Category: Summer movie preview


There’s nothing quite like the start of May. Yes, the movie release schedule has become much more varied in recent years, with blockbusters invading all parts of the calendar. But there’s nothing quite like the start of the summer movie season.

The moments before the summer movie season begins are among my most hopeful. The time when all the would-be blockbusters seem like they could surprise, entertain and wow us. When the hype, excitement and hope is at its highest point. When a quick look at the movie schedule over the next four months brings questions on just how am I going to see all these movies? As a movie fan, there are few times that rival the start of May.

What will this summer bring? Let’s take a quick look. Part one will look at Superhero films and animation. Part two will hit this weekend and look at big sequels and potential breakouts.

Superhero showdown

Possibly the biggest film of the summer will also be its first. “Captain America: Civil War” is essentially an Avengers film. And both of those can lay claim to two of the top five opening weekends of all time. The buzz has been high and the reviews have been strong. Add in seeing the appeal of Captain America (Chris Evans) and Iron Man (Tony Stark) face off, as well as several of the other heroes in the Marvel universe, and this is a slam dunk. Marvel can do no wrong so far and the hype on this one seems higher than even “Age of Ultron”. It won’t be “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”-type numbers, but it may be the highest Marvel opening ever.

Opening weekend: $210 million.

Total: $550 million.

“X-Men: Apocalypse” seems like it should be set to enter the upper echelon of franchises. Yet, “Days of Future Past”, which performed strongly with critics and holds a very strong rating on IMDB, topped out at $233 million, essentially tied with “The Last Stand”. Only one X-Men film has grossed more than $300 million: Deadpool.

Given this track record, it’s hard to see Apocalypse doing significantly better, even if this is a great film.

Opening weekend: $115-120 million (four-day).

Total: $240-250 million.

“Suicide Squad” will be among the most interesting to watch from a box office perspective. It’s being released in August, which normally isn’t a great time (though “Guardians of the Galaxy proved a film can thrive in this timeframe). Will Smith provides a huge name, though everyone remembers “After Earth” don’t we?

The biggest question is how, if at all, does “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice” affect this film. It is a connected universe, after all. And that film’s bad reception has caused a very different trailer to come out, one that makes the film look far lighter than all previous trailers. I wonder if that will dent this film’s long-term prospects.

Opening weekend: $85-95 million.

Total: $260-270 million.

Animation overload?

In a somewhat unusual situation, there could be a major animation overload this summer. “Finding Dory” will likely be the cream of the crop. Pixar unleashes a sequel to one of its most beloved films. It should improve significantly on “Finding Nemo” in terms of opening box office. The first film hit theaters with $70.5 million. This one should flirt with $100 million. The overall quality will determine its legs, though. “Toy Story 3” was great. “Monsters University” fell off rather quickly by Pixar standards.

Opening weekend: $90-100 million.

Total: $290-310 million.

I’m still not sure if I’m excited for “The Secret Life of Pets”. But thanks to a stellar marketing campaign, this one could be one of the summer’s breakout hits. The premise seems fun and one that, surprisingly, hasn’t been explored yet.

Opening weekend: $70-80 million.

Total: $230-270 million.

“The Angry Birds Movie” is one of those that could be hard to predict. I don’t know a single person who is excited for this film, but it should do well drawing the millions and millions of kids out to theaters. “The Lego Movie” taught us that films like this can surprise. But my guess is if “Finding Dory” is up to Pixar’s lofty standards, this one may struggle to find its audience.

Opening weekend: $35-45 million.

Total: $130-150 million.

“Ice Age: Collision Course” sees the band getting back together .. again. The series has had diminishing returns in the U.S. And coming hot on the heels of “The Secret Life of Pets”, this one smells bomb to me.

Opening weekend: $30-40 million.

Total: $110-130 million.

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Clint Eastwood adapts a hit musical while a sequel to “Think Like A Man” also hits theaters. Who will come out on top?

“Think Like A Man Too”, from director Tim Story, hits theaters two years after the first one surprised many by opening to $33 million. This one stars Taraji P. Henson, Gabrielle Union, Meagan Good, Regina Hall, Dennis Haysbert, Michael Ealy, Romany Malco, Adam Brody, Jerry Ferrara (“Entourage”) and Wendi McLendon-Covey (“Bridesmaids”). Oh yeah. And a little known comic named Kevin Hart.

