June 2010 Forecast
By Michael Lynderey
June 4, 2010

The claw is about to choose!

June 2010 appears relatively massive, with a slow streak ending on the 18th and giving way to an escalation of blockbusters - in what looks to be 15 days of supergargantuan box office. As usual, the month's sequels take the top two spots.

1. Toy Story 3 (June 18, 2010)

When the name of the film is "Toy Story 3", what else does one really have to say? It's been leading up to this for these last 11 years, as Toy Story fans hungered for a sequel, and had their appetite sated only with one brilliant (or so I'm told) Pixar film after the other. But now here is that holy grail at last, and its credentials are certainly impeccable: it's written by Michael Arndt, of Little Miss Sunshine fame, it's got almost the entire original voice cast back (I can almost hear the box office numbers ballooning as I type this), and it appears to be loaded with frankly Shrekian humor (the Barbie and Ken bits). Oh, and, by the way, it's in 3D. Ka-ching. To be honest, my interest in the film is purely professional: Toy Story 3 represents what I believe to be the summer's last college try at beating Alice in Wonderland for the title of highest grossing film of 2010. So, just how high can it go? Will anything stop Pixar from their plans of world domination? I already know the answer to the second question. It's the first that we'll have to wait a few weeks to resolve.

Opening weekend: $127 million / Total gross: $370 million

2. The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (June 30, 2010)

The month's other big sequel, and one that's not nearly as likely to break out into the really big digits. Topically enough, Twilight 3's trailers seem to position it as a summer action film - vampires vs. werewolves and so on - with the soppy love triangle stuff going somewhat on the down-lo this time, at least at first glance. The Twilight fanbase does not appear to have dwindled in number any, and the seven months since the last picture ought to have been long enough to re-charge their appetites. On the minus side, there's no new Taylor Lautner being added to the mix this time around (just the old Taylor Lautner, along with the rest of the cast, making their dutiful returns). I believe the series' high point is behind us, but of course, one thing the Twilight films have indulged in doing is proving box office analysts wrong again, and again - and again?

Opening weekend: $165 million (five-day) / Total gross: $276 million

3. The A-Team (June 11, 2010)

I don't know much about the original series, other than the fact of its existence, but The A-Team is looking like prime rib action stuff to me. It has snapped up some rising stars from last summer (Bradley Cooper, Sharlto Copley), along with a grizzled veteran (Liam Neeson), an unknown newcomer in the role of a semi-iconic character (Quinton "Rampage" Jackson), and some intriguingly cast supporting players (Jessica Biel, as the feisty love interest, and Patrick Wilson, perhaps finally finding his niche as a villain). Occasional doses of comic relief appear to abound, and it's all produced by not just Ridley but also Tony Scott, giving it some unchallenged credibility in its genre. In short, The A-Team is clearly being positioned as your granddaddy's basic good old-fashioned summer blockbuster (in this scenario, granddaddy would have been about 15 in 2001), and so it will be. Could $200 million be in the works somehow? It's doubtful, but plans do often have ways of coming together.

Opening weekend: $57 million / Total gross: $143 million

4. Grown Ups (June 25, 2010)

Now this is what I like to see: big stars teaming up in a summer blockbuster that's geared at least somewhat towards adults, and isn't based off a TV show, comic book, late 1980s film, or YouTube sketch. This one's got Adam Sandler, returning to his roots after last year's somber Funny People; Kevin James, coming off the massive bout of blockbuster inexplicability that was Paul Blart and getting ready to launch his own streak of Sandler-esque hits (trust me, they're coming); Chris Rock, foiled again recently in Death at a Funeral; and perpetual hangers-on Rob Schneider and David Spade, mixing it up with some choice supporting actresses (Salma Hayek, Maria Bello, Maya Rudolph, and whoever it is that plays Schneider's somewhat older beloved). Let there be no mistake: I don't think Grown Ups will be this decade's City Slickers. Not even close. But there's something to be said for it all the same, and the box office should certainly live up to what we've come to expect from Sandler's June escapades. The presence of James will be a buffer.

Opening weekend: $48 million / Total gross: $138 million

5. Knight & Day (June 25, 2010)

Here's a special occasion: Knight & Day marks Tom Cruise's first headlining role in a summer movie since Mission: Impossible III back in 2006, and it's got Cameron Diaz, too. Of course, many box office analysts seem to believe that Cruise's clout has been hurt some because of whatever off-screen behavior he has dabbled in; this is an opinion that I do not share, especially considering that none of his 2001-2004 films did much better than his 2006-2008 releases (as a matter of fact, his highest grossing film, War of the Worlds, was released in the key month of June 2005). That said, I'm a little mixed on this particular title's fortunes, especially considering what a crowded menagerie of certain blockbusters it's being dropped right into the middle of. This type of action movie - one that's based on the appeal of a star, rather than that of a pre-established property - has been waning lately, and it's going to take some real quality on the film's part to bring it up to Mr. & Mrs. Smith numbers, especially when faced against Twilight, Toy Story, and the Sandler-James beach party. Keep your fingers crossed.

