May 2009 Forecast

By Shane Jenkins

May 1, 2009

I'm Michael Vick and you're all puppy dogs.

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Hey, it's summer! Well, Hollywood summer anyway...

It's been a fantastic year so far at the box office, with one movie or another outperforming expectations almost every weekend. I'm curious to see if the trend continues with this summer's crop of mega-blockbusters. I mean, if Fast & Furious can rack up $70 million off-season, who knows what kind of numbers we might be looking at once the big guns start rolling out? And oh man, are the guns ever big (is Hugh Jackman part ox or what? Jeez.)! Let's get to the predicting!

1) Terminator Salvation

May is full of sci-fi heavy hitters, but I'm giving the edge to John Connor and his robot troubles. Despite the cyborgs and time travel stuff inherent in the story, I get the feeling that this will be more accessible to non-geeks than Star Trek or Wolverine. Six years ago, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines opened to over $40 million in spite of lackluster trailers and the presence of Claire Danes. I think the bar has been raised quite a bit since then, mostly due to Christian Bale taking on the role of Connor just a year after driving the The Dark Knight to record sales. Bale being in the movie almost subliminally makes it seem like a fresh reboot, rather than the straight-up sequel it apparently is. It also helps that the trailers are fantastic. The wild card here is director McG, with only the Charlie's Angels movies and We Are Marshall on his feature film resume. I'm a little nervous that the man behind Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle has been allowed to even be in the same room with cameras, much less given the go-ahead to helm a tentpole sci-fi summer spectacle. I guess we'll know how it works out soon enough.


2) Star Trek

And at the opposite end of the directorial spectrum, at least in my perspective, is JJ Abrams, who I think is doing some of the most interesting stuff around in entertainment (even the issue of Wired he guest-edited was amazing!). His only other feature film directing credit until now has been Mission: Impossible 3, which I believe to be the most underrated action movie of the past five years, but his instincts as a producer are almost inarguably solid (Lost, Cloverfield, etc.). Okay, I'll admit it – I'm geeking out right now about Star Trek, which is easily my most anticipated movie of the summer, and honestly, I'm not even a Trekker; I just like a good space yarn. I think the Trek brand will scare off a few people, but the reviews, which are already pouring in and glowing, should offset that to some degree. Seriously, why isn't it the 8th yet?

3) X-Men Origins: Wolverine

I guess I don't fully get Wolverine. Sure he's got bad-ass claws and everything, but a grunting, mono-syllabic indestructible hero does not make for a very interesting character. It's as if Batman were impervious to harm and never became Bruce Wayne. Yawn. But it's a moot point, because Wolverine is the official start to summer blockbuster season, and interest seems to be high. There is, of course, the much-publicized leaked copy that made it online weeks ahead of the premiere. Fox is right to be concerned, and I think it's going to cost them some viewers, but this is an event picture, designed to be seen in a crowded multiplex of texting teens, and this has proven to be a good year for communal moviegoing. I think ol' Logan's going to be just fine.

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