June 2007 Forecast
By Michael Bentley
June 1, 2007
4) Evan Almighty
Four years ago, no exaggeration necessary, Bruce Almighty became one of the most financially successful comedies of all-time. It shattered even the boldest of analyst's predictions and ended up with over $242 million before all way said and done. For various reasons, star Jim Carrey opted not to do a sequel, so the producers instead signed Steve Carell, who has become a fairly big star of his own after the success of The 40 Year-Old Virgin last year and the ongoing popularity of TV series The Office. Morgan Freeman returns as God, who convinces Carell's character to build an ark and save animals in preparation for the upcoming flood.
If nothing else, Evan Almighty will be a major test of Steve Carell's popularity and star-power. I'm not sure if anyone expects him to duplicate the feat of established actor Carrey, but mega-successes like Bruce and The Passion of the Christ have proven that there is certainly a market for religious-based films that should not be overlooked. However, I say this as someone wasn't enamored with Bruce Almighty (though parts of it were certainly funny), but ...this looks absolutely atrocious.
Opening weekend: $39 million.
5) Ocean's Thirteen
This should be interesting. Ocean's Eleven was a near-perfect popcorn movie. It was quick-moving and action-packed, with likeable and attractive stars, smart and witty dialogue, and yet sometimes-arthouse director Steven Soderberg was still able to infuse his own style into the production. It's a very good movie that holds up quite well to repeat viewings. And then Soderbergh, George Clooney, Brad Pitt and the gang had fun at our own expense. Ocean's Twelve was a disaster on almost every level. Other than the cast, everything that was good and fun about Eleven was gone. Worst of all was a scene of the character played by Julia Roberts talking on the phone to Julia Roberts.
Perhaps realizing their mistake - and perhaps thankful that Warner Bros. gave them a chance at another sequel - Ocean's Thirteen is said to be a return to the fun and style of Ocean's Eleven. Will it be? I don't know, and I imagine that some people will be turned off from the series after the previous disaster. But the trailer does indeed look like a lot of fun and the casting is still incredible - it's a producer's wet dream. After openings of $38 and $39 million, this might come down slightly, but another $100+ million in total box office is still a pretty safe bet.
Opening weekend: $34 million.
6) Knocked Up
Knocked Up writer and director Judd Apatow has certainly become something of a hot commodity in Hollywood over the last couple years. After writing a number of television shows over the years, including such "brilliant but cancelled" shows like Freaks and Geeks and Undeclared, he finally hit pay dirt in 2005 with The 40 Year-Old Virgin. That comedy churned out over $109 million in domestic theater purchases and later became a big success on DVD as well. It was also another in the resurgence of the hit R-rated comedies, which Knocked Up hopes to continue.
Seth Rogen, who of course had a key supporting role with Carell in The 40 Year-Old Virgin, stars with Katherine Heigl (Grey's Anatomy; The Ringer), as a young couple who find out that a baby is on the way after a one-night stand. Rogen isn't exactly a mature adult ready to have a family yet, while Heigl is trying to have a successful career. They decide to try to stick together and make it work, but they aren't exactly made for one another and this inevitably leads to plenty of hijinks. The tone of the film looks like it will be less "laugh out loud" than Virgin but more of straight romantic comedy. But the trailer is funny, the early reviews are good... I have little doubt that this will be the date movie of the summer.
Opening weekend: $30 million.