As summer 2022 showed all too well, when predicting box office trends and misses, it doesn’t do to count your eggs before they hatch- or hit their assigned slot on the silver screen. There’s a lot riding on the summer 2023 box office, especially after a surprising rash of over-performers sweetened the overall theatrical outlook at the start of the year. Industry expert entertainment lawyer, Brandon Blake, with Blake & Wang P.A, unpacks the July potential.

All Eyes on July

June didn’t bring quite the performance some were looking for. Some of the misses were quite spectacular. The Flash was rated as one of the best releases for June, expected to bring in at least $500M globally. Instead, it managed a lackluster opening and a complete drop-off in the second week. Elemental also proved something of a bust for Pixar, although it is making encouraging signs of a recovery. So some are, admittedly, feeling the pressure of those lofty $4B predictions for the summer season.

However, July still has a robust slate of tentpoles on offer. And while June may not have produced the stellar wins some were hoping for, the summer opened strongly enough with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. Fast X was more of a dud than predicted domestically, but has turned in a very respectable international gross.

While there’s no such thing as a sure thing (The Flash rather proves that), July is also rich with crowd pleasing IPs and favorites well-aligned with the celebratory summer mood. While there’s still an acknowledged lag in the family and older demographics for cinematic attendance, the potential for a pleasant surprise in July is still there.

The July Slate

This weekend, we see Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny bring its formulaic, but crowd-pleasing, adventurous romps to the holiday weekend. This should segue strongly into Mission: Impossible: Dead Reckoning Pt 1 the next weekend, with much of the same fiery blow-’em-up summer energy to offer fans. Oppenheimer and Barbie, both set for July 21st release, are already managing to drum up near-viral energy across social media. And that’s been a fabulous hype man for several productions over the last year. Oddly, but rather amusingly, much of that interest seems to be being drawn in by the rather paradoxical placement of these two releases for the same weekend- but whatever brings people to the seats is good, right? Insidious: The Red Door might not be a true-blue tentpole, but it has strong potential.

Tripping straight to lofty predictions of a summer box office equal to the last pre-pandemic year, 2019, was an understandable optimism. However, it’s set up the idea that this summer fails if it doesn’t reach that target- and it was always a little high as it was. This is a summer rich in potential hits and a wealth of genres to entice moviegoers with. While there’s always naysayers and fretters, this summer still has a lot of traction to go- and who knows, a pleasant surprise or two could be waiting in the wings.

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