June 2004 Forecast
By Marty Doskins
The summer season was officially kicked off last month and we’re definitely well underway here in June. This month there are long-awaited sequels, remakes, and original screenplays. There are movies the whole family can see, “chick flicks”, adventures, and science fiction. As you can see, there’s something for everyone.
And now, let’s move on to my Top 10.
1. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
As in May, there seems to be little doubt which film is going to have the biggest opening weekend. The third film in the Harry Potter series finally comes to theaters all across the country. Most of the cast has returned, but Michael Gambon replaces the late Richard Harris as Headmaster Albus Dumbledore. There are also some wonderful additions to the cast, including Emma Thompson as the “out there” Professor Trelawney and Gary Oldman as the dreaded escaped convict Sirius Black.
Christopher Columbus also stepped down from his directorial duties of the first two films. That role has been turned over to the very capable director Alfonso Cuaron (Y Tu Mama Tambien). He has added his own personal touch to this somewhat darker film and it looks to have paid off.
There have been commercials and trailers for this film, but if you’re a true Harry Potter fan, you didn’t need to be convinced to see this film. The audience for this film is enormous and is continually expanding, as is evidenced by the adults I have seen reading the books during my daily light-rail train ride. This film is number one with a bullet!
2. The Chronicles of Riddick
Another long-awaited sequel shows up here at number two on my list. The cult hit Pitch Black launched Vin Diesel on his way to stardom, but his star power has faded a bit lately. I think he really needs to have this film do well to get his popularity back or he may fade away.
The commercials for this film look like they captured the essence of Pitch Black, but have expanded the use of modern special effects technology. If you haven’t seen it, do yourself a favor and run down to your video store and pick up Pitch Black. It should give you a great introduction to this sequel.
3. Stepford Wives
There’s quite a bit of name power behind this picture. First, you have the title. This is a remake of the controversial 1975 film starring Katharine Ross and Peter Masterson. Second, there is the director Frank Oz. He has made several quality pictures, including the 1986 version of Little Shop of Horrors and What About Bob?. Finally, the cast features the beautiful and talented Nicole Kidman, Broadway and Hollywood star Matthew Broderick, and the legendary Christopher Walken.
I think all of the above will add up to a successful release. Plus, there’s been a lot of exposure for this movie on TV. The stars have been making the entertainment media circuit and there have been new clips being shown everywhere. The studio is really putting the cash behind this one. Hopefully it’ll pay off for them.
4. The Terminal
I don’t know if a person could be detained in an airport terminal for weeks on end like in this film, but it sounds interesting. There’s also the uber-combination of Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg that may play somewhat into the box office numbers. Add a sprinkling of Catherine Zeta-Jones and I think there should be some decent weekend numbers put up.
I worry a little about the commercials and trailers though. They’ve both been showing almost exactly the same things. This makes me worry because this often means that the funny or good stuff has been all used up. Let’s hope that’s not the case this time.
5. The Notebook
This is the “chick flick” that has a potential for success this month. If you read the latest BOP Feedback column, you saw that the BOP “water cooler” poll of our female staff members showed they had little or no interest in seeing this one. However, I think there’s definitely more possibilities than those poll results indicate.
The cast includes a couple young stars in Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams. Plus, the writer can use the flashback story style in a variety of ways, which can lead to wonderful storytelling. I also think that there’s always an audience out there for this genre. I definitely think that our poll results won’t represent the feelings of the general populace in this case.
6. Around the World in 80 Days
Jackie Chan’s run into a little streak of bad luck with his films lately. He hopes to break out his slump with this Disney picture. But he doesn’t have to carry this whole film on his shoulders. He stars as the assistant to the great adventurer Phineas Fogg (Steve Coogan).
Having the marketing power of the Disney Company behind this film will definitely help at the box office. The trailers have been showing for a while now and there’s some push on TV as well. However, I think this one’s going to lag a little behind some of the other features this month. Coogan and Chan just don’t have the strength to draw in audiences like some other star combinations these days.
7. Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story
I think this one’s either going to be really funny or really stupid; I’m hoping for funny. I really like Ben Stiller and I really like dodgeball. I bet these two can be put together to make a humorous movie.
But I wonder how many people will be scared off by Stiller’s way-over-the-top character. He’s always been pretty intense with his roles and this one’s no exception. He can be off-putting with his acting style and I think that’ll keep the box office numbers down a bit on this one.
8. White Chicks
The Wayans family brings their talents to the big screen. They already have a built-in fan base from their various popular and funny TV shows and also their previous theatrical efforts. Keenan has always done a good job behind the camera and Shawn and Marlon are a scream in front. I thought about putting this one a bit higher in my monthly rankings, but the strong summer season is going to move it down a bit. The movie would’ve done the same business in terms of money at any time of the year, but there are more movies that will outdraw it in the summer.
9. Garfield: The Movie
How bad does this one look?
I don’t have much to say about this film other than there will be some kids out of school that will beg their parents to see this one. I feel sorry for those parents that are going get dragged along.
10. Two Brothers
Another family film is going to get left behind this summer. While I’m a sucker for the animal genre, not everyone shares that same enthusiasm. Many of these films find new life on video and I think that’s what will happen here.
This really has the look of a heartwarming movie. I liked it when I did the original write-up and I loved when I saw it come to life in the trailer. I know I’m anxious for this one, but I’m afraid that not many others are.
Dan Krovich's Indie June Forecast
Stephanie Star Smith's June Forecast