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New in Theaters July 01: The BFG, The Legend of Tarzan, Purge: Election Year

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By Chris Kavan - 06/30/16 at 06:43 AM CT

It may be telling that the biggest fireworks over the July 4th box office aren't going to come from the newcomers, but rather Finding Dory. I suspect the animated sequel is going to continue to put up impressive numbers while director Steven Spielberg and the second Tarzan film of the year are looking at an uphill battle to win over audiences. Granted, there is also a timely horror movie coming out, but I suspect that it will also attract a smaller audience than the previous films. All in all, it's looking like a glum box office despite the extra days and I have a feeling there will be much wringing of hands unless the foreign box office shows more promise.

THE BFG For anyone who has played Doom or any first-person shooter over the last decade, you really know what BFG stands for - but, in the case of Steven Spielberg's latest film, it stands for Big Friendly Giant. This giant (voiced by recent Academy Award-winner Mark Rylance) is different than his brethren - you see, he doesn't eat human children. That's good for Sophie (Ruby Barnhill) who just so happens to run into the kind-hearted giant one day. But there are other giants who are not so nice - and they come after Sophie who has no choice but to take the BFG to London and convince the queen herself (Penelope Wilton) to cast down the bad giants once and for all. The rest of the cast includes Jemaine Clement (as the main bad giant with the awesome name of Fleshlumpeater) along with Rebecca Hall, Rafe Spall and Bill Hader. Despite the family-friendly PG rating, this seems kind of dark for a kids or family movie. And despite Speilberg being attached I think, much like War Horse, it going to go by fairly unnoticed. Families already have Finding Dory and I don't think an army of giants are going to bring the animated titan down. This will do fair numbers, but not enough to justify its reported $140 million budget. This is another case of a movie that it going to have to be bailed out by good overseas numbers to break even. I still have faith in Spielberg (Ready Player One is one of my most anticipated films of the next few years), but I don't think this is going to be one of his better results.

THE LEGEND OF TARZAN With The Jungle Book having such a great year, you would think a Tarzan story would be just as successful. But this jungle has proven to be much more elusive as the 2013 animated version with Kellan Luntz came and went with nary a peep. This new version takes place well after Tarzan has left the jungle - but he returns to his roots when a mining corporation threatens to destroy his former home and the animals who call it home. Alexander Skarsgård plays the ape man turned sophisticated socialite while the beautiful Margot Robbie plays Jane. Christoph Waltz, Samuel L. Jackson and Djimon Hounsou form the remainder of the more high profile cast, though there is a quite a large supporting cast. This Tarzan is taking the more action-oriented and gritty reboot route and, as such, I doubt it will stand out as much as it wants. This is another film that is likely to be lost in the crowd and will open to middling numbers. Once again, the studio better hope that foreign markets are more open or this is likely to go down as a costly endeavor.

THE PURGE: ELECTION YEAR The Purge has proven to be an interesting franchise. The first film was self-contained in a single household, for the most part, while the sequel, Anarachy took to the streets. Now, in an election year, we get Election Year in the alternate Purge universe. And while the movie could have made a statement about the current political climate, instead it looks like it goes the easy route: gory, bloody deaths without much character development or relevant plot. It's too bad - Frank Grillo is back with Elizabeth Mitchell and Mykelti Williams on board and Edwin Hodge also reprising his role. I'm sure horror fans will be sated but I doubt this will bring in much of a crowd beside those die-hard fans. This is definitely a streaming choice for me at best, as Anarchy was OK but not spectacular. If you want good horror, I recommend The Conjuring 2, if you want gore, the Purge will do fine.

There are rumblings this is going to be a disappointing holiday frame and I don't see anything that will stand out and be able to topple the giant that is Finding Dory. If I survive the weekend, I'll do my best to make sure to update you on Sunday with the final results


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