After a slower July at the movies, it’s “DC League of Super-Pets” to the rescue.
The Warner Bros. animated superhero comedy may not be closing out the month with a bang, but it will at least manage to lead domestic box office charts. Over the weekend, “DC League of Super-Pets” is aiming for $25 million to $30 million when it opens in 4,300 North American theaters, which should be enough to dethrone Jordan Peele’s “Nope” as the No. 1 movie in the country. Peele’s UFO thriller, which opened last weekend to $41 million, is expected to decline by roughly 60% with $15 to $16 million in its sophomore outing.
Movies aimed at family audiences have been a mixed bag at the pandemic-era box office, with Universal’s “Minions: The Rise of Gru” scoring a mighty $300 million domestically to date and Paramount’s “Paws of Fury” flailing with $14 million domestically. In terms of brand awareness, “DC League of Super-Pets” falls in between those films; it’s not a sequel to a mega-popular franchise like “Minions” but it’s based on DC lore so it’s not entirely new to audiences. The movie cost $90 million to produce, so it’ll need to resonate with young kids (and comic-book lovers) to become profitable.
Directed by Jared Stern, “DC League of Super-Pets” features the voices of Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart and Kate McKinnon as the four-legged friends of Justice League members. The film has garnered positive reviews, with Variety’s Owen Gleiberman writing “The plot is…a plot. Busy and frantic and diagrammed. But there are just enough wild-card moments along the way, like those involving a baby-voiced kitten who coughs up hairball grenades.”
In far fewer theaters, Focus Features is rolling out “Vengeance,” a true-crime inspired black comedy from “The Office” alum BJ Novak. Since the R-rated movie is playing in fewer than 1,000 locations, it’s aiming for low single digits — around $2 million — in its box office debut.
Novak, who also wrote the screenplay, portrays a New York City-based journalist and podcaster who travels to Texas to investigate the death of a girl he was only casually dating. Boyd Holbrook, Dove Cameron, Issa Rae and Ashton Kutcher round out the cast.
Reviews for “Vengeance” have been mostly complimentary, with critics praising the fish-out-of-water humor. Gleiberman called the film a “terrific directorial debut,” adding “’Vengeance’ is an irresistible original — a heady, jaunty, witty-as-they-come tall tale that’s just grounded enough in the real world to carry you along.”