Last summer seventeen movies made it past the $100 million mark, with seven of those passing $200 million.
1. INDIANA JONES & THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL - $350 million - This has something for all generations, and even though early buzz if that it's good but not great, I imagine it'll be better than The Phantom Menace. It also has no new action competition for three weeks after it opens.
2. THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: PRINCE CASPIAN - $323 million - Now that people know Walden Media can make decent movies out of these books, I anticipate it will do a little better than The Lion The Witch & The Wardrobe.
3. IRON MAN - $290 million - It's not Marvel's most famous commodity, but it's had a killer marketing campaign and regardless of how well known the title is, the cast looks great, it has a trustworthy director (Jon Favreau) and the first weekend of May for a PG-13 comic book movie has proven to be huge in the past.
4. WALL-E - $240 million - Pixar can do no wrong. I repeat, Pixar can do no wrong.
5. THE DARK KNIGHT - $230 million - This will be dark enough that many parents won't want their young'uns to see it, but the buzz over Heath Ledger's final performance will grow, and Chris Nolan has erased all signs of Joel Schumacher from this franchise.
6. HANCOCK - $205 million - Will Smith's July 4 weekend may seem unstoppable, but I remember a little movie called Wild Wild West. Still, I anticipate the publicity will pick up once all the May juggernauts are out of the way.
7. THE MUMMY: TOMB OF THE DRAGON EMPEROR - $178 million - This special effects extravaganze should rule August. Stephen Sommers isn't directing, which might help.
8. KUNG FU PANDA - $155 million - DreamWorks Animation has a good campaign going for this, and it still hasn't revealed much of the story. As long as it's better than Madagascar it should be a hit.
9. THE INCREDIBLE HULK - $129 million - Had the Ang Lee movie not happened, there'd be a lot more anticipation for this project.
10. GET SMART - $125 million - Steve Carell should beat Mike Myers with their dueling comedies on opening weekend, and I base that on their trailers. Get Smart looks funny; The Love Guru looks like it might as well be called Austin Powers 4: The Leftovers.
11. SPEED RACER - $108 million - This could be a big hit or a big bomb. Can't really tell at this point.
12. TROPIC THUNDER - $106 million - Probably could have made over $130 million had it not gone the R-rated route.
13. STEP BROTHERS - $100 million - Will Ferrell should be able to forget that little basketball movie he did with another summer hit.
14. HELLBOY 2 - $88 million - The first one became a mild hit on DVD, and now that Guillermo Del Toro has more street-cred with Pan's Labyrinth, the marketing is focussing on the visual inventiveness.
15. YOU DON'T MESS WITH THE ZOHAN - $85 million - I see this doing about as well as Click did, which was a bit of an underperformer for Adam Sandler.
16. THE HAPPENING - $80 million - Lady in the Water really hurt the M. Night Shyamalan brand, plus it's his first R-rated movie, which will hurt ticket sales.
17. MAMMA MIA! - $75 million - Hairspray was a summer hit, although who knows how many of those tickets were sold by Zac Efron.
18. PINEAPPLE EXPRESS - $67 million - I'm going to guess based on Judd Apatow's string of successes that this one finds an audience too.
19. MEET DAVE - $63 million - The trailer's not great, but it could pique the interest of those pining for a Honey I Shrunk the Kids remake. And Eddie Murphy carried Norbit past $90 million.
20. WANTED - $59 million - Angelina Jolie's shoot-em-up was moved from spring to summer, but I think it will wind up backfiring. (Who knew that Semi-Pro and 10,000 BC would both underperform?)
JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH 3-D - Brendan Fraser has had a couple titles go straight-to-DVD lately, so he's not the star he once was, and my feeling is people will skip this one and see him in Mummy 3.
THE LOVE GURU - Mike Myers runs out of gas.
SEX & THE CITY - Between this, Made of Honor, What Happens in Vegas, He's Just Not That into You, and Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2, one of these chick flicks will be in the Top 20, but I can't picture which one.
SPACE CHIMPS - From Vanguard, the makers of Valiant. So, yeah, not a lot of faith in this one.
STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS - It feels like something intended for TV or DVD release that's being thrown into theaters instead. Plus aren't we ready to move from Anakin and Padme and go back to our happy memories of Luke, Han and Leia?
THE X-FILES 2 - I watched the show for a while, but I bailed before David Duchovny left the show, and I never did see the first movie, so this movie's curiosity factor for me is zero. I imagine this is for people who watched all nine seasons and saw the movie and have been waiting for it. So yeah, I don't see it breaking $50 million.
Last year's Top 20 of summer:
1. Spider-Man 3
2. Shrek the Third
4. Pirates of the Caribbean: AWE
5. Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix
6. The Bourne Ultimatum
8. The Simpsons Movie
9. Knocked Up
10. Rush Hour 3
11. Live Free or Die Hard
12. Fantastic Four: ROTSS
14. I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry
16. Ocean's Thirteen
17. Evan Almighty
19. Surf's Up