June 2009 Forecast

By Michael Lynderey

June 5, 2009

She's the fakest Transformer of all.

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Opening weekend: $35 million / Total gross: $110 million

3. The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 (June 12th)

There is almost no actor working right now with as consistent a record as Denzel Washington. Throughout the last several years, he's been able to deliver one solid hit after the next, pretty much all of them thrillers. This one should be no exception. The addition of John Travolta ups the ante some; he's certainly coming off some big recent films, like Wild Hogs (I didn't say good recent films). The direction is by Tony Scott, who helmed Washington's Man on Fire, Deja Vu, and Crimson Tide. In being a summer remake starring Washington, Pelham reminds one immediately of The Manchurian Candidate, a good film that delivered $65 million in 2004, a tally lower than some expected. Out of all of Denzel's recent releases, though, this one may most resemble Inside Man, which also had a hostage situation plot and several name co-stars to bring up the box office. I'm a little torn right now as to whether Pelham is going to get to $100 million - on the one hand, all the pieces seem to be in place, but on the other, something about the trailer feels a little dour and unexciting, and the look of the film is somewhat on the cheerless side. Reviews are going to be the deciding factor in just how well Pelham will do.

Opening weekend: $37 million / Total gross: $95 million

4. Land of the Lost (June 5th)

Land of the Lost sounds like the kind of movie that would have been made as a safe, family-friendly PG adventure in the 1990s, with perhaps the likes of Tea Leoni and Kurt Russell leading a gaggle of kids into un-menacing confrontations with the prehistoric outdoors. Unfortunately, times have changed, and what the 1970s series has been adapted as is a pot-headed comedy starring Will Ferrell, Danny McBride, and not a child actor in sight! That's what makes this project so odd, and such a potential challenge when it comes to achieving box office success: Without the presence of an actor they can relate to, Land of the Lost has a lot less kid appeal than last year's similar Journey to the Center of the Earth; and a movie about dinosaur adventures is a little out there for fans of the Ferrell-McBride school of comedies (exemplified by the likes of Step Brothers and Pineapple Express). The special effects, for their part, seem more comically corny than spectacular. For now, I'll say this one scores under $100 million; the aforementioned Step Brothers only just made it to the three-digit mark last summer, and if reviews aren't on this one's side, I could see it being a box office disappointment, especially if the studio has $100 million+ expectations.


Opening weekend: $31 million / Total gross: $74 million

5. The Hangover (June 5th)

The Hangover is a likely contender to be the sleeper hit of the month, and it's a movie that's hard to predict, at least in terms of how low or high it can go. A comedy about a couple of friends recovering from a wild night out in Vegas, the buzz on this has been growing quietly but firmly. A comparison could be made to Adventureland, but that film couldn't wake up the box office despite absolutely excellent reviews and a director with a reputation for hit comedies. Still, the summer atmosphere should be more welcoming, and as we seem to have established with last year's What Happens in Vegas and 21, movies set in Las Vegas usually do well. The cast - Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis - is effectively unknown, although Cooper is definitely on the rise. The movie's box office run may ultimately be similar to the same director's Old School, another movie that was a surprise word-of-mouth hit. Like that film, The Hangover may well introduce some comedy stars who are going to be around for a while.

Opening weekend: $17 million / Total gross: $65 million

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