Do you think Three-Six Mafia made one of their Oscars into a Bong? And do you think they’re the first? Also, if a hangover is the Irish flu, could you say that a writer like F. Scott Fitzgerald died of Irish Swine Flu?
NOT WITH A BANG BUT A WHIMPER: DELLAMORTE’S SUMMER MOVIE GUESSIN’S
I’ll always remember Premiere’s 1991 summer movie preview. They thought that Dying Young was going to be the Love Story of the 90’s. Turns out they were wrong. Way wrong. And so will I be in the next couple of paragraphs. You can’t predict what works and what won’t without having seen a film, but also the marketing, and the weather and all sorts of X factors that come into play when you’re calling the weather three months out (The Summer: should be warm). Here is my best guess of how the numbers will shake out:
But first, let me say this. This is a strike summer. Not all films (like Star Trek) were shot during the strike, but most were greenlit in preparation for it. So this summer will be loaded for bare with bad movies, movies that probably shouldn’t have been greenlit, films that needed an uncredited polish by Robert Towne or Marshall Brickman. Prepare for deep suckage, and it won’t all be Twentieth Century Fox’s fault. But, as Slick Rick would say here were go:
1) Transformers 2 (6/24): If any film has the possibility to do Dark Knight numbers, it’s this one. It won’t, but people loved the first one, and it looks like Michael Bay brought the crazy. Who doesn’t want Michael Bay-crazy? It’s Michael Bay’s world and we’re one step away from being sent flying from a perfectly lit explosion. Never mind that what will be watched is a hopped up toy commercial, and will have less nutritional value than a box of C3PO’s, there is no denying this juggernaut of action, and it’s rightful place as the summer movie to beat. ALL IN: $330 Million (variable +/- $60 Million)
2) Harry Potter 6 (7/15): Will Potter fever go away? No, and even though this film could be called troubled because of early test screening reports, if they film the book, they’ve got a movie. And chances are they filmed the book. If the franchise got off to a profitable but rocky start, it founds its groove, and though the fifth film was slight in the scheme of things, shit starts really hitting the fan in this book. If the third act death scene is well staged, people may return both to the books and to the theaters. ALL IN: $280 Million (variable +/- $60 Million)
3) Terminator 4 (5/21): I have doubts about this picture, but I think cyborgs kicking ass will bring them in, and the Memorial Day weekend slot will do nothing but give people a PG-13 excuse to watch machines and humans do a little bit of battlin’. If Warner Brothers can sell the shit out of this during playoffs, I think it’s going to have three weeks of solid asskicking, which should get it way over $200 Million, though if audiences don’t respond, it’ll have an opening weekend and fall 70%, which it will anyway, but a rougher 70%. ALL IN: $250 Million (variable +/- $100 Million)
4) Ice Age 3 (7/1): With a summer birth, Ice Age is taking a chance, and I don’t know if they’ve unleashed strong game as of yet, but this should play until the end of summer with its early July release date. Franchising is the name of the game, and the other films in this series have been rather popular. This should be the first to break $200 ALL IN: $240 Million (variable +/- $60 Million)
5) Night at the Museum 2 (5/22): The last one played a long time, and did $250 Million. Likely this won’t be as cash-rich, but the numbers should be excellent for it, and it played last time, so it should play again. Ben Stiller, your ass used to be so beautiful. What happened to you, man? Do you do this to get your next Tropic Thunder made? If so, slightly forgiven. ALL IN: $230 Million (variable +/- $60 Million)
6) Up (5/29): Russ Meyer has staged a posthumous comeback! Pixar does $200, though not too much more than that these days. ALL IN: $210 Million (variable +/- $30 Million)
7) X-Men 4 (5/1): Leak Schmeak, the opening weekend should get it near to $100 (80-ish), and though the falloff will be strong, it will be spitting at $150 by the end of next weekend. That doesn’t mean it won’t struggle to get to $200, but it should, but just. ALL IN: $200 Million (variable +/- $40 Million)
