July 2009 Forecast

By Michael Lynderey

July 3, 2009

Ron just found out that he'll be having to ride the special bus.

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7) The Ugly Truth (July 24th)

Katherine Heigl's quest to become the next big leading woman continues (or, has she already succeeded?). Judd Apatow made her a star in Knocked Up, and now here she is competing with his new film. Originally slotted for April 3rd, then kicked up to a plump summer slot, this is easily going to fill the romantic comedy niche that's hungering for new material. Gerard Butler is a decent foil - he had some success in the genre with P.S., I Love You. The direction is by Robert Luketic, who helmed Monster In-Law and Legally Blonde. So, like the Proposal before it, the Ugly Truth has all the right elements lined up for a hit. While I don't see a $100 million tally at this point, I'm ready (though not willing) to be proven wrong.

Opening weekend: $30 million / Total gross: $93 million

8. Aliens in the Attic (July 31st)
If you put together blubbery aliens, Ashley Tisdale, some crafty marketing and a few well-placed trailers, you may be pleasantly surprised at the box office take. I think that's what's going to happen here. Aliens in the Attic is the kind of movie that looks like silly, absolutely harmless summer fun, and that's a good description if you're trying to bring in family audiences. Will being released only a week after G-Force hurt it? Absolutely. But it should still do well. By the way, I liked the film's original title, "They Came from Upstairs", a little better.

Opening weekend: $25 million / Total gross: $68 million

9) I Love You, Beth Cooper (July 10th)

One of the few teen movies to open this summer. It's based on a book of the same name, but something about the release date and marketing reminds me a little of John Tucker Must Die, a mild hit ($41 million) in July 2006. I was fairly surprised to see that the direction is by Chris Columbus, who's usually making higher profile fare than this. I Love You, Beth Cooper is basically positioned as a star vehicle for Hayden Panettiere, who's transitioning from some TV show to starring roles in film; her presence, coupled with the trailers - effective in targeting the right demographic - should add up to a modest run.

Opening weekend: $21 million / Total gross: $50 million


10) Orphan (July 24th)

Boy, I almost can't believe they went and made this one again. Yes, it's another Spawn of Satan movie - another unholy child harassing his/her parents, their friends, the local postman or librarian who figures out the child is evil, and so on. Peter Sarsgaard and Vera Farmiga play the parents. Wait a minute, Vera Farmiga?!? Wasn't she already in one of these? She played the mother in Joshua, an evil child movie from two years ago. Talk about typecasting. That film ended with her under lock and key in a mental institution, while her husband was flailing about helplessly in Central Park. Better luck this time. The villain here is a little girl the couple adopts – that was also the set-up for The Godsend (1980), not to be confused with Godsend (2004), which was about an evil little boy, alas. The point is, I think, that those same masses of teenagers that turned up for every single horror movie this year (except for the only good one, Drag Me to Hell) are going to show up for Orphan. Unless, that is, this film gets good reviews. In that case, foggedaboutit.

Opening weekend: $15 million / Total gross: $36 million

11) (500) Days of Summer (July 17th)

This one stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel, so you know it's not exactly Transformers 3. The Indie people are hyping this one in epic proportions. Why, I don't know. Did it get good reviews at Sundance or something? I guess so. Happens a lot at Sundance, that. Oh well. We all know Indie hype means zero to nothing for movie box office, at least if you're trying to outgross Orphan. As of late June, (500) Days of Summer is listed as opening wide. I would not advise this. Platform it. Maybe then it can reach the $10 million mark. But it still won't outgross Orphan, or anything else on this list. Except for...

12) I Hate Valentine's Day (July 3rd)

There's a reason I chose to write about this film - which doesn't even have a Wikipedia page yet, for Pete's sake: it's yet another comeback vehicle for Nia Vardalos. Yes, believe it or not, she's already back. Scheduling this just a month after the distinct failure of My Life in Ruins is a mistake. Yes, it's opening in a limited release only, but even so - and especially with that title - a later date, like February, would be an improvement. Valentine's Day sees the reunion of Vardalos with her Big Fat Greek Wedding co-star, John Corbett. But does that really matter at this point? Only good reviews can save this.

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