The film moves its location to Las Vegas, always a smart choice for a comedy (“The Hangover”, “Last Vegas”, “What Happens in Vegas”, etc.) and this one will benefit from a summer opening. “The Best Man Holiday”, also a sequel, earned more than $30 million about the same amount of theaters as this one. Expect this one to be in the same range.

Opening weekend: $35-40 million.

On paper, Clint Eastwood plus “Jersey Boys”, an award-winning musical, should equal Oscar bait, right?

Clearly not, because Warner Brothers is releasing this one in the summer, not the fall. The last musical they released during the summer was “Rock of Ages” with Tom Cruise and a host of others. That movie bombed. And I can’t see this one doing much better. In fact, it might do worse.

The film brings much of the stage cast with it, and adds Christopher Walken to the mix. But, this is going to have limited appeal. I don’t see many young people seeing this film. And Frankie Valley and the Four Seasons aren’t the Beatles. Their appeal to people from that generation are also much more limited. On a side note, it can also be argued Eastwood’s last few outings, including “J. Edgar”, “Trouble With The Curve” and “Grand Torino” haven’t been up to par either.

Opening weekend: $10-15 million.

Lukas Eggen can be reached at eggen.lukas@gmail.com.

 

With the limited access to computers I’ll be having over this week and next this will be an abbreviated version of the Box office battle.

This week, four films hit theaters. Will any break out?

“Turbo” features the voices of Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson, Snoop Dogg and more. And it’s premise about a racing slug has the possibility of attracting the same kind of crowd that Pixar’s “Cars” brought in. But, it’s being released after “Monsters University” and “Despicable Me 2” and with the much more anticipated (ugh) “The Smurfs 2” still to come, one has to wonder if this will be the odd animated film left out. Still, it still should do better than say “Rise of the Guardians” but probably not by much.

Opening weekend: $30-35 million

James Wan is back with “The Conjuring”. The director of “Saw” and “Insidious” has Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga starring in this film, which is gaining a ton of buzz about how scary it is. It’s not opening in as many theaters as the other films, but this one could make a strong play for first place.

Opening weekend: $28-33 million

“RED 2” stars Bruce Willis, John Malkovich, Mary-Louise Parker, Anthony Hopkins, Helen Mirren, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Byung Hun Lee, Brian Cox and Neal McDonough. But the star power won’t help this film. The first film opened to $21 million on its way to $90 million domestically and nearly $200 million worldwide. I doubt it matches those numbers domestically as many view it as an unnecessary sequel to an OK first film, though it should open around the same level.

Opening weekend: $20-25 million

Finally we have “R.I.P.D.” The presence of Jeff Bridges and Ryan Reynolds won’t help this film escape its “Men in Black” knockoff feel and, frankly, it looks like this summer’s “Jonah Hex”. Never a good thing.

Opening weekend: $10-15 million

Lukas Eggen can be reached at eggen.lukas@gmail.com.

On one hand, one of the most creative and best filmmakers out there comes out with his homage to monster movies, anime and giant robots. On the other hand we have…Adam Sandler. Who will come out on top?

It pains me to say this, but “Grown Ups 2” will do better than “Pacific Rim”. For some reason, Sandler continues to have his fans, despite his movies, for the most part, declining in quality through the years. This one sees Kevin James, Chris Rock and David Spade return. The last film opened to around $40 million and expect a similar audience this time around.

Opening weekend: $40-45 million

Unfortunately that means Guillermo del Toro’s “Pacific Rim” will be left in the dust. People just don’t seem excited for this one, which is a sham since del Toro directed “Pan’s Labyrinth” and “Hellboy”. To put it simply, this film looks epic. But won’t find an audience.

Opening weekend: $35-40 million

Lukas Eggen can be reached at eggen.lukas@gmail.com.

Here’s a clip from “The Wolverine”.

Starring Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, this installment is directed by James Mangold (“Walk the Line”).

Lukas Eggen can be reached at eggen.lukas@gmail.com.

Just over a week now until Guillermo del Toro’s “Pacific Rim”. Here’s the final trailer for the film.

The movie stars Idris Elba, Charlie Hunnam, Charlie Day, Clifton Collins Jr., Ron Perlman, Robert Kazinsky and Max Martini.

