May 2005 Forecast

By Michael Bentley

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1. Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

All you George Lucas haters out there can almost breathe a sigh of relief. Nearly 30 years after the original landed in theaters and helped to change Hollywood and moviemaking forever, the last installment in the Star Wars saga opens this month. Years in the making, we finally get to see Anakin Skywalker's descent into evil and the Dark Side. The prequel trilogy has been thoroughly mocked and derided by many - fans and critics alike - but expect a big opening for the Sith. Repeat business by the fan boys will be crucial. The word-of-mouth will make or break the film in the long run over the summer movie season. Early buzz indicates that it is the best of the three prequels. Expect this to challenge Spider-Man and The Matrix Reloaded for one of the biggest opening weekends ever.

Opening weekend prediction: $95/$130 million (three-day and four-day).

2. Madagascar

Let's see. Madagascar is:

  1. a CGI-animated film;
  2. from the studio behind the megahits Shrek and Shrek 2;
  3. features some big-time voice talent including Chris Rock, Ben Stiller, David Schwimmer, and Cedric the Entertainer;
  4. opens during the lucrative Memorial Day Weekend; and
  5. just flat-out looks like a fun movie!

It is about a group of zoo animals that break free to look for their missing friend and end up back in the wild. Yeah, I think DreamWorks Animation may have another moneymaker on their hands. Count me in.

Opening weekend: $65/$85 million (three-day and four-day).

3. The Longest Yard

In unison: "Another remake?!?" Yes, another remake - this one of the 1974 pigskin classic, starring former Florida State running back Burt Reynolds, where a team of prison guards takes on the inmates in a football game. This time Adam Sandler and Chris Rock star, and Burt is back as the coach. The Longest Yard also opens Memorial Day Weekend, in what is shaping up to be perhaps the biggest box office weekend ever. When Sandler does the kind of film that his fans want to see, he is a consistently strong draw.

Opening weekend: $45/$58 million (three-day and four-day).

4. Kicking & Screaming

Will Ferrell stars as the coach of a kid�s soccer team. If you are looking for the bawdiness of an Old School or even Anchorman, this one may not be for you. But with a PG-rating, expect it to pull in more families and soccer moms. This one could be a winner.

Opening weekend: $28 million.

5. Kingdom of Heaven

Kingdom of Heaven is the newest big-budget historical epic from Ridley Scott. This one takes place in the Holy Land during the Crusades and stars Orlando Bloom as a man who leads his people into battle. The trailers for this remind me very much of Gladiator and Braveheart. The former was also directed by Scott, but even more noteworthy is that both of those films were also released in May and both went on to win the Oscar for Best Picture. I don't know yet if Kingdom will be as good as those, but it should still get plenty of action in the local multiplex.

Opening weekend: $27 million.

6. Monster-in-Law

J. Lo! No, she's not the monster of the title. That would be Jane Fonda. This "chick flick" is about an unlucky-in-love young woman who finally meets Mr. Right. And then she meets his mother (that would be Fonda). Lopez has starred in some romantic comedies before (including Maid in Manhattan, Shall We Dance, and The Wedding Planner) but none have had blockbuster-type success. Even so, it's been a while since we've had a decent date movie and spring is in the air...

Opening weekend: $22 million.

7. House of Wax

Paris Hilton is in this movie. Yikes. That alone may make it the scariest horror film of the year.

Opening weekend: $21 million.

8. Unleashed

This is an interesting film. Unleashed stars Jet Li as a slave who is taught extreme fighting skills (and nothing else) and earns money in illegal fights for his owner. After his captor is injured in an accident, he is unleashed and meets up with a blind piano man (played by Morgan Freeman). This should have some pretty wicked fight scenes and should bring in a healthy number of young people to the theaters.

Opening weekend: $10 million.

9. Crash

Crash is a controversial picture about some people with a fetish for car accidents. Oh� wait� wrong one. From the award-winning scribe behind Mystic River, Paul Haggis, Crash is about a group of people in Los Angeles and how their lives come crashing together. There are a few big names in this including Branden Fraser, Don Cheadle, and Sandra Bullock. This will definitely be a good alternative choice for adults.

Opening weekend: $7 million.

10. Mindhunters

Renny Harlin, the mastermind behind such classics as Cutthroat Island, The Long Kiss Goodnight, Driven, and The Exorcist: The Beginning, brings us Mindhunters. This is about a group of FBI profilers and their hunt to catch as serial killer. The catch is that one of them is the killer. Sure, the premise sounds okay but I have to ask: why the heck do studios continue to sign Renny Harlin? It boggles the mind.

Opening weekend: $5 million.

Just Under the Radar

Layer Cake

Mmm... layered cake.

Dominion: A Prequel to the Exorcist

A.K.A. The Exorcist: The Version You Weren't Allow to See Before. Paul Schrader's attempt at bringing the Exorcist prequel to the screen is finally released. And in what is surely a BOP forecast first, Renny Harlin is mentioned twice in one column. Think about that.

Marty Doskins's May Forecast
John Hamann's May Forecast
David Mumpower's May Forecast
John Seal's May Forecast



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