July Forecast

By Tim Briody

10. Tie: The Powerpuff Girls/The Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course/Halloween: Resurrection

You have to admit, some weird amalgam of these three films would be pretty interesting to watch. It's too close to call which film will actually claim July's tenth spot. The Powerpuff Girls have the advantage of the holiday opening, but the appeal is a bit too limited, and the marketing has been lacking. The Halloween franchise continues to limp along. H:20 did open to $16.7 million in August 1998, but that film hadn't been pushed back nearly a year. Dimension is just throwing this film out there and hoping it sticks. It won't. That leaves the Crocodile Hunter. Crikey! Yes, it's stupid, but you have to give Steve Irwin credit for poking fun at himself. At least, I certainly hope he is. All three of these films open in the same vicinity, with the Crocodile Hunter making the most, but all three films die swift, painful deaths afterward.

9. The Country Bears

When I saw this trailer in the theater, it got laughs. The bad kind. That didn't completely doom the film, as it didn't play before its target audience. This one can honestly go either way. It can fail miserably or become a massive sleeper hit. The marketing is key here, and at this point it's too soon to say which way it's going to go. I'll cop out and go with the middle ground of a respectable opening, with standard kid-film legs.

8. Eight Legged Freaks

A movie I thought was headed straight to video a couple months ago has rapidly become my pick for sleeper hit of July. The trailer and ads do not take themselves seriously. This is a good thing. A check-your-brain-at-the-door, funny, C-list cast monster movie is something the box office definitely needs. If it's in the same vein as Lake Placid and Evolution, as the previews indicate, it'll enjoy a surprising opening, some (not quite eight) legs, and a healthy cult following on video.

7. Road to Perdition

Tom Hanks. Sam Mendes' follow-up to American Beauty. Lots of other A-list names. But could there be a more uncommercial premise? In a summer where a movie starring Tom Cruise directed by Steven Spielberg is a hard sell, Road to Perdition doesn't exactly scream breakout hit. Star power opens it, but it doesn't go anywhere from there.

6. Stuart Little 2

The cast is returning, but the target audience doesn't really care about that. The $140 million gross of the first film is nothing to sneeze at, but mention that to this film's demographic and you'll get blank stares. Kids just want to see Stuart Little. And they will, in droves.

5. Like Mike

Every kid's fantasy is to dunk a basketball. That's why this works. There's a reason it's going up against Men in Black. As a bonus, the ads make it seem rather funny, and there are enough cameos by real NBA players to give it that special touch. Easily the biggest family film of the month.

4. K-19: The Widowmaker

The $100 million success of The Sum of All Fears shows that audiences aren't afraid of movies dealing with potential nuclear fallout. Harrison Ford doesn't hurt K-19's chances of success, either. Advertising has picked up lately, but considering the names involved, this is one summer film that has been under the radar, so to speak. This may very well be one of the quietest blockbusters of the summer.

3. Reign of Fire

Dragons are cool. That's the basic selling point for this movie. But it's a big one. The ads have as good a money shot as there is nowadays. Matthew McConaughey and Christian Bale aren't exactly the biggest draws., so it's the effects that are taking center stage. It's a perfect post-July 4th film. Remember, dragons are cool.

2. Austin Powers in Goldmember

Mike Myers goes to the well one more time, and will once again laugh all the way to the bank. It'll have the innuendo that the kids go crazy for, and plenty of higher-brow gags at which no one except me will laugh. The $54.5 million opening of the sequel exceeded all expectations, but this won't be sneaking up on anyone. It may not end up with the same final tally as The Spy Who Shagged Me, but New Line won't mind.

1. Men in Black 2

Here come the Men in Black. *clap clap* Returning for a sequel. *clap clap* Okay, enough of that. It's been five years since the original, but that did $84 million over the five-day holiday weekend, a ridiculous number for 1997. Returning all the primary players, having just as much marketing muscle as the first film, and opening at the same time, MIIB's five-day take will be quite a bit more than the original's.

  • Read Kim Hollis' July forecast
  • Read Dan Krovich's July forecast
  • Read Reagen Sulewski's July forecast



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