Lukas Eggen can be reached at eggen.lukas@gmail.com.

Here’s the third trailer for “Elysium”.

From director Neil Blomkamp (“District 9”) the film stars Matt Damon, Jodie Foster and Sharlto Copley.

Lukas Eggen can be reached at eggen.lukas@gmail.com.

 

Two big movies are hitting theaters tomorrow. One a sure-fire family hit, the other a big budget western blockbuster. How well will they do?

“Monsters University” may have taken the top spot the past two weekends, but this is the first summer in a long while that another studio is going to smash them for the top spot in terms of animated films. Universal’s “Despicable Me 2” sees Steve Carell return to voice Gru and the minions are back in full force. The first film earned more than $250 million. And with no major animated films coming out (sorry “Turbo) this is going to at least exceed that by a little bit. Expect a monstrous first week.

Opening week: $110-120 million.

Armie Hamer and Johnny Depp star in “The Lone Ranger”, the big budget film that reunites Depp with “Pirates of the Caribbean” director Gore Verbinski. Disney’s playing up that angle a lot, but it has a lot going against it. First, the last Western film to open over the July 4 holiday? “Wild Wild West”. And while “True Grit” was very successful, earning $171 million domestically, that was an Oscar contender and had Jeff Bridges. The last summer Western films have been utter failures with “Cowboys and Aliens” and “Jonah Hex”. With a lot of competition for the young male crowd, this film won’t reach the heights Disney was hoping. In fact, it likely won’t earn as much as”True Grit” after it’s all said and done.

Opening week: $70-80 million

Lukas Eggen can be reached at eggen.lukas@gmail.com.

 

 

 

It would be a shame. I’m very much looking forward to Guillermo del Toro’s “Pacific Rim”. Think “Transformers” with monsters and intelligence (sorry Michael Bay). But, as one of my friends said, “The movie looks kinda dumb.” Thus the challenge the film has made. Coming on the heels of news that Warner Brothers and Legendary Pictures are splitting comes some distressing news from Variety. Apparently audiences are showing more interest in “Grown Ups 2” than “Pacific Rim”. You know the Adam Sandler comedy where we see Sandler do everything he’s done in practically EVERY OTHER MOVIE he’s made. Hopefully audiences warm up here late in the game.

But if “Grown Ups 2” actually does beat “Pacific Rim” none of those people has any right to complain about the lack of new films. When a new film comes out, they’re going to shun it? It’s like people complaining about movies not making you think so when a film like “Cloud Atlas” comes out and challenges you, they ignore it. Come on, people.

“Pacific Rim” stars Charlie Hunnam, Idris Elba, Charlie Day, Rinko Kikuchi, Ron Pearlman and more. I know I’ll chose a movie from the director of “Pan’s Labyrinth” over the actor responsible for ‘Jack and Jill” any day of the week.

Lukas Eggen can be reached at eggen.lukas@gmail.com.

Tow big releases face off against “Man of Steel”. Marc Forster’s and Brad Pitt’s troubled zombie film “World War Z” finally hits theaters while Disney/Pixar goes back to the well again with “Monsters University” featuring John Goodman and Billy Crystal. Which film will come out on top?

The Pixar brand has taken a hit lately. After the masterpiece that was “Toy Story 3” we got “Cars 2” and the disappointing “Brave”. Now comes “Monsters University”, a prequel to “Monsters, Inc.” That movie is considered one of Pixar’s better movies. But prequels are inherently unnecessary .We already know Mike and Sully become best friends. And, as I’ve written before, without Boo, I think you take away the catalyst to the first movie’s charm. Reviews have been OK, but not great and with “Despicable Me 2” looming, one has to wonder if this will fail to reach the heights of other Pixar films. Opening weekend, however, should be strong.

Opening weekend: $75-80 million

“World War Z” has had such a troubled past with various rewrites and reshooting the third act. But reviews have been surprisingly decent and the trailers play up the end of the world aspect instead of the zombies. Brad Pitt is a big star, but “Inglourious Basterds” was the last film he was in that opened to more than $20 million, and he was really part of an ensemble. The film should battle it out with “Man of Steel” for second place.

Opening weekend: $45-50 million

Lukas Eggen can be reached at eggen.lukas@gmail.com.