If this spring has taught us anything, it’s that families still want to go to the movies. Paramount’s live-action/CG combo “Sonic the Hedgehog 2” has already earned $146 million — the amount of money the first “Sonic” made in 2020 before theaters shut down. The sequel still has many, many laps to run before its time in theaters is over.
And this past weekend, DreamWorks “The Bad Guys” scored a $24 million first-place open. That’s more than the five previous DreamWorks movie opened to — 2019’s “Abominable” ($20.8M) and pandemic entries “Trolls: World Tour” (a Drive-Ins only theatrical release), “The Croods: A New Age” ($9.7M), “Spirit Untamed” ($6.1M) and “The Boss Baby: Family Business” ($16M).
“Sonic 2” and “The Bad Guys” will keep families with kids too young to see “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” happy through early May. But there’s once again going to be a bit of a hole that will *eventually* be filled. Even though “Downton Abbey: A New Era” (out May 20) is rated PG, next to no one under the age of 12 is going to see it.
Memorial Day Weekend begins a stretch of FIVE major animated film releases in a two month & two day period this summer. On May 27th, 20th Century Studios unveils the long-awaited “The Bob’s Burgers Movie”. Kids who love the FOX series will definitely go, but like 2007’s “The Simpsons Movie”, “Bob’s” is rated PG-13. So there will be some parents and kids who will skip this one, but I certainly think “Bob’s” will do well, especially opening weekend… though not to “Top Gun: Maverick” levels.
The next entirely family-friendly option is “Lightyear” on June 17th. Disney/Pixar’s “Toy Story” prequel (it’s the movie Andy watched when he was a kid that made him fall in love with the Buzz Lightyear character) is a sci-fi action/adventure comedy with bundles of emotion. I’ve already screened 30 minutes of footage and can’t wait for the rest. “Lightyear” is Pixar’s first theatrical release since “Onward” (which was in cinemas for close to two weeks in early 2020), and it’s going to be an absolute blockbuster.
Just two weeks later, on July 1st, is the just as anticipated prequel sequel “Minions: The Rise of Gru”. It picks-up where 2015’s “Minions” leaves off and sees a young Gru and his new yellow pals attempt to save the day. Illumination’s latest looks like pure, wacky fun, and following a two-year delay, it’s poised to pack theaters over 4th of July weekend.
Two weeks later… on July 15th… is “Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank”. Paramount resurrected this animal action comedy (originally titled “Blazing Samurai”) from movie limbo hell. The first trailer for this that was shown in front of a “Sonic 2” screening I attended was well-received by the elementary school age crowd. Expect lots of marketing on Nickelodeon.
And only two weeks AFTER THAT comes “DC League of Super-Pets”: Dwayne Johnson & Kevin Hart’s superhero pets romp from Warner Bros. was originally set to open on May 20th, but WB pushed it and The Rock’s “Black Adam” back in a recent, major schedule adjustment. A July 29th date means “Super-Pets” could have a steady five or six weeks on the charts — all the way through Labor Day.