I thought I would give a rundown of the major summer releases that audiences may be interested in seeing over the next few months. Let’s begin:
May 4th – The Avengers
The Avengers looks to kick-off the summer movie season with a bang, and if the international grosses this past weekend are any indication, The Avengers will open big. The main plot of the film has Nick Fury of S.H.I.E.L.D. assembling the greatest group of heroes (Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, The Incredible Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye) to save the world from total annihilation. I’ll say this flat out, The Avengers will be the highest grossing film than any of the characters (Iron Man, Captain America, The Incredible Hulk and Thor) individual films, and it will be the 2nd highest grossing film of the summer, as I’m predicting a total domestic gross of $385 million. Just to back up the above statement, here is how the characters films have done at the box office:
2008 – Iron Man – $318.4 million domestic gross
2008 – The Incredible Hulk – $134.8 million domestic gross
2010 – Iron Man 2 – $312.4 million domestic gross
2011 – Thor – $181 million domestic gross
2011 – Captain America: The First Avenger – $176.7 million domestic gross
The film is receiving great reviews, which is going to help the non-comic book fan audience, and this film should dominate the summer box office for most of May, as it really does not have any major competition. Fans were excited by the news of Joss Whedon coming aboard as the director when the film was originally announced, and from all indications, he has made the perfect summer popcorn film. Expect long line-ups this weekend for the film, and I think this was a very wise decision to open the summer movie season with The Avengers.
Dark Shadows, The Dictator, Battleship, Men In Black 3 and much more after the jump!
May 11th – Dark Shadows
Normally I would say the pairing of Johnny Depp and Tim Burton would be box office magic, but I think the subject matter and the TV show that the film is based on, just don’t appeal to mainstream audiences. I really like the fun and campiness in the trailer for the film, but I think the story of a vampire who tries to adjust to life in the 1970’s is not one that is going to make waves at the box office. The source material is not widely well known, and it definitely veers on the campy side of things. Plus, it opens only a week after The Avengers, so there is no way that it will dethrone that film from the top of the box office. Dark Shadows reminds me of when Speed Racer was released in the second weekend of May back in 2008. Speed Racer was a cult property that got destroyed by Iron Man at the box office, as the Robert Downey Jr. action flick started off the summer movie season the week prior (much like The Avengers is doing to this film). So to me there are similarities in how the Johnny Depp//Tim Burton will perform and I don’t feel that I am making a stretch linking Speed Racerto Dark Shadows. I think Dark Shadows could be one of the more disappointing films at the box office this summer.
May 16th – The Dictator
Sacha Baron Cohen’s latest creation gets unleashed on audiences in mid-May, and I must say that his new character looks to make a promising film. The plot follows a dictator who comes to America, only to lose his identity. He befriends an American girl, and has to try to convince everyone around him that he is the cruel dictator of the Republic of Wadiya. The comedian’s films are not for everyone (i.e. – not for those easily offended), and you can see in the numbers below, that Bruno was not the hit that Borat was:
2006 – Borat – $128.5 million domestic gross
2009 – Bruno – $60 million domestic gross
Average Domestic Gross – $94.25 million
What The Dictator has going for it, is that there are not a lot of high-profile comedies being released this summer (To me, it is just The Dictator, Dark Shadows and Ted that I would put in this category). I think this film will appeal to audiences looking to see something other than a big action film, and is more appealing than Dark Shadows for those audiences who want to see a comedy. I think The Dictator will come close to grossing $100 million, but it should not out perform Borat.
May 18th – Battleship
When I saw the trailer for Battleship in theatres, the trailer got laughed at. The board game that the film is based on, does not involve an alien race looking to destroy Earth and the fact that the film promotes itself as being from the same company that created Transformersdidn’t help its cause because Battleship came across in the trailer as a poor cousin to that franchise. However, the international box office for the film has been solid, and I think audiences will be turn out on the opening weekend, but it should fade away soon after that. I won’t lie when I say that I don’t have high hopes for this film.
