June 2009 Forecast
By David Mumpower
June 5, 2009
1) Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
Some of these aren't rocket science. Transformers is almost a billion dollar winner before we factor in toy sales and other ancillary revenues. The title earned $319.2 million domestically, making it the 20th most successful title of all time. It earned worldwide receipts of $700+ million, one of only 31 titles to ever accomplish such an impressive feat. What's remarkable is how dominant the title was on the home video market. It single-handedly kept HD-DVD competitive when it was an exclusive on that format, much to the dismay of its own director, Michael Bay, a Blu-Ray disciple. In total, DVD and next-generation DVD sales have totaled over $275 million thus far. Even The Dark Knight hasn't managed that feat to date, falling some $55 million short. No matter what you may personally feel about the first Transformers title, any known financial measure would indicate it is one of the most beloved titles of the last 20 years, making Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen one of the easiest movies to sell in recent memory. There exists the possibility that it earns more over its debut than the entirety of the other new releases of June manages in combined opening revenue. The difference between first and second place this month is the difference between shooting a bullet and throwing it.
2) The Hangover
A month and a half ago, I did not see this title as being anything more than a smallish performer that seemed destined to become a sleeper hit on home video. As I have watched the June box office landscape develop, I have taken on a different perspective of this title relative to some of the other contenders. Neither of the caveman films strikes me as a hit and I question whether The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 will do anything more than $65 million domestically. That leaves second place open for that surprise film along the lines of There's Something About Mary or possibly even Knocked Up. Raucous comedies have that strange ability to come out of nowhere and become the Cinderella story of the season. If you have seen the trailer, I feel confident that you found yourself thinking, "That's a LOT better than I had expected. Also, Mike Tyson's Rock Band practice has really paid off." Buzz on this film has been so positive over the past quarter that Bradley Cooper has gone from a guy who couldn't get anyone to watch Kitchen Confidential to potentially a superhero in a big budget adaptation of Green Lantern. If this film is big enough, that role is his for the taking, and I strongly suspect that's exactly what we are about to see play out. The Hangover is about to put a lot of obscure actors on the map.
3) The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3
Denzel Washington's track record, while excellent, is not as bulletproof as you may assume. Antwone Fisher, Out of Time, and The Great Debates average about $31 million between them. This title has something going for it in that John Travolta is the bad guy and people want to see horrible things happen to John Travolta. I know I do. Because of this selling point, I see the movie overcoming the rather dull trailers to earn box office somewhere between Deja Vu ($64.0 million) and Inside Man ($88.6 million). In a weak month where I don't see a second $100 million movie, I feel that will be enough to finish in the top three.