May 2015 Box Office Forecast

By Michael Lynderey

April 30, 2015

Imagine eating Thanksgiving dinner with these people.

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Opening weekend: $74 million (4-day) / Total gross: $240 million

3. San Andreas (May 29th)

It's got a title that could mean anything, but San Andreas is a disaster film whose California setting and "Is that my daughter in there???"-rescue plotline vividly recall Volcano, the sainted Tommy Lee Jones's respectable 1997 disaster title. I'm tempted to call a relatively low number here, but somehow films in this invariably money shot-filled genre always pull themselves up by their bootstraps and into decent final grosses, no matter how generic they look (The Day After Tomorrow and 2012 certainly exceeded my expectations). The concept is almost foolproof, and the film's star, The Rock (sorry, "Dwayne Johnson"), rarely fails to deliver when given a large budget and effects that match his personal scale. A lengthy part in the trailer for Paul Giamatti, star of the greatest film of the 2000s (Sideways), is a large plus and will surely account for most of the box office below.

Opening weekend: $45 million / Total gross: $120 million


4. Poltergeist (May 22nd)

Horror films rarely open in May, but Poltergeist was moved up from a perhaps just slightly drearier July slot to the big Memorial Day weekend, where it might just come close to emulating The Conjuring's performance from July 2013. Looking at the bigger picture, the film's existence means that some very bad man's (or woman's) mission to remake every notable horror film of the 1970s and 1980s draws one step closer to completion (as I recall, when it does, the prophecy will be fulfilled and the armies of hell will be unleashed; so please don't remake Child's Play). This film brings closure, in a way, since it was the Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake that started the redo wave in 2003, and both the original Chainsaw and Poltergeist were helmed by the same man, Tope Hooper. The original Poltergeist was huge in the summer of 1982, while the two sequels decreased consecutively in both quality and box office. It's tough to say how it'll do against Tomorrowland, but talented director Gil Kenan (Monster House) will likely help Poltergeist '15 stand out from the ever present glut of haunted house films.

Opening weekend: $42 million (4-day) / Total gross: $115 million

5. Pitch Perfect 2 (May 15th)

It's the month's other sequel to a shockingly popular 2012 film. The original Pitch Perfect was an only modestly amusing college musical (of sorts) that broke out of nowhere to net $65 million in the fall of 2012, inspiring a hit song in the process (yes, "Cups"). The sequel brings back Anna Kendrick, a modern musical luminary if there ever was one, and Rebel Wilson, whose star power has grown fitfully but steadily since. There's no question this follow-up carries with it a certain aura of anticipation, at least for a particular demographic, even if there aren't any visible gimmicks added in to distinguish it from the original. The first film's wide release opening came in at $14 million, and in theory, it's hard to see that number doubled here. But I think we live a long way past theory now. P.S., I genuinely believe Pitch Perfect 2 will open over Mad Max: Fury Road, which is out on the same weekend. You heard it here first.

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