May 25th – Men in Black 3
To me, this film is an unnecessary sequel to a franchise that has been dormant for a decade. The trailers do not make me want to go out and see the film, and the numbers below show how the second film in the franchise really any hopes for future installments (until now that is):
1997 – Men in Black – $250.7 million domestic gross
2002 – Men in Black II – $190.4 million domestic gross
Average Domestic Gross – $220.55 million
When a sequel is off by $60 million from the previous installment, it is never a good thing. I think if the series got a re-boot (and you could argue it is here with the time travel story line), with new actors, a new director, and I different tone, I would have been more interested. Unfortunately, the same main stars return, as well as the director. The plot of the film revolves around Agent J (Will Smith) having to go back in time to pair up with a younger Agent K (Josh Brolin) in order to save the universe. Reviews will play a major factor for this film, but my expectations are so low, that I am predicting that Men in Black 3 will be the biggest bomb of the summer. I have made the mistake before of calling a franchise dead (just go back in the history of Biff Bam Pop to see what I said about Fast and Furious, when that installment came out), but I think this film would have been better served opening in the spring or fall. Fast and Furious and Fast Fiveboth did that, and they both did extremely well at the box office. I do hope that I am proven wrong, but only time will tell!
June 1st – Snow White and the Huntsman
This film may turn out to be the biggest surprise of the summer. In theory, when you read the film on paper, you probably shrugged it off thinking that Kristen Stewart and Chris Hemsworth would not be able to pull off this story. Then the trailer got released, and I think a lot of people had their minds changed, because the film looks really good! What was interesting was the choice of the trailer to highlight Charlize Theron’s Evil Queen character more than Kristen Stewart’s Snow White. I think the editing of the trailer paid dividends to the audience, as it gave the film a darker tone then what most people think of when it comes to the Snow White mythology, and there were no signs of dwarves in sight! Instead, there were action pieces on a beach with people battling on horses! I would be surprised if this film didn’t do well at the box office this summer!
June 8th – Prometheus
This is a film that I think is getting lost in the shuffle because of the major comic-book films being released, but I think Prometheus could be a massive hit. The film (which may or may not be a prequel to Alien) stars Noomi Rapace, Charlize Theron, Michael Fassbender, Patrick Wilson, Idris Elba and Guy Pearce and follows explorers on a quest to a distant part of the galaxy to respond to an “invitation”. The marketing for the film has been slick, and there is no doubt that the film looks visually stunning (Ridley Scott always makes fine looking films). The trailers are well edited and intriguing and definitely create tension and fear for the viewer. The fact that there are no major horror films being released this summer (sorry Piranha 3DD); I think fans of the genre will come out in force to support it. Outside of the comic-book films, this is the film I am looking to the most this summer (and the fact that it may be a prequel to the Alien franchise has me even more intrigued)!
June 8th – Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted
DreamWorks Animation is hoping that another one of their franchises can make box office magic, but I have my doubts on how well this film will do. I think this is an unnecessary sequel, as the previous installment of the Madagascar franchise did not out gross the original. See the numbers below:
2005 – Madagascar – $193.5 million domestic gross
2008 – Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa – $180 million domestic gross
Anytime a sequel is unable to out gross the original film, I question the logic in making a sequel (I had the same problem with Men in Black 3). DreamWorks Animation is also looking for a hit after the misfire that was Kung Fu Panda 2 (which in fairness, was not a bad film, but it turned out that there was not an audience desire for a sequel). The plot for Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted involves the main characters joining a travelling circus in Europe in the hopes that they will make their way home to New York. DreamWorks made the smart decision of releasing this film ahead of Disney//Pixar’s Brave, but we’ll see if the Madagascar gang will out gross the Scottish Pixar film. I don’t think it will, and I think it will be the lowest grossing installment in the series.
