The U.S. box office is expected to score another strong weekend over the July 4th holiday as audiences continue to pour in to see the returning Universal Pictures action flick “F9” and a handful of new movies.
The Fast & the Furious installment beat expectations last weekend to score a $70 million opening, and will likely top the box office again over the Independence Day holiday, generating $33 million in ticket sales from Friday to Monday, according to Boxoffice Pro.null
Theaters and studios need big box-office numbers to generate enthusiasm for movies and encourage consumers to return to cinemas. Hollywood has seen a few big weekends in 2021 but is overall doing far less business than in pre-pandemic times. The industry is also still fighting news about the coronavirus. Los Angeles officials recently urged people continue to wear masks indoors because of the Covid-19 delta variant.
“The industry has seen films debut with boffo numbers, but finding legs has proven to be very difficult,” said Jeff Bock, a senior box office analyst at Exhibitor Relations Co. “The road to recovery will be a long one, but hopefully by the holiday season this year, we’ll see theatrical exhibition normalize.”
In addition to “F9,” Comcast Corp. lol ’s Universal is releasing a new dystopian thriller, “The Forever Purge,” and a new animated comedy “The Boss Baby: Family Business.” Without much competition, the studio should dominate the top three spots at the box office, with about $66 million in ticket sales over the long weekend, according to Boxoffice Pro.
“Boss Baby 2” will be the first movie that Universal has premiered in theaters and on a streaming service simultaneously . The sequel to the 2017 animated hit “Boss Baby” will be available to those paying either $5 or $10 a month for the premium levels of the company’s Peacock streaming service.
Universal also has the option to release “F9” for on-demand viewing five weekends after its theatrical debut, and Bloomberg Intelligence estimates studio’s take from that strategy could be about 10% higher than the revenue from a cinema-only run.
BoxOffice Pro forecasts around $20 million for “Boss Baby 2” and $13 million for “The Forever Purge.”
By next week, he box office will get another major test of moviegoer interest. Walt Disney Co. will release “Black Widow,” the first movie since 2019 from its Marvel Cinematic Universe franchise, the most profitable in history. Adding a wrinkle to estimating cinema attendance is the fact the studio will also make it available for a $30 fee to Disney+ customers.
Even so, the action film, starring Scarlett Johansson and Florence Pugh, may break the $70 million pandemic-era opening record set by “F9.” The movie could make as much as $90 million domestically in the first three days of its release according to Boxoffice Pro.