‘DC League of Super-Pets’ To Lead As Summer Winds Down
The summer continues to wind down faster than usual with the last of the major tentpoles (Thor: Love and Thunder) entering its fourth weekend and just two significant releases left (DC League of Super-Pets this weekend and Bullet Train next weekend). The overall box office risks falling under $100 million for the first time since May, though it may be able to stay above the nine-figure line for another two weeks before likely falling under until October, if not November. This is a disappointing sign after two months where the overall box office was doing a solid job of catching up to the pre-pandemic years.

Leading the way this weekend is Warner Animation’s DC League of Super-Pets, based on the DC property "Legion of Super-Pets." The film features the Justice League (including a John Krasinski voiced Superman and Keanu Reeves voiced Batman), but when Lex Luthor has them kidnapped, it is up to Superman’s dog, Krypto (voiced by Dwayne Johnson), to save the day with a team of super-pets, including a dog named Ace (voiced by Kevin Hart). The toon is directed by Jared Stern who co-wrote the screenplay with John Whittington, and the two of them were previously writers on the earlier DC Comics/Warner Animation synergy project The Lego Batman Movie, which opened to $53 million and grossed $176 million domestic and $312 million worldwide.

Super-Pets, which opens in 4,300 theaters, isn’t as centered on the iconic DC superheroes as Lego Batman was, so it may not benefit from the tie-in in the same way. A good comp is The Bad Guys, which opened to $24 million in April and has a cume of $96.7 million domestically. That wouldn’t be a great gross for the $90 million budgeted Super-Pets, but if it can play like The Bad Guys abroad (the DreamWorks Animation film has a worldwide cume of $246 million) then it will be in good shape. The critics are mostly enjoying it (76% on Rotten Tomatoes), which could translate to decent legs.

On a smaller scale, Focus Features is debuting Vengeance in under 1,000 theaters. B. J. Novak writes, directs, and stars in the mystery-comedy about a New York based journalist and podcaster who goes to Texas and investigates the death of an ex-fling. Boyd Holbrook, Dove Cameron, Issa Rae, and Ashton Kutcher co-star in the Blumhouse produced film. The reviews are strong (86% on Rotten Tomatoes), and Focus’ recent Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris is a decent comp for now. That film opened to $1.95 million on 980 screens two weeks ago, and it has been holding strong since, with a cume of $5.32 million as of Tuesday.

Also going wide is a re-release of the year’s biggest specialty box-office hit Everything Everywhere All at Once, which has an additional eight minutes of outtakes plus a new introduction from the filmmakers. The Michelle Yeoh-starring zany, multiverse-action-comedy from the Daniels has a cume of $68.2 million, already making it A24’s highest grosser, and the re-release should help get it past $70 million. This isn’t A24’s first time doing a re-release, with the distributor having previously put out a 20+ minute longer director’s cut of Midsommar in 676 theaters roughly a month and a half after its initial release and bringing in an additional $1.36 million. A24 is also in the midst of expanding one of the summer’s top specialty box office titles Marcel the Shell with Shoes On, which has a cume of $3.21 million from a maximum of 560 theaters thus far.

As for the holdovers, the most significant is Jordan Peele’s Nope, which should come in second place as it shows how well it can hold despite its mixed audience reception (B CinemaScore). The $44.4 million opening must be applauded, being the best for an original film since Peele’s previous film Us in 2019. However, with Nope’s steep $68 million budget, it would have to hold better than Us (which also had a B CinemaScore, dropped more than 50% in weekends two through four, and had a multiplier of 2.46) to be seen as a success domestically. There is still the international rollout to come in mid-August, and the film may play long with little competition other than Bullet Train over the next month, but Nope’s second weekend numbers should give us some idea of the direction it is headed in.

As for Top Gun: Maverick, it may pass $650 million this weekend and in the week ahead should pass Jurassic World (8th place) and Titanic (7th place) on the all time domestic box-office chart.