8) Da Vinci Code 2 (5/15): Devin called the first film retarded, but Tom Hanks and this book, it should be enough to be the “for not discriminating adults” picture of May. The only problem is if people were super turned off by the first film, which probably got the book on screen. That’s all they want from this franchise, so number 3 is all but assured. ALL IN: $180 Million (variable +/- $40 Million)
9) Star Trek 11 (5/8): Make no mistake, this film plays. It plays an audience, and people who don’t like Star Trek can get into it. The problem is the release date, as it has been since Paramount moved it. Had they come out in December, they would have cleared $200 easily, here, they’ll be dead to the world in two to three weeks, and they don’t have the first weekend of summer bump. Critics may like it (most have, on-line at least), but in re-branding, you take some of the hit of what’s come before, and though geeks will go back, I don’t think the film gets a great Memorial Day bump, which is what it’ll need to get over $200. The Friday will be big, but I feel like the people who will want to dress up for the opening might scare off some who might enjoy it. Currently it’s tracking at around a $50 opening weekend, Paramount’s already in for $200 million or so, and rebooting a franchise costs a lot of advertising dollar, so I don’t think it’s going to be a home run. The internet is insular, I don’t think this crosses over so hard that it’ll be a conversation piece, which is what it needs to get it past the nerdcore, but is more than enough to launch it past $150. If Paramount is smart, you still do the sequel, cause this will sell a lot of DVD’s/Blu-ray/illegal downloads, and people will down for what comes next. But if they can’t get that opening weekend to $70 or more, then they can’t get to $200 in a busy summer schedule. Then again – for better or worse – this is the best Space Opera since The Phantom Menace. ALL IN: $180 Million (variable +/- $100 Million)
10) Land of the Lost (6/5)/G.I. Joe (8/7) – Hey Kids? Guess what time it is? Other than the Pixar movie, which is a franchise unto itself (look at the advertising), these reboots of a TV show and a toy/cartoon are the most likely breakout hits. The question with Land is if Ferrell can be his core $100 Million dollar audience to a kids movie, and if parents will want to take them. Will it be a perfect blend of comedy and action, the likes of which we haven’t seen since the 40 good minutes of Ghostbusters II? Probably not, but it should RULE that weekend. And G.I. Joe will live or die if people are tired of Transformers 2 (in the metaphysical sense. Like Ms. Newton said, I want to get metaphysical, metaphysical, I wanna get metaphysical. Let me hear your reality talk, if it exists) and want more hopped up toy commercials. My guess is they will. ALL IN (LotL: $140 Million (variable +/- $20 Million) ALL IN (Joe): $140 Million (variable +/- $60 Million)
The films that could: I feel like Bruno (7/10) will get close to $100, but I think that Borat was helped a lot by its release schedule. I love Tony Scott, but The Taking of the Pelham 123 (6/12/09) feels like a throwback to the early 90’s. I don’t think it’ll kill for that, but Denzel Washington is Denzel ($80). I wish good things one Year One (6/19), but the Superbowl spots and the footage so far has not done it for people ($60). Funny People (7/31) has Sandler playing serious, this is probably his most success of that sort, but I don’t think it break out ($100), nor do I think The Hangover (6/5) can stand being an R rated comedy in the middle of summer ($80), but for the stars, that’ll do. Honestly, I think The Proposal (6/19) has a chance to crack the top ten ($100), but these films are all about the weather, honestly. And I have high hopes for Public Enemies (7/1), but even with Jonathan Depp and Christian Bale, I think the film will struggle to hit $100 ($100). I can’t think of a film I’m more excited for than Inglourious Basterds (8/21), but even with Brad Pitt, I think this film has a ceiling ($85).
AND THEN SUMMER BEGINS
So Wolverine opens, but I think it loses to Girlfriends of Title too Long.
1. Wolverine – $85.5 Million
2. Girlfriends of -$18 Million
3. Oh Noes, She Didn’t – $15 Million
4. 17 Again – $6 Million
5. Fighting – $5 Million
And on Sunday, I may not explain everything, but at least I won’t treat you like an idiot.