June 15th – Rock of Ages
Let me be the first to say that I am a fan of the theatrical musical Rock of Ages. I saw the musical three times during its Toronto run, and I thought it was a lot of fun. I was hoping that the trailer for the film would reflect that sense of fun, and unfortunately for me, I thought the trailer for Rock of Ages came across as campy and cheesy (i.e. – NOT FUN)! The film follows a small-town girl looking to make it as an actress in Hollywood and a city boy looking to become a rock-star, and it is all set to music from the 1980’s. The big draw for the film is Tom Cruise as the villainous rock star Stacee Jaxx as Tom gets to sing in the film. I think the casting of Cruise is great, and it will definitely make people interested in seeing it. Unfortunately, I don’t see this film being a hit like other Broadway musicals turned into films (if this film out grosses Hairspray, I would be absolutely shocked). The film does have a lot of talent involved (Alec Baldwin, Russell Brand, Malin Akerman, Bryan Cranston, Paul Giamatti, and Catherine Zeta-Jones), but the two main leads (Julianne Hough from Dancing With The Stars fame and Diego Boneta) are not that well known, and I think this film could have benefitted from bigger names in the leading roles. Having said that, I’m sure the director wanted relatively unknown actors to play the part, to make the story of a boy and girl with nothing but their dreams guiding them, seem that much more authentic. As I stated above, I think the trailer does not make the film look good, but I don’t think this film will be a flop either. We’ll see what audiences have to say when the film comes out in theatres!
June 22nd – Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
From director Timur Bekmambetov (who directed the surprise action hit Wanted with James McAvoy and Angelina Jolie), this film is about President Lincoln doing more than leading the United States and reciting landmark speeches. It is in fact about President Lincoln and his life as a vampire hunter who is seeking revenge on the creatures that killed his mother. This is a film that I think audiences will have no interest in. The trailer for the film is flat, and does not make me excited to see it in the slightest. I cannot see critics liking the film either and that is not going to help its case. Although I think the film will flop, I don’t think that I would consider this to be a major bomb at the box office, as I just think that the expectations for the film are so low. I like to be proved wrong, but somehow I doubt that I will be when the film is released.
June 22nd – Brave
The latest offering from Disney//Pixar follows the adventures of a princess who wants nothing more than to make a life of her own, and not have to follow the rules of her kingdom. To make this happen, she makes a wish that throws her world upside down and the only way for her to reverse the curse that she has unleashed, is by finding out what it is to be brave. Disney//Pixar is hoping to have a hit after the disappointing box office that Cars 2 had last year. I think Brave may turn out to be that film. Films by Disney//Pixar that do not sound that appealing when you read them on paper (Ratatouille, Up and Wall-E all come to mind), actually turn out to be fantastic films. I have high hopes for Brave as well!
June 29th – G.I. Joe: Retaliation
I must say, the approach to this sequel is intriguing, as they are essentially going with a new cast of stars in the hopes to make the film better. Channing Tatum returns to the franchise, but the main star of the film is Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson (the poster for the film says it all, when Johnson’s body is the only thing on it). This could be the action-film that Johnson has been waiting for to become an “A” list action star. The plot of the film follows a small group of G.I. Joe’s who look to battle Zartan and save the White House from the ruthless, terrorist organization known as Cobra. Despite the original film receiving less than glowing reviews, it did pretty well at the box office. See below:
2009 – G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra – $150.2 million domestic gross
I think that G.I. Joe: Retaliation should be able to do better than the original, and I must say that the trailer, set to a pumped up version of The White Stripes “Seven Nation Army” definitely builds the excitement. The studio must have a lot of faith in the film to open it just beforeThe Amazing Spider-Man, because when that film comes out, the competition will get slaughtered.
Check back tomorrow when I go through what films will be released in July and August!
*The release dates for the films are subject to change.
**All box office numbers were taken from the website Box Office Mojo – http://www.boxofficemojo.com