods for moviegoing, have delivered in 2015. In the case of Memorial Day, George Clooney’s “Tomorrowland” flopped, resulting in one of the worst holidays since 2012 and a big write-off for Disney, the studio behind the futuristic adventure.
It wasn’t just the fact that “Terminator: Genisys” got a critical shellacking or that “Magic Mike XXL” couldn’t recapture the first stripper drama’s sizzle. The calendar was against Hollywood this year. The holiday fell on a Saturday, traditionally one of the busiest moviegoing days of the week. Consumers opted to hit the beach, host barbecues or spend time with family instead of seeing Arnold Schwarzenegger try to revive his most famous character or Channing Tatum take it all off. That consumer flight is evidenced by the steep drop-offs in the top films as the weekend progressed — “Jurassic World,” “Inside Out” and “Terminator: Genisys” fell between 25% and 35% from Friday to Saturday, while “Magic Mike XXL” slid by a brutal 60%.
What a difference a week will make. “Minions,” the eagerly awaited “Despicable Me” spinoff, lands next Friday, and should rack up one of 2015’s biggest openings, providing movie houses with the kind of bang they didn’t get to enjoy over America’s birthday.