Here's how the summer's shaping up.
The big month. Last year you had the hits Iron Man and Indiana Jones 4, surprise-hit Sex & the City, underperforming Prince Caspian, flat-out bomb Speed Racer, and decent successes of What Happens in Vegas and The Strangers.
This month looks even bigger.
May 1 sees the opening of X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE, a prequel that will see Logan deal with Gambit and Deadpool and battle with Sabretooth, who is now a foot shorter in the body of Liev Schreiber. It also has GHOSTS OF GIRLFRIENDS PAST, a counter-programming romantic comedy starring himbo Matthew McConaughey.
May 8 is when JJ Abrams STAR TREK launches, and I know it will not suffer Speed Racer's fate. Right now, I expect it to beat Wolverine box-office wise. Nia Vardalos will parlay her Big Fat Greek Wedding karma into MY LIFE IN RUINS; Emma Roberts continues her slew of kid movies with WILD CHILD, and Mos Def and Mike Epps team up for NEXT DAY AIR.
May 15 is when the Da Vinci Code sequel ANGELS & DEMONS opens. (I know the book is a prequel but they made adjustments). Tom Hanks and Ron Howard re-unite, and A&D is a slightly better story than Da Vinci, so this has a chance to be okay. Also, Sacha Baron Cohen's BRUNO was scheduled to open here, but I think I read recently it was going tob e moved back to July.
May 22 is the site of the first blockbuster showdown. In this corner is Christian Bale in TERMINATOR: SALVATION, which hopes to be the first of a trilogy. In this corner is Ben Stiller returning for NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM 2, with Amy Adams as Amelia Earhart.
May 29 has the next Pixar movie UP. I predict a handful of reviews whining that Wall-E was better. Also, Sam Raimi's horror flick DRAG ME TO HELL opens here, taking advantage of The Strangers' old opening spot.
Last year this month featured two CG-animated movies that passed $200 million each, three more movies that crossed $130 million (The Incredible Hulk, Wanted, Get Smart), an okay Sandler outing with You Don't Mess with the Zohan, and Razzie nominees The Happening and The Love Guru.
This summer has some questions marks.
June 5 will have LAND OF THE LOST, with the classic Krofft series getting the Will Ferrell treatment. So far it looks like it's being marketed as Jurassic Park: The Comedy.
June 12 has THE PROPOSAL, where Sandra Bullock bribes her employee (Ryan Reynolds) into getting engaged to her so she won't get deported. John Travolta's the bad guy that Denzel Washington is trying to stop in the remake of THE TAKING OF PELHAM 1 2 3. Eddie Murphy goes for family comedy again with IMAGINE THAT, and there's the potential comedy sleeper THE HANGOVER with Bradley Cooper and Ed Helms.
June 19 has the prehistoric comedy THE YEAR ONE, starring Jack Black and Michael Cera, who aspire to be at least funnier than Ringo Starr and Dennis Quaid in Caveman. There's also the PG-13 horror flick THE HAUNTING OF CONNECTICUT starring Virginia Madsen.
June 26 answers the question "Where are the sequels?" with TRANSFORMERS 2. Also, the cloning drama MY SISTER'S KEEPER opens, with Cameron Diaz and Abigail Breslin.
Last year this month had The Dark Knight. Opening the same day, Mamma Mia! found a way to get its own $143 million. That month also featured Hancock ($227.9), Journey to the Center of the Earth ($100.8), Step brothers ($100.4) and Hellboy II ($75.8) , which did a little better than its predecessor. It also saw the bombs Meet Dave, Space Chimps, and The X-Files 2.
July 1 will have a showdown between family-friendly ICE AGE 3, and Michael Mann's period gangster movie PUBLIC ENEMIES with Johnny Depp and Christian Bale. (Bale's poised to have another good summer.)
July 10 so far only has the romantic comedy I LOVE YOU BETH COOPER, starring Heroes' Hayden Panetierre. it wouldn't surprise me if something else moves here soon. Maybe this is where Bruno's going.
July 17 will launch HARRY POTTER & THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE in The Dark Knight's old spot Looking at this month, this has the potential to be one of the highest-grossing Potter flicks yet. Order of the Phoenix did pretty good and it was the weakest book in the series.
July 24 has a lot of question marks. There's G-FORCE, which is different than the Gatchaman movie also coming soon. This is an animated film about commando guinea pigs. Katherine Heigl returns to rom-com territory for THE UGLY TRUTH, as she takes the slovenly advice of Gerard Butler on how to win a guy. There's also the rom-com 500 DAYS OF SUMMER with the more indie-oriented cast of Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. There's also ALL GOOD THINGS with Ryan Gosling, and ORPHAN with Peter Sarsgaard but those could wind up being limited releases.
July 31's big movie is Judd Apatow's FUNNY PEOPLE, with Adam Sandler and Seth Rogen as stand-up comics, but this movie plans to be as dramatic as it is comedic. There's also the High School Musical alum showdown with the thriller THEY CAME FROM UPSTAIRS with Ashley Tisdale, and the competitive BANDSLAM with Vanessa Hudgens.
The first half of this month is still summer; the second half is when the dross is released. Last year two movies from this month passed $100 million (Tropic Thunder, The Mummy 3), and Pineapple Express did pretty good too. This is also the month that saw Swing Vote, Mirrors, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Death Race, The Rocker, The Longshots, Babylon A.D., Disaster Movie, College, etc. That's what you get when August has five Fridays.
August 7 will feature the big-screen G.I. JOE movie, which did not get good buzz when its trailer debuted. This one's smelled for months. It also has JULIE & JULIA, a comedy with Amy Adams working her way through Julia Child's cookbook, with Meryl Streep as the ghost o' Ms. Child. This is the chick flick I can see being a hit. Hm, not a lot of chick flicks coming this summer; is the lesson of Sex & the City and Mamma Mia! so quickly forgotten? There's also the ensemble comedy SHORTS, reuniting Pretty in Pink co-stars Jon Cryer and James Spader.
August 14 has DANCE FLICK, a dance-movie parody from the Wayans family. POST GRAD, which I think is a coming-of-age comedy with Alexis Bledel and Carol Burnett. Then there's DISTRICT 9, which sounds like a horror flick.
August 21 will see Quentin Tarantino's 2-1/2 hour WWII comedy INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS starring Brad Pitt. It'll be interesting to see what Pitt does in QT Land. There's also FINAL DESTINATION: DEATH TRIP, the fourth and hopefully last in the series. Still on the schedule is THE GOODS: THE DON READY STORY starring Jeremy Piven as a character that what-do-you-bet has a lot in common with Ari Gold. GIVE 'EM HELL MALONE was penciled in here at one point, a revenge flick with Thomas Jane, but I think it's been since yanked.
August 28 welcomes H2, sequel to Rob Zombie's Halloween. I guess Zombie needs the money. There's also a movie here called MAX'S MARDI GRAS, which hopes to do better here than College did last year.
That's the current slate for summer. Some may move out, and new ones may move in (maybe the roller-derby comedy Whip It! with Ellen Page and Drew Barrymore).