Are ‘Transformers,’ ‘Tammy’ Enough to Set Off July 4th Fireworks at Box Office?

tammy-melissa-mccarthy

Horror movie “Deliver Us From Evil” and family film “Earth to Echo” also debut early on holiday that lacks the typical tentpole opener

With “Transformers: Age of Extinction” setting off the fireworks early this year, this July 4 weekend won’t provide the box-office boom it typically does.

The Melissa McCarthy comedy “Tammy,” the horror film “Deliver Us From Evil” and the family film “Earth to Echo” all open Wednesday. “Tammy” is looking at north of $40 million over the five days, “Deliver Us From Evil” is projected to land in the $20 million range and “Earth to Echo” will likely finish in the mid-teen millions.

But all signs point to Michael Bay‘s morphing robots epic dominating. If it can keep half of its $100 million debut weekend and perform anywhere near as well on Wednesday and Thursday as it did on Monday — with a very strong $10.5 million — it will top $65 million for the weekend.

Also read: Even With ‘Transformers,’ Summer Box Office Is Down Nearly 13 Percent

This is the first year in memory without a tentpole-type opener over the holiday and the weekend won’t come near the $230 million overall total of last year, when “Despicable Me 2″ led the way with $82 million. “Maleficent” was originally set for this weekend but Disney thought April looked better and moved it. With the Angelina Jolie action fantasy approaching $600 million worldwide, that decision looks pretty good right now.

The fact that the holiday falls on a Friday — when most people will be watching fireworks rather than going to the movies — is going to hurt, too.

“It is a little strange not have a really big title opening, but this is very smart programming on the part of Paramount,” BoxOffice.com vice president and senior analyst Phil Contrino told TheWrap. “They got the best of both worlds with the huge opening and what should be a big second week, all ahead of ‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes,’ which opens next week and is looking strong.”

Also watch: Melissa McCarthy on Challenges of Making Susan Sarandon Dumpy for ‘Tammy’ (Video)

“Tammy” looks like a clever counter-play against “Transformers” by Warners Bros. The R-rated comedy, written and directed by McCarthy’s husband Ben Falcone, is tracking very strongly with women and has a good shot at doubling its $20 million production budget in its first weekend.

The critics are not impressed (38 percent positive on Rotten Tomatoes) but that may not matter, at least in the first weekend. McCarthy, who has had hits with “The Heat,” “Identity Thief” and “Bridesmaids” in the past three years, is a box-office force. Her popular CBS sitcom “Mike and Molly” doesn’t hurt either.

Susan Sarandon plays the grandmother who accompanies McCarthy’s character on a road trip in “Tammy,” which also co-stars Kathy Bates, Dan Aykroyd, Mark Duplass, Toni Collette and Allison Janney.

The film’s social media profile is mixed. On Facebook it’s ahead of “The Other Woman,” the Fox comedy that opened at No. 1 with $24 million in April, but it trails it on Twitter.

It will be in a healthy 3,350-plus theaters, and that will help.

Also read: 5 Takeaways and 5 Questions From the Sputtering Summer Box Office

Sony Screen Gems’ R-rated “Deliver Us From Evil” should benefit from being the summer’s first horror movie, and the first scream-fest since early March.

Eric Bana (“Star Trek”) and Edgar Ramirez (“The Bourne Ultimatum”) star in the tale of a New York cop pitted against supernatural forces. Olivia Munn and Joel McHale co-star in the thriller, which is directed by Scott Derrickson from a screenplay he wrote with Paul Harris Boardman.

It will be in 3,049 theaters.

Also read: Box Office Shocker: Only 20 Percent of All Movie Tickets Are Purchased Online

“Earth to Echo” is hoping to capitalize on the absence of much family fare in the market.

At $13 million, producer Andrew Panay’s “E.T.”-esque tale of a group of youngsters encountering a very cute alien was a bargain pickup for distributor Relativity Media.

Dave Green makes his directorial debut on “Earth to Echo,” which stars Teo Halm, Brian Bradley, Reese Ahartwig and Ella Linnea Wahlestedt.

Ryan Kavanaugh and Tucker Tooley produced, and the PG-rated film will be in 3,230 theaters.

Lionsgate is expanding “America,” Dinesh d’Souza’s followup to his hit 2012 documentary “2016: Obama’s America,” into roughly 1,000 theaters. His first film brought in an impressive $33 million domestically, but that one came in an election year.

The Weinstein Company is taking “Begin Again,” the romantic comedy starring Keira Knightley, Mark Ruffalo and Adam Levine, into 175 theaters in the top 45 domestic markets.