July 2005 Forecast

By Marty Doskins

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Summer 2005 – We've got three HUGE blockbusters coming out this month, plus another couple that could be flying under the box office radar. Summer is a time for a studio to put its best foot forward. That's why we see such a wide variety of film genres.

And now, let's move on to my top ten.

1. War of the Worlds

A month or so ago, I had no doubt that this film would be the number one film for July with a bullet. However, this Tom Cruise/Katie Holmes relationship has put some doubt in my mind. I still think it will be on top for the month, but I think the gap between it and second place will be a bit narrower. Let me explain using discussions some of us have had around the Box Office Prophets water cooler.

When people started talking about the Brad Pitt/Angelina Jolie affair, they became more interested in what had happened during the filming of Mr. & Mrs. Smith. Could you actually see the onscreen heat? Was there a real relationship developing before our eyes? The "TomKat" story has had the opposite effect - mostly because of Mr. Cruise. He has been acting like a teenager in love. I know it's supposed to be sweet, but he looks like a total buffoon jumping up and down on couches during interviews. I think it's turned some people off, but not enough to knock this film down too much.

2. Fantastic Four

Another "comic book come to life" enters the list at number two. Fantastic Four has been around since the beginning of Marvel Comics, but hasn't garnered the attention of properties like Spider-Man or X-Men. Well, now it's this book's turn. There have been some concerns about casting, such as Jessica Alba being too young to portray Sue Storm (The Invisible Woman). But I don't think it'll keep audiences away at all. The publicity machine has been hard at work with many product tie-ins and offers. The airwaves have also been saturated with commercials. This all adds up to an all-around successful combination at the box office. In fact, it wouldn't surprise me at all for this film to actually come out on top for the month once the final results are in.

3. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Tim Burton has a talent for putting a personal touch on films. His mind works in unusual ways and he is able to bring that vision to the big screen. If the previews for this film are any indication, he has done it successfully once again. I think people will naturally compare this film to the classic version, but it really needs to be viewed on its own. Johnny Depp doesn't look exactly like Gene Wilder. The new Oompa Loompas are way different from the old ones. But the overall feeling is still the same. I think this will draw in audiences the first week, but drop off quickly because people will say "Gene Wilder didn't do it that way" or "The Oompa Loompas look weird" and be turned off by it.

4. Stealth

This is one film that I think has real potential for separating itself from the rest of the pack. The premise is kind of interesting, there are a few popular cast members (Jamie Foxx, Josh Lucas, and Jessica Biel), and there are a lot of action scenes in the previews and commercials. People may be drawn in to theaters just to get their "action fix" for this month.

5. Rebound

2005 has seemed to be a breakout year for family-oriented features – The Adventures of Shark Boy and Lava Girl in 3-D, The Pacifier, Are We There Yet?, and Kicking & Screaming just to name a few. Martin Lawrence is making the jump that many have found to be lucrative. He has the natural comedic talent that makes these movies attractive to children as well as adults and I think that comes across in the commercials. It should do fairly well during its opening weekend and should also have a lot of staying power.

6. The Island

Michael Bay has a way of raking in the bucks - lots of action scenes with quick shots. The general public is drawn to this style, but with so many choices this summer season, I think this one will fall down the list a bit. It hasn't been pushed enough by the studio in my opinion, which is another of my determining factors for box office success.

7. The Devil's Rejects

The month just wouldn't be complete without some horror, would it? Rob Zombie made a name for himself in horror circles with House of 1000 Corpses. He took the genre back to the way it was - lots of blood and gore. He endeared himself to horror fans with his "classic film with a modern touch" approach. As I seem to say for every horror film, it should do well the first week, but then drop off rapidly.

8. Sky High

Live-action family adventures always seem to do fairly well, but I think this one will struggle a bit like The Thunderbirds did last year. It held on for a long time, but didn't rake in the giant numbers to warrant a sequel. There hasn't been a ton of anticipation and word-of-mouth about this movie and I think that's one of the major factors that helps push the figures up. It should open as probably a number ten for its opening weekend and bring in money slowly but surely until its home video release in a few months.

9. The Wedding Crashers

A good, solid comedy will draw in big audiences. That will not be the case here. It doesn't seem to be funny enough to have broad appeal.

10. The Bad News Bears

There are four new films being released the same day as this entry. I'm sorry to say, I think this one will be the loser. While the family films that have been successful have advertised well in advance of release, this one has been relatively unheard of. There is another factor that I see hurting this one a bit, the rating. Most parents think that a PG film will be fine for children of all ages. However, they do have second thoughts when it comes to a PG-13. That rating signifies that there is just enough language, action, and/or intensity in the film that they should keep their young ones away. I think alienating this audience is a move that definitely bring this film down the list.



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