May 2006 Forecast
By Marty Doskins
May 5, 2006
The start of the 2006 summer movie season is going to be a big one. Most of this month's releases are sure to be huge box office successes. The mix includes quite a few proven franchises including Mission: Impossible and the X-Men.
Let's move on to my top ten for May 2006.
1. X-Men: The Last Stand
Proven Franchise #1. This month's top three films should easily going to end up in the top 10 for 2006 (Poseidon may even sneak in there). The opening number for this release should be phenomenal. In addition, this film's being released on Memorial Day weekend so it'll get an extra "weekend" day on Monday. The films in the X-Men franchise have been released fairly close together so the fans are being retained from one movie to the next. It looks like the studio went all out for this one, knowing they'll easily make up their expenditures once the movie is in theaters. This series just gets better with each film, appealing to the core fans (both from the movies alone as well as comic book fans). Everything's going exactly as it should with the X-Men movies.
2. Mission: Impossible III
Proven Franchise #2. I don't think that Tom Cruise's antics will be that much of a turn-off for people to see this film. The only thing I'm worried about is that the other two films in the series were released quite a while ago and people won't remember what happened. But I guess there will be a boost in video rentals and sales so the public can refresh their memories. As expected, this movie has been featured in every media outlet available to draw attention to the upcoming release and I'm sure the publicity blitz will pay off.
3. The Da Vinci Code
The highly anticipated feature film version of Dan Brown's wildly successful novel is finally here. And who better to play the leading role than Tom Hanks? French film star Audrey Tautou will finally be exposed to a larger viewing public as well. This movie could finally launch her to stardom here in the United States. This film has had a lot of built-in publicity. Ever since The Da Vinci Code came out, people have been arguing about the various theories about religion, particularly Jesus' marital and familial status, brought up in the book. The studio has let the public do its own word-of-mouth advertising without having to sink a lot into advertising. Of course, the studio isn't stupid and they will keep putting commercials out. However, with the controversy surrounding the film, the public's interest should be peaked and they'll come out the see what the fuss is all about.
The Poseidon Adventure was one of the non-G rated movies I can remember seeing in the theaters. There is one scene that still creeps me out. I haven't seen the original in a while, but I remember a scene with the survivors finding a guy that was killed when the ship flipped over and his face is all burned up. I think he "fell up" on some hot pipes on the ceiling. If this remake of the 70s disaster flick can make even a little bit of an impression, it should do well. Plus, Kurt Russell is a good person to have in a lead role. He has shown that he can handle a variety of roles, from Disney family entertainment to action adventure. He definitely hasn't let himself get typecast. Let's hope this film can at least pay for its enormous budget.
5. Just My Luck
Lindsay Lohan has finally been given a big payday. She's reportedly making $7 million for this movie. With that kind of investment, the studio will put everything its got behind this film. As the saying goes, "you have to spend money to make money". And spend they will. The PG-13 rating may turn away some of Lohan's younger fans, but I don't think it will really deter them that much.
6. Over the Hedge
This CGI film has got me a little nervous. I hope the studio isn't relying a lot on the public's familiarity with the Over the Hedge comic strip. I really think that comic book movies have a wider audience than comic strips. Plus, the people that read comic strips aren't really the audience that the studio needs to attract. Comic strips have an older audience that doesn't spend their own money as freely as the comic book crowd spends their parents' money. But the CGI aspect should be enough to draw some folks in, even though they don't know anything about the characters.
7. See No Evil
WWE Films is trying to do more of the work on a film rather than the behind-the-scenes and funding they have done in the past. They use one of their most popular stars, the creepy Kane. And the story isn't a "Rocky in the wrestling ring" tale. Kane stretches the boundaries of his wrestling persona to become a psychopathic killer. There is a large viewership of the various WWE television programs and the studio will definitely take advantage of the advertising time available to promote this movie's release.
8. An American Haunting
A good old-fashioned ghost tale. Since this film takes place in the 1800s, there won't be the technology available to take on the supernatural. It will have to rely more on quality of script than other horror films of this basic type. I'm also not sure how much the typical horror fan will be drawn to this movie. It's not as "blood and guts" as they are used to, but hopefully they will appreciate the psychological aspect of the film and still show their support.
9. Goal! The Dream Begins
Even though there are no real big well-known stars in this movie, I this its saving grace is that it's a sports film. There may be enough of an interest from people that like that genre. But the Walt Disney name attached to the film may turn off some of the older folks by making them assume this is a kids' movie. Either way, I don't think there will be much here to this film's numbers.
The main reason I put this at the bottom of my top ten list is that I think there is not enough of an audience to draw from for this film. I think you really only have Carl Hiaasen fans that have read the book. There are a lot of unknown, up-and-coming actors in this film, so there's no draw there. If there's not a significant push from the studio, I could see quite a few of the limited releases passing this one up.