‘Spy’ and ‘Insidious: Chapter 3’ About to Ignite Heat Wave at Box Office

Summer hits high gear with would-be blockbusters scheduled for the next seven weeks

Melissa McCarthy’s “Spy” and the Jason Blum-produced horror movie “Insidious: Chapter 3” open Friday, kicking off what could well be one of the biggest summer runs in box-office history.

Next weekend it’s “Jurassic World,” which is tracking to open to more than $100 million for Universal. The weekend after that Disney unveils “Inside Out,” the first Pixar movie in two years. “Ted 2” arrives the following weekend before “Terminator: Genisys” takes on “Magic Mike XXL” over the July 4 holiday.

Then, the animated “Minions” should be a monster, and in the following weeks come Marvel’s “Ant-Man” and the Amy Schumer comedy “Trainwreck,” followed by Adam Sandler‘s “Pixels” and the “Vacation” remake. Tom Cruise then closes out July with “Mission Impossible 5: Rogue Nation.”

That’s a lot of firepower — without even addressing August — and this could well wind up as the hottest summer ever at the box office, ahead of 2013 which hit $4.75 billion with a big boost from “The Avengers.” This summer is about 10 percent behind where that record year is as of Tuesday.

But before we get too far ahead of ourselves, let’s get back to this weekend.

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s earthquake epic “San Andreas” will drop from the top spot according to analysts, with “Spy” winning the weekend with north of $35 million for Fox and Chernin Entertainment. “Insidious: Chapter 3” will follow in the $25 million-$30 million range, about where “San Andreas” will land if it can keep half of its first-week audience.

Pre-release projections had Warner Bros.’ big-screen version of the hit HBO TV series “Entourage,” which opened Wednesday, coming in at around $15 million for five days. But its strong $2 million haul from Tuesday night early shows and the fact that is leading advance sales at Fandango and Movietickets.com has some reconsidering.

“Spy” will be the third comedy teaming of McCarthy and director Paul Feig, and the first two — “Bridesmaids” and 2013’s “The Heat” — were game-changing hits, clearly establishing that women would turn out in droves for the right R-rated and raunchy comedies.

“This could be the biggest of  the three,” said Chris Aronson, Fox’s distribution chief. That’s saying something because “Bridesmaids” grossed $290 million and “The Heat” took in $230 million globally, but anything in that range will mean the $85 million “Spy” is major financial winner.

The reviews of the tale of a mousy CIA clerk thrust into agent action are terrific and it’s at 95 percent positive on Rotten Tomatoes. Jude Law co-stars along with Jason Statham, typically an action movie tough guy, who has drawn raves in a breakout supporting role.

“Spy” will be in 3,650 theaters.

insidious 3 groupThe PG-13 horror tale “Insidious: Chapter 3” will be the first release for Focus Features’ re-launched Gramercy Pictures label.

Leigh Whannell wrote and directed this installment after writing the first two films, which were directed by his pal James Wan, who is producing with Oren Peli and Blum. Dermot Mulroney and Stefanie Scott star.

“Chapter 3” is expected to follow the now-familiar Blumhouse Productions formula: scare the heck out of mostly young female and significantly Hispanic audiences and make four or five times your micro-budget in your first weekend.

The first “Insidious” opened to $13.2 million in 2011, the second wowed with $40.2 million in September of 2013, so projections put this one roughly in the middle.

It will be in more than 3,000 theaters.