Opening weekend: $39 million / Total gross: $109 million

6. The Karate Kid (June 11, 2010)

We're now working our way through remaking the summer of 1984, and The Karate Kid is an inevitable stop along the way. So, what has this particular redo brought us? Jackie Chan is perhaps too obvious a choice for his role, but Taraji P. Henson is always welcome, and, as the son of Jada Pinkett and Will Smith, Jaden Smith is of course a full-blooded movie star, at least by birth. I don't know how much of an appetite there is for Karate Kid '10, but it ought to get kids intrigued enough to check it out, even if it doesn't have much appeal to older folk. There's some good early critical buzz, so legs aren't out of the question. And in general, summer seems like the right time for this plot - moving to China and having adventures and learning karate on the Great Wall - that sort of thing. Doesn't often happen in November, say, or April, does it?

Opening weekend: $22 million / Total gross: $78 million

7. Get Him to the Greek (June 4, 2010)

This one's rolling into town with one clear goal in mind: to introduce the seemingly very workable pairing of Jonah Hill and Russell Brand, rematched from Forgetting Sarah Marshall (Hill is not evidently playing the same character, although it really doesn't make a difference), with Brand's unbridled vulgarian pitted amusingly against Hill's repressed straightman. Outside of Superbad, neither member of this particular comic pairing has really headlined a film before, though both are currently conspiring to repeatedly do so, with Brand especially looking to become a much better known comic persona stateside. Greek is also 2010's sole Judd Apatow movie (he's one of the producers), but unlike some of his more successful films, there's no clear romantic angle to appeal to women. But hey, critics seem to like it, so I see good things for this one, if not quite blockbuster-level reception.

Opening weekend: $22 million / Total gross: $61 million

8. Killers (June 4, 2010)

She's back. Katherine Heigl, that reigning queen of leading ladies (at least when it comes to the under-40 set), has now found herself in cahoots with Ashton Kutcher, who seems a good foil, especially coming off two recent hits (Valentine's Day, What Happens in Vegas). The whole thing is helmed by Robert Luketic, who certainly has a history with female-aimed hit summer films, having previously unleashed Legally Blonde, Monster-In-Law, and Heigl's own The Ugly Truth (the title was a lie: that truth wasn't nearly so unattractive). So, we're good on the background here, but something about the trailer seems a little sour, and the plot is frighteningly similar to that of Knight & Day, even if the action here appears to be decidedly more comic than kinetic. Still, I like Heigl, so let's give her the benefit of the doubt, even if the film did put its foot down and refuse to be screened for critics.

Opening weekend: $17 million / Total gross: $45 million

9. Marmaduke (June 4, 2010)

This month's talking canine movie, though we all know that it's really just marking time until the much-anticipated Cats & Dogs 2. As is always the case in these films, the human roles aren't exactly the highlight, and thus Marmaduke's vocal talent is headlined by Owen Wilson's laid-back sarcasm, along with an army of the usual suspects (George Lopez, Steve Coogan, Fergie, and a Wayans brother), here to give voice to furry fiends of every vocation. Not much else about Marmaduke stands out, but as I keep telling whoever'll listen, movies about cute, talking animals and their precious little misadventures always do at least pretty well. It's just part of life.

Opening weekend: $14 million / Total gross: $43 million

10. Jonah Hex (June 18, 2010)

I can't say that I didn't always have a bad feeling about this one, but Jonah Hex does have something going for it: the script is by Neveldine and Taylor, the makers of none other than Crank: High Voltage - which was demented but sort of brilliant - and Gamer - which came in mostly on the demented side. As far as cast goes, it's got Josh Brolin leading the way, along with Megan Fox as a gun-wielding hooker (possibly with a heart of gold), John Malkovich as his usually hiss-inspiring bad guy, and Michael Shannon, providing no doubt even more abundant villainy. It's all fairly conventional as summer movies go, and old west tales have a tendency to disappoint at the box office - or at the least the ones with fantasy elements do. Opening opposite Toy Story 3 may be the cinematic version of putting up a white flag.

Opening weekend: $14 million / Total gross: $31 million

11. Splice (June 4, 2010)

Here's a strange story - I don't mean the plot of the film, but the plot behind it. See, Splice is a vaguely Canadianish low-budget horror movie that was originally scheduled for limited release last September, but was rescued by a major studio and injected into the summer big leagues. There aren't a whole lot of draws in the cast: just Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley (last seen on a multitude of American screens way back in 2004, in Dawn of the Dead); but Splice is produced by Guillermo del Toro and helmed by Vincenzo Natali (Cube), so it's definitely got some genre cred - and the critics have so far mostly been nodding approvingly. That's something, but sometimes, rags-to-riches stories only go so far.

Opening weekend: $10 million / Total gross: $24 million