July 2009 Forecast
By David Mumpower
July 3, 2009
3) Funny People
The top two films of the July are readily apparent to anyone who follows the business. The debate between the titles in third and fourth place is much more intriguing to me. Adam Sandler is the Movie God of the $100 Million Release. Since November of 1998, he has had ten different films earn at least that much, roughly one a year. In that period, he has also occasionally tried to broaden his range with a couple of melancholy titles, Punch-Drunk Love and Spanglish. The combined box office of those two titles is $60 million. Clearly, people do not enjoy it as much when Sandler isn't performing a piledriver or working a goofy remote. So, where does that leave us with Funny People, a project that aligns the comedian with his longtime friend, Judd Apatow aka Mr. Comedy Blockbuster? The names in the title guarantee a solid box office result. A lot of people feel that this one is going to break out even more, but I worry that the second summer title that focuses on a person's coming to terms with their mortality will not be as readily accepted as the first was. In fact, I came very, very close to making the film just below this #3 instead.
No matter what you think of Sacha Baron Cohen on a personal level, you have to be impressed with what he accomplished with Borat. He somehow managed to make fun of his very target audience in a way that made them celebrate him as their champion. Not content to stop there, Cohen has upped the ante with Bruno, a film that will shove homoeroticism down the throats of his oftentimes homophobic fan-base. Will they be as willing to go along with the bit now? My thought process here is yes...at first. I expect Bruno's opening weekend to be spectacular. Then, anything other than Cloverfield-ian legs will surprise me, even if the movie has great reviews. They can show the iPod Baby all they want in the commercials. The reality is that the Bruno character is super-gay, and he is going to make a lot of (probably hypocritical) 18- to 29-year-old males very, very uncomfortable.
5) Public Enemies
Public Enemies managed something rather impressive on Wednesday. Not only was its first day in theaters a huge hit, it somehow finished in only third place on a weekday with $8.2 million. On a lot of Fridays, that's enough to score a first place result. You know we have a couple of heavyweights in release if an $8.2 million Wednesday gets overshadowed. People love Johnny Depp even more than I thought they did.
I have been laughing about this project for a couple of years now and that is not an exaggeration. Then, I saw Bolt and its breakout star, Rhino, and I had the epiphany that if kids love one hamster, a bunch of similar rat-type-things (what am I, a vet?) anchoring their own movie will do very well. It stopped being funny at that point. G-Force stopped being a punch line and started being a potential Alvin and the Chipmunks type of performer. Okay, that is not going to happen, but if you go to a theater packed with children and watch their reaction to this trailer, you'll see my point. This film is going to be a lot bigger than it has any right to be.