summer movie season

Summer movie season is the common phrase used to describe the time of year when a lot of big blockbusters are released.  Up until about 2014 (when Captain America: Winter Soldier opened on the 1st weekend of April), summer movie season always began in May. Since the pace of franchise film making has sped up, with more money to be won/lost, studios have moved back the summer movie season to begin in April with films such as  Furious 7 and The Jungle Book coming out before the 1st weekend of May. This year seems to be the first year where the summer movie season has crept into March with huge releases such as Logan and Beauty and The Beast being released next month. This article will go through each weekend of March, who the winners may be and who could lose out due to the huge amount of competition. All the predicted openings in this article are for the US domestic openings, and are what I predict so aren’t going to be 100% accurate, but I have tried to get as much information as I possibly can so my predictions aren’t completely incorrect.


1st weekend of March– 3rd-5th March

Releases– Before I fall, Logan (IMAX release),The Shack
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Logan is easily going to dominate the first weekend of March. Currently sitting with a very nice score of 96% on Rotten Tomatoes and some critics drawing parallels to The Dark Knight, Logan is going to be the first huge hit of  the month. Box office predictions currently predict that Logan will open between $55-$60 million which will make it one of the lowest openings in the X-Men franchise (higher than The Wolverine, and X-Men, but in a similar region to X-Men:First Class and X-Men: Apocalypse). However I think it’s going to open north of $70 million, and I won’t be surprised if it opens larger than that. It’s easily going to dominate the first weekend due to weak competition and it has an IMAX release which means it could have a boost as IMAX is a premium format which has been known to propel movies to huge opening weekends (e.g. Doctor Strange). However I’m not sure if it’ll be one of the highest grossing movies of the month as there are a lot of blockbusters coming out in this month and a lot of IMAX releases. I hope it has staying power and has a nice gross because it’ll be one hell of a win for a franchise which is trying something very new and different, and I like the X-Men movies so as a fan I want to see this movie do well.


2nd weekend– 10th-12th Match
Release- Kong Skull Island (IMAX release)

The 2nd weekend of march sees another IMAX release. This time it’s Kong Skull Island. I can see this movie doing pretty well as the buzz at the moment is pretty positive and it’s a monster movie staring King Kong. Peter Jackson’s King Kong opened with $50 million in 2005, and Godzilla (a very similar movie) opened with $93 million in 2014. I think a conservative prediction for this movie’s opening weekend would be about $70 million, but don’t be surprised if this movie opens nearer $100 million because it’s a monster movie and there is quite a lot of star power in this movie. Also it benefits from a 3D IMAX release so there’s going to be added premiums on a percentage of the tickets for this movie so a higher box office yield.

However Logan may hold very well (less than a 30% drop could be dangerous for Kong Skull Island especially if the opening weekend for Kong is predicted around $50 million) which could cannibalize Kong’s audience slightly and could mean a lower gross for Kong Skull Island than Warner Brothers hoped for. However I think this is unlikely to happen, and I think Kong Skull Island has a chance to be the 1st $100 million opening of 2017 (it’s a small chance but looking at Godzilla’s opening weekend 3 years ago, it’s not impossible).
3rd weekend– 17th-19th March
ReleasesBeauty and The Beast (IMAX release), The Belko Experiment, Trainspotting 2

Beauty and The Beast is going to dominate the 3rd weekend of March. With sites like Fandango saying that Beauty and The Beast’s advanced ticket sales are rivaling those of Superhero movies, Beauty and The Beast is easily looking at an opening weekend of at least $120 million. It’s main target demographic (women) are the sort of demographic which can lead a movie to open big (e.g. Fifty Shades of Grey)  as they tend to go to ‘event’ films as part of a night out. Also it’s a live action fairytale and Disney has been knocking those out of the park (The Jungle Book opened over $100 million last year, and has been Disney’s most successful live action fairytale to date). Also this is a beloved animated movie so I think there’s going to be a huge audience opening weekend. It also helps that it has a 3D IMAX release.

I think Kong Skull Island is likely to hover around 2nd place but could see a medium/large drop (50%-70%) depending on word of mouth and reviews. However I think The Belko Experiment has a good chance of being a counter programming to Beauty and The Beast and if it’s received well, I can see it opening anywhere between $20-$30 million. This might cause a tight race between Kong and Belko for the 2nd place spot depending on Kong’s drop/opening and Belko’s opening. This might be the more interesting box office news of the weekend since Beauty and The Beast will dominate and open above $100 million.

I think this weekend’s main loser is going to be Trainspotting 2 (you can read my review here). Since the first Trainspotting only grossed $16 million total in the US, I can’t see the sequel being much of a hit in the states especially in this crowded weekend.  I think it would have been a better strategy for TriStar to have released Trainspotting 2 maybe day in date worldwide (it was released in the UK on the 27th of January) , or have released it in February. I think it would have done better  and had more attention before March (especially as there have only been 3 unique films at number one this year so far (Lego Batman, Split (3 weeks at number one), and Hidden Figures (also 3 weeks at number one)).


4th weekend– 24th-27th March
Releases– C.H.I.P.s, Life, Power Rangers

The fourth weekend of March may be the only weekend of March to have a previous number one be top of the box office. I think Beauty and The Beast will stay at number one because even if it underperformed (opened about $100 million) and had a large drop of around 60%, I think the new entrants are not strong enough to beat Beauty and The Beast out of number one. Life hasn’t been getting very good buzz and the trailers have made it seem a little bit like an Alien rip off. I think that Life is going to be another failure for Sony as it looks strange and looks like it’s going to be mediocre at best (at worst, it’s going to be a flaming pile of dog’s mess). At least this time no-ones getting paid $20 million upfront. I’m expecting Life to open about $20-$30 million. However if it gets well reviewed and the trailers have been misleading (it can happen. The 1st example I can think of is Doctor Strange. That was really poorly advertised but ended up being incredible.), Life might open around $40 million.

