Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Summer Box Office Predictions

Last summer seventeen movies made it past the $100 million mark, with six of those passing $200 million. I will say this is one of the hardest summer to guess on (not that I'm hitting bullseyes every summer) because with the economy, some movies are actually doing better. I mean, who could have seen coming the triumphs of Paul Blart, Taken, Knowing, Fast & Furious, and Obsessed?

1. HARRY POTTER & THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE - $335 million - It's been two years since the last one, a little longer lay-off than usual, and this one really gets into some background of some characters. It also has the Dark Knight spot.

2. TRANSFORMERS 2 - $270 million - I can't say I'm hyped for this one, but this is one where I'm assuming it's my age (I'll have turned 36 a few days before this opens). I think this will be big with the 12-25 range. I hope they spend a little more time on the robots and a little less on the humans.

3. STAR TREK - $255 million - It looks huge. It looks different. It looks accessible to non-fans. It looks like the shot-in-the-arm the franchise needed to stay viable.

4. NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM 2 - $250 million - The publicity hasn't hooked me yet, but the first one was a giant success, and this one promises to be funnier. Ben Stiller's proven to have a pretty good track record.

5. X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE - $230 million - I see this thing opening in the $75-80 million range, getting dealt a body blow by Star Trek the next week, but both of them have decent legs to ride the rest of May while theaters keep trying to get rid of Fighting, The Soloist, and Crank 2. General consensus so far is that it's at least better than X-Men 3.

6. UP - $225 million - Pixar can do no wrong. Doesn't look like the masterpiece Wall-E was, but looks more accessible.

7. ICE AGE 3 - $215 million - Does the franchise still have legs? The Scrat previews are always entertaining.

8. ANGELS & DEMONS - $160 million - Not the event that The Da Vinci Code was, even if the movie wound up being not that great. Angels & Demons actually has a better plot book-wise, so hopefully it will make for a better movie.

9. JULIE & JULIA - $144 million - I know there's gotta be a $100+ million grossing chick flick somewhere in here, and this looks like the most potential even though it doesn't have the name recognition of Sex & the City or Mamma Mia! It does have Meryl Streep, and she's turning out lately to be one of the most reliable female box-office stars. Between this and Night at the Museum 2, Amy Adams will have a good summer.

10. LAND OF THE LOST - $138 million - The preview looks okay. It at least keeps some of the elements of the series. And Will Ferrell running from dinosaurs might be enough to get kids begging to see it.

11. TERMINATOR SALVATION - $130 million - Something's gotta slip somewhere, and I'm wondering if it's this one. I liked the final trailer they have, but it looks as bleak as a PG-13 movie can possibly be, with Christian Bale maybe doing some damage to himself after his infamous rant. (See also: the box-office for Mission Impossible 3 after Tom Cruise went couch-hopping.) Plus it's McG and I don't know how good a straight actioner he can actually make.

12. PUBLIC ENEMIES - $125 million - It's Michael Mann. It's Johnny Depp. But it is an R-rated gangster flick in summer, so $125 million is pretty darn good. And it will make for a good Christian Bale summer.

13. THE PROPOSAL - $110 million - Yes, it's a contrived plot, but it's gotten laughs from the audience every time I've seen it, and again, I can't see any other chick flick not yet listed doing better. Maybe it's Sandra Bullock's comeback.

14. G-FORCE - $107 million - Looks like The Wonder Pets to me with 10,000 times the budget. Those talking-animals movies tend to do better than I ever think they will. G-Force to me means Battle of the Planets, but I didn't see Mark, Jason, Tiny, Cheops and Princess in the trailer.

15. THE YEAR ONE - $105 million - Dry laughs with Jack Black and Michael Cera living in B.C. times. I think it looks funny but it might be crowded out by other titles opening around it.

