This weekend’s holiday box-office will see a showdown between two Disney films—one featuring animated fish and another with a computer-generated giant. But Tarzan will try to swing in and spoil everything, and Independence Day: Resurgence hopes for a decent follow-up to its disappointing opening weekend.
Walt Disney’s Finding Dory heads into 4th of July weekend on a two-week winning streak, having set the record for the largest-ever opening weekend for an animated film ($136 million). It grossed $400 million worldwide in just a few weeks in theaters.
That total would seem to be easily beatable by a strong new contender—the highest grossing 4th of July new release ever was 2011’s Transformers: Dark of the Moon, with $97.8 million—but, the crop of new releases for Independence Day weekend is anything but strong.
Poor buzz for Spielberg’s The BFG
Disney’s The BFG, the aforementioned computer-animated film, is helmed by iconic director and former box-office champ Steven Spielberg, and it is based on the classic children’s tale of the same name by Roald Dahl. However, The BFG has failed to generate much online buzz online and its reviews, while decent, are nowhere near as positive as Finding Dory‘s.
The Legend of Tarzan
The other notable new releases hitting theaters in time for the 4th of July include The Legend of Tarzan, from Time Warner’s Warner Bros., which boasts star power with Alexander Skarsgård, Margot Robbie, and Christoph Waltz playing the lead roles. However, like The BFG, Tarzan is looking like a disappointment based on early tracking, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The Purge: Election Year is also out this weekend, but it is the third in a horror film series that has so far failed to produce a movie that opened to more than $34 million in a weekend.
The Independence Day sequel
Meanwhile, 20th Century Fox’s Independence Day sequel is unlikely to see much of a resurgence in its second weekend in theaters after pulling in only $41 million in its domestic debut—an embarrassingly small total that didn’t even top the 1996 original’s opening weekend, even before adjusting for ticket-price inflation.
In other words, a weak slate of new releases and continuing struggles for rival holdovers like Independence Day: Resurgence, could point toward a third week with Finding Dory as the domestic box office champion.
That would be good news for Disney (minus the possible for disappointment over The BFG), but potentially bad news for a movie industry that has struggled to churn out 4th of July blockbusters in recent years.
While it is difficult to compare year-to-year numbers for the holiday weekend, due to the fact that the 4th falls on a different day of the week every year, the past two summers were two of the lowest-grossing Independence Day weekend’s at the box office in a decade, despite the fact that the 4th of July often offers one of the industry’s highest-grossing weekends of the year. If this weekend’s crop of new big-budget films fails to beat out an animated movie in its third week, Hollywood could have another disappointing Independence Day.