Power Rangers is another movie that could go the same way as Life does. The trailers for Power Rangers has been better, in my opinion, than the ones for Life but Life has got a better cast with the likes of Jake Gyllenhaal, Ryan Reynolds, and Rebecca Ferguson but a great cast doesn’t mean a great movie (e.g. Girl on the Train. It had an amazing cast with Emily Blunt, Rebecca Ferguson, Luke Evans and Haley Bennett, but it was an awful movie which was badly written with horrible characters). I think Power Rangers could be a fun movie and if it’s received well could open around $30-$40 million. However I’m getting serious Jem and the Holograms vibes off of this movie and I can see it crashing and burning if critics really go after it harshly. It could flop and barely open around $5 million. However I’ve not seen too much advertising for Power Rangers so I think if it’s mediocre it’s going to open in the mid-teens/low twenties.

C.H.I.P.s is the last film that opens this weekend and since it’s the first real summer comedy, I can see it doing ok. This month has been full of blockbusters, so C.H.I.P.s might end up as a bit of a pallet cleanser and if it gets good word of mouth, I can see it opening in th $20 million range. However I’ve not seen much buzz about this movie so I’m expecting it to open in the mid-teens. I don’t think it’ll make much of a dent in the March box office overall though.
5th weekend– 31st March- 2nd April
Releases– Boss Baby, Ghost in the Shell (IMAX release), The Zookeepers Wife

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This weekend is probably the hardest weekend in March to predict. Beauty and The Beast will be in its third weekend and could still be a serious contender for number one (depending on its weekend to weekend drops and the opening’s of other movies).

However Ghost in the Shell could knock Beauty and the Beast off of the top spot. Ghost in the Shell is Johansson’s real test to see how much of a box office draw she is. After Lucy opened with $43.9 million in 2014, Ghost in the Shell has to open in a similar region (if not higher) to see how large Scarlett Johansson’s audience is. Also if this does well, Johansson may get the call to do a Black Widow movie(but don’t hold your breath. Kevin Feige doesn’t seem very keen on a Black Widow solo film, and I think Johansson is a big enough star to get another huge franchise). However Ghost in the Shell has been a bit controversial since The Major (Scarlett Johanson’s character) is supposed to be Asian and people think that an Asian talent like Rila Fukushima (Yukio in The Wolverine) would have been better suited to the role. White washing has destroyed a few films already (e.g. Silence and Exodus: Gods and Kings) and Ghost in the Shell may be another victim. However I think it looks cool and it’s receiving an IMAX 3D release, and I think it looks like a very visually cool movie which may entice more people into paying extra for an IMAX 3D ticket. Also I wouldn’t bet against Scarlett Johansson especially since she’s on a bit of a roll now.

Also Boss Baby is probably going to do quite well. It’s the only animated film to be released in March and is likely to bring in a lot of families who can lead animated films to big numbers (e.g. Finding Dory, and Minions). However Boss Baby isn’t part of a franchise and is a new property so I’d expect it to open with similar numbers to Storks (which opened around $21 million in September). Boss Baby does look quite funny and seems to have a similar feel to Storks, so I think Fox would be happy with a similar opening.


Overall March is full of huge releases. There is four IMAX releases which could mean a lot of money for the studios. In addition to the blockbusters, you have a few smaller films that could do very well if the movies are received well (e.g. The Belko Expriment, Life and Power Rangers). However I think the main winners of this month are going to be Logan, Beauty and The Beast, and Kong Skull Island. I think Ghost in the Shell and Boss baby could also be big hits too, but it’s slightly uncertain at the moment. I think out of all the movies in March,only Beauty and The Beast has a chance at being a $1 billion club member as I think it’ll do impressively well. However,if I’m being optimistic, I think there are at least three movies that could open with $100 million. Being a $1 billion club member is very impressive, but opening at $100 million is a goal only 8 movies managed last year.

This is the first year where March has been as packed as a summer month usually is, and I don’t know if that’s a good thing or not. It’s good for cinephiles ,like me, who are looking for any excuse to go to the cinema as we have more choice and we can get a hell of a lot more excited about the amount of films coming out. However the average cinema goer isn’t like me. The average cinema goer goes maybe once a month as it can be expensive to go to the cinema and with so many other options (like Netflix), average people are turning away from the cinema.Having so many huge releases in March may lead to a really slow rest of the summer as people could be spent out and it could cause a lot of problems for the studios who have so many movies coming out with ginormous budgets of $150 million or more. With the release schedule being so crowded, not all th movies are going to be hits. This might be the summer where the studios will have some huge losses. However I might just be a little bit of a pessimist,and this could be a huge box office win for everyone.We could have a record number of $100 million openings (the record is 8 (set in 2016)) and we could have a record number of billion dollar club members (the record is 5 which was set in 2015).  All I know for certain at the moment is that summer seems to be starting earlier and earlier each year, and this march is packed full of movies which in a normal year would have found themselves sometime in May/June. I think 2017 is going to be a huge indicator as to how many blockbusters the box office can support in a year.

Chelsea Baines covers Entertainment for MFST, you can follow her on Twitter @ChelseaBaines BainesEntertainmentMoviesRecent PostsBeauty and the Beast,Boss Baby,box-office,Ghost in the Shell,Kong Skull Island,Life,logan,March 2017,power rangers,summer movie season,T2 Trainspotting,The Belko ExperimentSummer movie season is the common phrase used to describe the time of year when a lot of big blockbusters are released.  Up until about 2014 (when Captain America: Winter Soldier opened on the 1st weekend of April), summer movie season always began in May. Since the pace of franchise film making...