June 2007 Forecast
By Michael Bentley
June 1, 2007
7) Surf's Up
Penguins were the only good thing about Madagascar. They were cute and fun, and in the short doses that we saw them, we wanted more. Then March of the Penguins was a certified phenomenon. The documentary was a humongous success and showed that penguins aren't just cute, but that they are amazing too. Several copycats and other movies trying to capitalize on the penguin fad later and we arrive at Surf's Up. The animated tale revolves around the fictional Penguin World Surfing Championship and Shia LeBouf (who has a busy year, having already appeared in three-time box office champ Disturbia and also playing a key role in Michael Bay's upcoming Transformers) voices the lead character, a hot up-and-coming surfer. If the movie is actually any good, this could have some of the better legs of the summer season, but don't expect a very large opening as the CGI glut of the last couple years has discouraged some folks. Be forewarned: Jon Heder provides one of the voices.
Opening weekend: $29 million.
8) Hostel: Part II
Are you a teenage or young twenty-something male? Do you like violent, gory horror movies with plenty of guts and nudity? If the answer to both of these questions wasn't yes, then you most likely aren't planning to see Hostel: Part II. Distributor Lionsgate has become a big player over the last few years, in part by feeding young males what they like most: gratuitous violence and nudity. Hostel may well be the next horror franchise a la Saw.
Opening weekend: $22 million.
One of the better movie trailers of the spring was for 1408, starring BOP-favorite John Cusack. Cusack stars as a man who works to debunk various paranormal explanations for unusual occurrences. While writing a book about it, he stays in mythical room 1408 at large New York hotel. Thinking that the stories he has heard about the room are just tall tales, he soon discovers genuine terror. Sam "Mother-f*ing" Jackson plays the hotel manager.
The shocking thing about John Cusack is that despite the fact that he is an actor almost all moviegoers respect and like, he has only been in two movies in his nearly 25 year-long career that have grossed more than $55 million in domestic box office. These were also the only two that have made at least $20 million opening weekend. In case you were wondering, they are America's Sweethearts (due to Julia Roberts) and Con Air (Nic Cage and Michael Bay). Perhaps the most comparable movie to 1408 is Identity, another thriller that starred Cusack and grossed $16 million opening and $52 million total. That was a late April release instead of late June, but I expect similar results.
Opening weekend: $16 million.