May 2010 Forecast

By Michael Lynderey

May 7, 2010

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Two mega-blockbusters, a few more solid hits, and one or two also-rans to make the other movies look even better. That's the gameplan for May 2010, and it's not out of the norm. The real box office intrigue this month is going to come from a certain big-budget historical epic, and it's not the one you'd think.

1. Iron Man 2 (May 7, 2010)

Welcome to the biggest movie of the year, delivered right smack dab at summer's start, and on the same weekend that's been lorded over by Marvel Comics since 2007 (a spot Marvel's already reserved all the way through 2012, at the least). And what does Iron Man 2 appear to deliver? Solid, efficient sequelizing, making no noticeable mistakes and bringing back everything that worked the first time around, while adding just enough extra to keep us at attention. Aside from the dutiful returns of Gwyneth Paltrow and Robert Downey, Jr. (now a mega-, mega-, mega-star), you've got the occasional casting change (hey, that's not Terrence Howard!), and the additions of an Oscar nominee-turned-comic book villain (Mickey Rourke) and a hard-working ingenue (Scarlett Johansson) who finally gets an $100 million movie to her name (and a $200 million movie, for that matter, and $300 million... ) Now, since the original Iron Man opened with that still inexplicable $102 million, I'm at a bit of loss in predicting this one. After all, when the first movie opens like its own sequel should have, what do you do for an encore? How about taking on The Dark Knight's opening record? Good plan. Will Iron Man 2 break that record? You bet. Why? I don't know. Why not?

Opening weekend: $159 million / Total gross: $412 million


2. Shrek Forever After (May 21, 2010)

Another three years gone, another Shrek sequel dutifully awaiting us on the third weekend of May. It's been a tradition since 2001, although this go-around has assured mankind that it will be the last. For the plot, they've recruited one of those It's a Wonderful Life scenarios that's been recycled over and over again since 1946, wherein the underappreciated oaf discovers how downright innutritious things would be if he'd never existed (I strongly disagree with this plot point - if Shrek had never been made, we wouldn't have had to sit through the endless barrage of CGI blockbusters that I believe will dominate most, if not all, of 21st century animation). Among the additions finding their way into this installment, you've got a new villain - the malevolent, red-haired Rumpelstiltskin (who's surprisingly not voiced by a star actor) - along with a plump version of Puss in Boots, and the obligatory cameo by that wily megalomaniacal menace known only as Three-dee. Is that enough to inspire the sagging box office for this series? Perhaps, but there's no doubt that the fat lady (who may well be an ogre herself) is just about to sing this franchise out of existence. But Shrek is Shrek, and he's still got enough capital with his target audience to turn out yet another $200 million earner, at minimum, especially with the added (or make that addled) ticket prices supplied by 3D. Could this be the lowest-grossing Shrek film of them all? Absolutely. That's not out of the question. But more likely than not, it'll come in somewhere between parts 1 and 3.

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