After a June marked by several underperforming sequels, Sony/Marvel Studios’ “Spider-Man: Far From Home” will kick off a fiscal quarter loaded with some of the most anticipated blockbusters of the year — and a July that is crucial for Sony.
Two years ago, Sony had one of its best box office months in recent years with “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” the product of a deal between the studio and Disney to add Peter Parker to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Thus Sony was able to enjoy a slice of Marvel-mania to the tune of an $880 million global run for “Homecoming,” which also led to two more hit, non-MCU Spidey films in 2018 with “Venom” and the Oscar-winning “Into the Spider-Verse.”
On top of that, Sony had another modest but fruitful hit a few weeks after Homecoming’s release: “Baby Driver,” an original film from Edgar Wright that grossed $226.9 million against a $34 million budget. In a similar way, Sony will couple “Far From Home” on their July slate with another original film from an even bigger director: Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon A Time In Hollywood,” which received acclaim at its Cannes premiere.
But unlike “Homecoming” and “Baby Driver,” Sony’s pair of big 2019 hopefuls are going to face a film that’s about as stiff competition as a blockbuster can get: Disney’s remake of “The Lion King,” which is expected to open to at least $150 million on July 21. Sony — and movie theaters for that matter — are booking on the hopes that all three films can not only coexist, but thrive alongside each other, and analysts tell TheWrap there’s reason to believe that will be the case.
“I expect ‘Spider-Man’ will make a lot of money quickly, but ‘Lion King’ is one of the big films of the summer,” said comScore’s Paul Dergarabedian. “There might be a little bit of a peel off for ‘Far From Home’ because ‘Lion King’ is the ultimate four-quadrant film, but the MCU brand is riding higher than ever after ‘Avengers’ and I don’t think that’s stopping anytime soon.”
Indeed, “Far From Home” has one big advantage it will try to benefit from both before and after Simba comes back to theaters: being the follow-up to one of the biggest blockbusters ever made. With Marvel fans still talking about Iron Man’s emotional departure from the MCU, “Far From Home” is promising a lighter palate cleanser after the dramatic, death-filled “Avengers,” sporting a 92% score on Rotten Tomatoes.
“That constant tone shift is what’s allowed Marvel to stay fresh,” said Boxoffice analyst Shawn Robbins. “Sort of like how ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’ had a lighter tone after the heaviness of ‘Civil War,’ I think the light comedy of ‘Spider-Man’ is going to be welcomed by fans after ‘Endgame’ while ‘Lion King’ and ‘Once Upon A Time In Hollywood’ will offer something different in the later half of the month. We’re very bullish on July.”
“Spider-Man: Far From Home” is projected for a $120-150 million opening over its first six days of release. The film will open on Tuesday ahead of the July 4 weekend, and while mid-week numbers may be somewhat muted due to many potential moviegoers traveling for the holiday, Sony expects that early moviegoers will help build buzz heading into the weekend.
Overseas, the film will open in all major territories except Italy after earning $111 million from China, Japan and Hong Kong this past weekend. Globally, analysts project a total as high as $500 million by the end of the coming weekend.
“Spider-Man: Far From Home” follows Peter Parker (Tom Holland) as he comes to terms with the loss of Tony Stark. Unfortunately, his attempts to pick up his spirits with a European vacation with his friends are cut short by a visit from Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), who needs Spider-Man to save the day now that the Avengers are no more.
“Homecoming” director Jon Watts returns with stars Zendaya, Jon Favreau, Jacob Batalon and Marisa Tomei, with Jake Gyllenhaal joining the cast as the villainous Mysterio.
Also releasing on Wednesday is A24’s “Midsommar,” Ari Aster’s follow-up to last year’s punishing horror hit “Hereditary.” Last year, “Hereditary” came out of nowhere and performed surprisingly well with a $13.5 million opening and a $44 million domestic run despite a blockbuster-packed June release date. While “Midsommar” is expected to not have as strong an opening — $10 million projection over five days — A24 will be banking on a strong turnout from hardcore horror buffs looking for a challenging film.
“Midsommar” follows Dani and Christian (Florence Pugh and Jack Reynor), a young American couple whose relationship is on the verge of dying. After Dani suffers a terrible personal tragedy, Christian takes her with his two friends (William Jackson Harper and Will Poulter) on a trip to Sweden to see a special festival held only every 90 years. But the trip goes sour as Dani soon realizes that the cult holding the festival has some very gory traditions. The film has an 85% score on Rotten Tomatoes.