May 2006 Forecast
By Walid Habboub
May 5, 2006
There is a chance that the three biggest movies of 2006 will all open in May. Two proven franchises and the second biggest selling book, and the arguably the biggest literary phenomenon, of all time all have decided to fight for your dollar in the same month. All three will be winners and probably continue to play strong well into the summer months.
The first of the blockbusters arrives May 5th as the Tom Cruise led Mission: Impossible III is released to a movie-going public that is absolutely starving for a great big ol' action flick. Think about the last time a big action movie opened; now once you've finished adding the months on both hands, think of all that pent up energy translating into box office dollars. MI:III will obviously being a gigantic hit, and with early reviews being so positive, Cruise seems likely to be on the big screen well into July. Discounting the fact that its successor was a giant, heaping pile of dung, this installment will continue the franchise's success.
With the launch of the year's first big blockbuster comes studios trying to capitalize on counter-programming with smaller releases that are distinctly different from the 800 Lbs gorilla everyone will flock to see. The first of these films is a kids film titled Hoot. Not that live-action kid flicks have much success anyway, I fear that MI:III might be appealing to kids and the tots might rather see MI:III. Hoot's hopes aren't very high.
The more interesting of the smaller releases is An American Haunting. Unlike live-action kid flicks, horror movies have become a known variable and will perform fairly to moderately well. This more adult fare might be able to catch some spillover business and will appeal to movie-goers drawn to the creepiness of this ghost flick.
MI:III - $78 million opening, $260 million total
Hoot - $8 million opening, $36 million total
An American Haunting - $10 million opening, $23 million total
Poseidon is a pretend blockbuster; a high budget film that boasts no star-power, a big name director and rehashes an old story that most audiences are familiar with. I am sure that Paramount, the studio releasing MI:III, was psyched when they saw the initial previews for this Warner Bros. Release because it will give their film another week to rake in the cash before the other big films hit. The problem with Poseidon is that it looks dull and is trying to sell an eerie concept/scenario that has been previously explored. It's also getting killed by the hype of the real mega-films releasing this month. It's never a good sign when your big budget film received a television treatment 6 months before its release.
America's obsession with soccer comes to a climax on May 12th with the release of Goal! The Dream Begins, the first in a trilogy chronicling a young man's rise to soccer superstardom. That last sentence was written with the greatest amount of sarcasm ever produced in the history of mankind. But seriously, this film's box office will exactly reflect America's interest in the beautiful game. The only chance it has at success is if seeing this film is adopted as a sign of protest to the proposed changes to US immigration laws(and there's only a 16% chance of that happening).
Lindsay Lohan is releasing a movie on this date either, and anyone who says they know exactly how the public will react to this is lying through their teeth. The film looks awful and its surreal seeing Lohan trying to play a normal human being. Would parents really want their kids seeing this drunken, anorexic fool? Do kids still think she's cool? Will grown men still pay money to see her now that he breasts have melted away?
Poseidon - $38 million opening, $110 million total
Goal! - $5 million opening, $12 million total
Just My Luck - $10 million opening, $23 million total
With Tom Hanks star flickering, taking on the lead role in The DaVinci Code was the best thing that could have happened to him. His agent must love him. The obvious and natural comparison for this film is the Harry Potter series and the manic obsession people seem to have in this story. The book is credited with saving the book industry, which is a bit more of an exaggeration that Tom Hanks' hairline in the film, and has sold over 40 million copies worldwide. Any predictor worth anything will tell you that 40 million multiplied by an average ticket price of 7 dollars means that the movie will have an opening weekend of $280 million. That predictor is obviously an idiot but the movie will be gigantic.
Similar to the first weekend of the month, the 19th will see a release of a couple of movies hoping to capitalize on counter-programming. Unlike the first week, the kids flick launching this weekend is animated and looks like a real winner. Over The Hedge seems like a funny, cute and safe films for both kids and parents to enjoy. The previews are tremendous and will likely counteract the negative effects of a market over-saturated with CGI kid flicks. I'm very high on this films chances especially because the audience will be starving for some good kids viewing.
The third film releasing on this date is a horror movie. Much like An American Haunting, See No Evil will look to catch spill-over from the other two wide releases on this weekend. The marketing is really pushing the gore-aspect of the film, much like Hostel did earlier in the year. Overall, this film will cap what will be a gigantic opener weekend, maybe the biggest ever.
The DaVinci Code - $88 million opening, $300 million total
Over The Hedge - $42 million opening, $210 million total
See No Evil - $12 million opening, $27 million total
May 26th brings us the big daddy of all the May releases, X3: The Last Stand. Not only was X2 huge, it was also very satisfying and did well to leave a lot of character threads that are explored in this sequel. Helping this film's opening will be the fact that it opens on Memorial Day weekend, the most lucrative weekend of the box office year. Note that unlike the previous weekend, there are no attempts at counter-programming here. Whether it's because the film has broad appeal and other studios are staying away from it, or whether it is because the market is already flooded with a slew of releases is really only for the studios to know. But only having the second weekend of DaVinci be its main competition only serves to better this film's chances of ruling the box office in May.
X3: The Last Stand - $110 million opening, $330 total