June 2005 Forecast
By Michael Bentley
1) Batman Begins
After the downward spiral that was Batman Forever and then the dreadful Batman and Robin, Warner Bros. decided enough was enough and we have mercifully not been subjected to another filming of the Caped Crusader in 8 years. But he is back, with a spanking new director, a new star, a new Batmobile, new villains, ...a new everything. Christopher Nolan (the talented helmer of Following, Memento, and Insomnia) attempts to restore some credibility to the once lucrative franchise. The dark trailers have received a fairly positive response. I'm not sold on Christian Bale as the title character but, nevertheless, I anticipate some large opening crowds who are eager to see if things have changed or if everything new is old again. The long-range forecast is foggy and will greatly depend on the early word-of-mouth.
Opening weekend: $63 million + $43 million Wed/Thurs.
2) Mr. and Mrs. Smith
Maybe it's just me, but Mr. and Mrs. Smith doesn't look all that exciting to me. Maybe it's the Brad and Angelina thing - it sort of feels like Gigli all over again (but with some niftier special effects thrown in). That being said, Bragelina does seem a lot more bearable than Bennifer. The trailer has been getting lots of reaction; so I won't be surprised if this one overcomes the romantic angle by the co-stars that has hurt numerous other films in the past.
Opening weekend: $44 million.
3) The Adventures of Shark Boy and Lava Girl in 3D
Robert Rodriguez follows up his breathtaking, ultra-violent noir Sin City by returning to children’s films, where he made his mark with Spy Kids. Shark Boy and Lava Girl actually looks pretty good, and certainly minivan after minivan of young kids will be piling into the local megaplexes to see what they have in store. I'm not sold on the 3D factor, as that always reminds me of trash like Jaws 3-D, but it certainly didn't hurt the numbers on the last Spy Kids movie.
Opening weekend: $34 million.
4) Cinderella Man
Ron Howard has often been kicked around as a director, being criticized for not being edgy enough. The knock on him is that he doesn't have a very distinctive style and his movies are sometimes bland and by-the-book. But the fact of the matter is - The Missing notwithstanding - he has continued to make one darn good film after another. My personal favorite is Apollo 13, but he won an Oscar for A Beautiful Mind and he teams up again with that film's volatile star, Russell Crowe. Crowe is one of Hollywood's finest actors and in fact, for this boxing film about Jim Braddock from the 1930s, I am reminded of Chris Rock's screed at this year's Oscars:
"I think all period pieces should star Russell Crowe. If you doin' a movie about the past, you best get Russell's ass. I don't care if you making a movie about three weeks ago, you need to get Russell Crowe. He'll do the research about three weeks ago, he'll walk like three weeks ago, he'll talk like three weeks ago, and you'll close your eyes, and you'll go 'that sounds like three weeks ago!'"
Cinderella Man has been getting some massive buzz so far. Expect this to have a decent opening and superb legs.
Opening weekend: $28 million.
5) Land of the Dead
"When there's no more room in hell, the dead will walk the Earth." Although George Romero's Night of the Living Dead (1968) was the original that started it all, it was Dawn of the Dead (1978) that really developed a mass following and has since become the unquestioned standard for the zombie genre. He followed that up with Day of the Dead (1985), a formidable but less successful movie that received a mixed response from fans and critics. Only recently was he able to finally get funding to make his fourth and final movie in the series - certainly aided by the success of the Dawn remake last year. But better late than never. A lot of zombie fans out there have been waiting for this one to hit.
Opening weekend: $25 million.
~Da na na, na na na na na...~ We all remember the catchy theme song, the lovely good witch Samantha, and her husband Darrin (played by two different Dicks) and mother Endora. The beloved Bewitched is on its way to the big screen, with Nicole Kidman taking over Elizabeth Montgomery's seminal role. There is a slight twist though - here we have a couple (including comedy whiz Will Ferrell) who are making a remake of the classic television show Bewitched. I think this sounds interesting and could be real big, but I just can't shake a feeling that it may be dreadful. Like The Stepford Wives, perhaps.
Opening weekend: $22 million.
7) Herbie: Fully Loaded
The summer of remakes and sequels continues (and not in a good way) with Herbie: Fully Loaded. The perfect little angel, the young woman that every parent wants their daughter to be, Lindsay Lohan gets behind the wheel of the classic souped-up VW Bug. There likely won't be any *ahem* slip-ups with Ms. Lohan though as the studio has decided to cover-up and digitally decrease the size of her bosom. So we can rule out all the teen boys from showing up. Still, there will likely be a sizeable curiosity factor for those who grew up with the original Herbie.
Opening weekend: $19 million.
8) The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
This has to be a nominee for the worst movie title of the year. Further, I haven't seen a single piece of advertising for this, and I frankly don't know much about it. What I do know is that is aimed at teen and preteen girls, a demographic that is often overlooked and underestimated (and quite unpredictable) when it comes to the world of entertainment.
Opening weekend: $13 million + $4 million Wed/Thurs.
9) Lords of Dogtown
Lords of Dogtown is a documentary about the skateboarding mania in sunny California starting in the late 1970s. Er... I mean Lords of Dogtown is a fictional movie based on a documentary about the skateboarding mania in sunny California starting in the late 1970s. That may seem pretty trippy, but in any case the movie looks pretty darn good. This is being promoted heavily on younger-skewing channels like MTV and G4 and should pull in some good crowds.
Opening weekend: $10 million.
10) The Honeymooners
Here we have another old hit TV show turned into a movie. The Jackie Gleason vehicle, which of course inspired the long-lived animated series The Flintstones, is retooled and turned upside its head. Funny guy Cedrice the Entertainer takes over as working class stiff and everyman Ralph Kramden, Mike Epps is his sidekick Ed Norton, and Gabrielle Union is Alice the wife. The Hooneymooners should pull in some healthy numbers from urban audiences, as well as fans of the Gleason series who want to see what this one is all about. "To the Moon, Alice!"
Opening weekend: $8 million.
Just Under the Radar
Howl's Moving Castle
From the great mind of Hayao Miyazaki at Japan's Studio Ghibli, comes Howl’s Moving Castle. Like its much flashier big-money counterpart, Pixar, Studio Ghibli churns out hit after hit. Unlike Krusty Brand products from The Simpsons, when they put their name behind a picture you can be sure it will be wonderful. After all, with few exceptions, the story is the driving force behind the quality of a picture. This may not be in the trendy 3D CGI that most animated films have been over the last few years, but you better believe that it will be just as mesmerizing. Unfortunately, as with the Academy Award-winning Spirited Away, Disney is choosing to downplay Howl's, and it will (initially at least) be receiving a limited release.
If you haven't heard of 5x2, don't worry because you definitely aren't alone. 5x2 is the newest film from Francois Ozon, the talented director behind 8 Women and Swimming Pool, among others. Told in a backwards fashion, ala Memento and Irreversible, it tells the story of a couple's relationship from end to beginning. Early reviews have been very positive. Be sure to keep an eye out for it if it comes to a theater near you.
It what seems to be the reverse of Lord of Dogtown, Rock School is an actual documentary about a man running a real-life rock school. If you are wondering why that seems familiar, it's because it was the central idea behind the 2003 Jack Black hit, School of Rock.
Marty Doskins's June Preview
John Hamann's June Preview
Dan Krovich's June Preview
John Seal's June Preview