Welcome back to the Beat’s weekly Box Office Preview!

Last weekend, Disney had their third consecutive hit of the summer with Toy Story 4, which is very likely to remain #1 this weekend as well. Also, Disney is re-expanding Marvel Studios Avengers: Endgame into an unknown number of theaters with bonus footage in hopes of getting closer to that global record for Avatar. Of course, if you remove Avatar‘s own rerelease from the equation, Avengers: Endgame has already passed it, but otherwise, it has $38 million to go.

The second month of summer comes to a close with a sequel/prequel and another truly original high concept musical comedy trying to bring in business from audiences who seemingly haven’t shown too much interest in either.

ANNABELLE COMES HOME (New Line/WB)

Annabelle Comes Home
McKenna Grace in Annabelle Comes Home (courtesy New Line/WB)

Cast: McKenna Grace, Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Samara Lee, Emily Brobst, Steve Coulter
Directed By: Gary Dauberman (screenwriter of Annabelle, Annabelle: Creation, It Parts 1 and 2)
MPAA Rating: R

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Back in 2013, James Wan was coming off the success of the first Insidious  movie, which put him back in the mix after leaving the Sawfranchise behind, and he immediately jumped into another horror movie, this one based on the cases of supernatural investigators, Lorraine and Ed Warren. In that first Conjuring, the Warrens were played by Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson, the latter also being in Insidious.
Six years later, The Conjuring proved successful enough with its $137 million domestic gross to produce a 2016 sequel, as well as two spin-offs featuring the doll Annabelle that appeared in the Warrens artifact room. The first Annabelle spin-off opened with $37.1 million and made $84.3 million domestic, then its 2017 prequel Annabelle: Creation opened with $35 million and became the third movie in the franchise to top $100 million domestic.

After last year’sConjuring 2spin-off The Nun, Annabelle is back, and this time, as the title implies, she’s coming home, a reference to the fact that the thirdAnnabellemovie takes place in the Warrens’ artifact room where we first met her in 2013’s The Conjuring.

That’s actually a big sell for Annabelle Comes Home, because it means that Farmiga and Wilson are back in their popular role as the Warrens, which could bring back some of the older audiences who felt that the Annaballespin-offs were geared more towards teenagers.

I’m not quite sure what critics will think of the movie – you can read my review at the link below — but the series has been relatively review-proof as seen by The Nun, which opened with $53.8 million despite awful reviews.
Annabelle Comes Home is opening on Wednesday, but it also has previews on Tuesday night, starting at 5pm, no less. You have to expect that any of the bigger Conjuring/Annabelle fans will be out there earlier in the week to see the movie, especially the teen and older kids out of school. Others might just wait until the weekend, but there’s something to be said about a movie that has a good namebrand like this one clearly does.

I could see Annabellemaking $5 or 6 million on Weds (including those Tuesday previews) but then dropping a bit Thursday but maybe making a bit of a bounce back Friday for a weekend in the $28 to 30 million range. In other words, I can see it ending up with around $40 to 45 million by Sunday, which would be about average for the franchise.

MY REVIEW OF ANNABELLE COMES HOME

INTERVIEW WITH WRITER/DIRECTOR GARY DAUBERMAN

YESTERDAY (Universal)

yesterday
Universal

Cast: Himesh Patel, Lily James, Joel Fry, Kate McKinnon, Ed Sheeran, Sophia Di Martino
Directed By: Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire, Trainspotting, 28 Days Laterand more)
MPAA Rating: PG-13

This week’s other wide release is a little bit off the beaten track for a summer release as it’s the latest movie from British creator Richard Curtis, best known for Love, Actually, 4 Weddings and a Funeral, Blackadder and other very British things. Yesterdayis a high concept rom-com in which a young singer/songwriter, played by Himesh Patel, wakes up from a bike accident to find out that he’s the only one who remembers The Beatles.

This movie teams Curtis with another great British filmmaker, Danny Boyle, who won an Oscar for his Bollywood film Slumdog Millionaire but has a pretty varied filmography ever since making his second movie Trainspotting in 1996. That movie’s success helped put Boyle and its star Ewan McGregor on the map, although other than Slumdog, Boyle’s success in the States has been erratic.

Adding to that is the fact that the movie stars a newcomer and complete unknown in Patelwho is fantastic in the film but won’t have as much draw compared to the Beatles music and the premise. Patel is joined by Lily James, best known from the PBS show Downton Abbey, and movies like Edgar Wright’s Baby Driver and Disney’s Cinderella.  The movie also stars one of the current “Saturday Night Live” breakout stars, Kate McKinnon, in a very funny role, as well as singer/songwriter Ed Sheeran, who hasn’t really done much acting before this.
While on paper, Yesterday  would seem like a good contender to bring in American Beatles fans, it’s also contending with a lot of stronger releases in theaters. Universal is hoping that this will bring in some of the same American Britcom fans who helped Bridget Jones’s Diary  and its sequel do well, but we have to expect that the audience will generally be on the older side.

I don’t think Yesterday will bomb as badly as some of the other original comedies, mainly thanks to its British pedigree and the popularity of the Beatles, so look for the movie to make somewhere in the $10 million range. Audiences will probably like the movie more than critics who got their first look when the movie closed this year’s Tribeca Film Festival.

INTERVIEW WITH RICHARD CURTIS

At the time of this writing, I don’t have a final theater count for Marvel’s reexpansion of Avengers: Endgame with additional footage as mentioned above , which might help it get back into the top 10, but just barely.

This Week’s Box Office Predictions:

  1. Toy Story 4 (Disney/Pixar) – $66.5 million -45%
  2. Annabelle Comes Home (New Line/WB) – $27.6 million N/A
  3. Yesterday (Universal) – $10.5 million N/A
  4. Aladdin (Walt Disney Pictures) – $9.5 million -28%
  5. The Secret Life of Pets 2 (Universal) – $6.1 million -40%
  6. Child’s Play (Orion/U.A. Releasing) – $5.9 million -58%
  7. Men in Black International (Sony) – $5 million -54%
  8. Rocketman (Paramount) – $3.5 million -38%
  9. Avengers: Endgame (Marvel/Disney) – $3 million +50%
  10. John Wick Chapter 3 – Parabellum (Lionsgate) – $2.6 million -35%

There aren’t a ton of high-profile limited releases this weekend, but I do highly recommend Alex Holmes’ doc Maiden, being released by Sony Pictures Classics, as it follows Tracy Edwards and her first-ever all-female crew taking part in a round-the-world sailing race.

Next week, it’s the extended 4thof July weekend and Tom Holland redons the Spider-Suit for Spider-Man: Far from Home and Hereditary director Ari Aster returns with Midsommar. Next week’s column will be up on Tuesday, the day Far from Home opens.