The July box office set a new high, but August seems to be a buzzsaw

The July box office set a new high, but August seems to be a buzzsaw ...

The majority of the domestic grossing in July 2022 came from two $300 million+ grossing films, with Minions: The Rise of Gru (Universal) outweighing Thor: Love and Thunder (Disney) as the biggest film.

Thor will reach a decent but unsensational $340 million domestic, compared to $543 million foreign (#2 summer domestic gross), with Minions taking third.

Top Gun was boosted by Maverick, who raised $112 million to already $541 million. The month also demonstrated some potential for original films with Jordan Pooles Nope (Universal) and Where the Crawdads Sing (Sony) joining Elvis as lesser-grossing but likely profitable non-franchise entries.

The total gross for the first seven months of 2019 increased to 69 percent, its highest level to date. According to distributor sources, the average ticket price has increased by about 20 percent in three years.

The months performances are worthwhile, but they also reinforce the months impending disappointment of August. Its not often a strong month, almost always down by a third, but the total is more likely to be around $550 million on those terms.

  • Bullet Train (Sony), opening this week, has the only shot at $100 million for the month its $4.6 million Thursday gross is a sign that it could break out and lift August

Ed Araquel/Universal Pictures

  • Surprises among other theater-exclusive wide releases. Between Easter Sunday(Universal), Fall (Lionsgate), Beast (Universal), The Invitation (Sony) and Three Thousand Years of Longing (MGM/Amazon), they might total $75 million or less for the month. Also in play are Bleecker Streets Sundance-premiered Summertime, with A24 rolling out horror comedy Bodies Bodies Bodies after a limited opening this week. Theres also an independent title that could challenge the studio titles with Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero (Crunchyroll), a Japanese martial arts animated film.
  • Strong holdovers. A normal holdover gross from July titles would hit $250 million. The problem with getting much higher is that several of the films includingThor, Nope, and Elvis will hit home viewing soon.

The optics of a dismal August arent that good, but anything above $500 million should be viewed as good news. Despite the fact that studios arent releasing the kinds of films that normally boost audience interest, this month's Free Guy was a strong one. Last year, the Meg, and Crazy Rich Asians all grossed $100 million or more during the month.

Even in a stellar month, theatergoing remains far from normal, but it's also harmed by reduced release dates. Some of this is due to Covid-era production difficulties; there's also a downward trend in the volume of theatrical releases, which remains to be seen.

The industry is hoping that the rewards of this summer will pay out later.