May 2015 Box Office Forecast
By Michael Lynderey
April 30, 2015
The first month of summer season 2015 is defined by the inevitable (Avengers), the possible (Tomorrowland), and the improbable (Mad Max: Fury Road?). There's a notably diverse slate of releases, offering two comedies and a musical along with the usual action spectacles. But there's no question that one film looms above all rest.
1. Avengers: Age of Ultron (May 1st)
The sequel no one was asking for (I'm reasonably sure) arrives at last, ready to assume its mantle as the biggest film of the year (or at least until December; can Star Wars 7 overtake it? Or if Clint Eastwood and Bradley Cooper make another movie?). I can't help but feel that Avengers 2's shine has been dimmed somewhat by the massive success of Furious 7, much like Thor (2011) had his thunder stolen by the breakout run of Fast Five (puns not intended. I would never!). Still, this franchise, these characters, and the whole doggone Marvel Cinematic Universe are all immensely popular, so much so that interconnecting-universe filmmaking has redefined big-budget tentpole movies across the board (funny, I always thought all movies were already set in the same place, even when that doesn't make any sense).
In so far as the film itself goes, the gang's all back together again, off to combat Ultron, an animated robot sourpuss who out of sheer tedium has decided to exterminate the whole human race (dogs, too). On the one hand, Ultron seems like he's just marking time until Josh Brolin's constipated-looking Thanos arrives in the next two Avengers movies (as I understand it, Thanos has concocted a dastardly plot to exterminate the whole human race! He's an American original).
On the other hand, Avengers 2 will still be huge, even though I do expect it to fall under the first film's James Cameron-like $623 million, even if not by much. The film will, however, break the opening weekend record to such a degree that it will be impossible to break it again, except by another Avengers film. Marvel fatigue will set in some day, one day. But that day is right now far from sight.
Opening weekend: $235 million / Total gross: $573 million
2. Tomorrowland (May 22nd)
In a month with many smaller-scale (relatively speaking) titles, Tomorrowland stands out clearly as the box office middle ground between the Avengers and the rest. Nothing else this month has much of a plausible path to $200 million. Tomorrowland is helmed by Brad Bird, a strong director with a track record worth advertising (in particular The Iron Giant and Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol). It is headlined by George Clooney, who's almost entirely avoided big-budget special effects films, and by Britt Robertson, an up-and-comer who carried the decent if unexceptional The Longest Ride just a few weeks back. Somewhat Tron-like, the film is still shrouded in a lot of mystery, and reviews, which will be important, could technically go either way. I wager they'll vote yes. The film is handled by Disney, which more than any other film studio has dominated 2010s popular culture, so to underestimate Tomorrowland's prospects is probably unwise.