16. FUNNY PEOPLE - $101 million - Adam Sandler and Seth Rogen try to mix the comedy and drama, as stand-up comedians. Their goal is probably something like 1988's Punchline but with two Tom Hankses and no Sally Fields. I will be impressed the first time Judd Apatow writes a movie where no one smokes pot.

17. THE UGLY TRUTH - $85 million - I don't get the Katherine Heigl thing, but hey, this has a shot. My goodness, What Happens in Vegas almost made this much.

18. BRUNO - $79 million - Looks like it will be about as outrageous in 2009 as Borat was in 2006.

19. THE TAKING OF PELHAM 123 - $77 million - Grown-up remake of the Walter Matthau semi-classic (I'm actually watching it now; DVR'd it a couple months ago). Denzel Washington can be counted on for a certain level of box-office. John Travolta, who plays villains half the time, looks more dangerous than usual. This could be a surprise hit, but I think this is the range the studio is expecting.

20. THE HANGOVER - $72 million - Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, and Zach Gali-something-ikis seem like the B-team of Will Ferrell, Vince Vaughn and Luke Wilson turning it down, but just writing that, I realized that I'm more interested in seeing it with these three lesser-known guys than I would be with the more famous three. Good preview.

Possible sleepers:

Drag Me to Hell - I just realized I don't have a horror flick on here, but then again, last year a horror flick did not make the top 20. But #21 was The Happening and #22 was The Strangers. Drag Me to Hell's being produced by Sam Raimi, so I think it'll be a little more creative than Final Destination 4 or H2.

They Came From Upstairs - Also a horror flick, so....

H2 - Rob Zombie's Halloween follow-up will probably gross around $50 million overall, but with Friday the 13th opening huge, maybe there's an increased desire to see the old serial-killers doing their thang.

Imagine That - After Meet Dave died an ignominious death, I wonder if Eddie Murphy can rebound, and Imagine That might do it. I haven't seen the preview yet but it sounds too similar to Bedtime Stories.

My Sister's Keeper - Based on the best-seller, if it's a good adaptation, it could bring out fans, plus it'll be interesting to see how Cameron Diaz and Abigail Breslin play off each other as mother and daughter.

Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, I Love You Beth Cooper, or When in Rome - One should do well, but I doubt all three. I remember when Ghosts was a Ben Affleck project and they yanked the plug because they didn't feel like he was bankable anymore. But his wife stayed in it.

Predicted bombs:

G.I. Joe - They made Joe an international force instead of an American one, so it's like a secret U.N. fighting team. Riiiight. It has name recognition, but most fanboys I know/read/hear from think this is going to suck and be the bomb of the summer.

Inglorious Basterds - I think this will make a lot more money since it has Brad Pitt, but Quentin Tarantino has been living off borrowed cool for a while now. I'd love to be wrong on this one.

Shorts - Robert Rodriguez got the story idea from his kids. Last time he did that, we got The Adventures of Shark Boy & Lava Girl. Yeesh.

My Life in Ruins - Nia Vardalos attempts to recapture the Big Fat Greek Wedding magic.

The Brothers Bloom - Yanked off the winter release schedule days before it was supposed to open, I don't think Adrien Brody and Mark Ruffalo have become any more bankable in the past six months.

Summer 2008
1. The Dark Knight - $527.36 million
2. Iron Man - $318.31
3. Indiana Jones & the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull - $317.02
4. Hancock - $227.95
5. Wall-E - $222.1
6. Kung Fu Panda - $215.43
7. Sex & the City - $152.53
8. Mamma Mia! - $143.33
9. The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian - $141.62
10. The Incredible Hulk - $134.53
11. Wanted - $134.33
12. Get Smart - $130.25
13. Tropic Thunder - $109.88
14. The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor - $102.28
15. Journey to the Center of the Earth - $100.83
16. Step Brothers - $100.47
17. You Don't Mess with the Zohan - $100.02
18. Pineapple Express - $87.34
19. What Happens in Vegas - $80.28
20. Hellboy II: The Golden Army - $75.79

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