By John Hamann
Historically, June has not been the hot month one might think it would be, wedged between the two powerhouses that May and July are. Thing is, June doesn't have a national holiday, where its two brothers do. But this June, things are set to change as the lineup includes 2 sequels, a prequel, three films based on TV shows and a Zombie flick. The box office is primed to break out further in June, leading 2003 way ahead of 2002.
1. The Hulk
Universal is betting the farm that June is going to rock, and I think it's a good bet. Yes, there has been some whining that The Hulk may not be made for the mental age of a 13 year old boy, but for the rest of us, this could be really good news. Hopefully, by hiring director Ang Lee, Universal broadened their potential demographic reach for The Hulk. If the director can turn Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon ("no film with subtitles could possible make $100 million!") into a $128 million super-hit for Sony, there is no reason he can't turn the big green monster into a $250 million hit for Universal. It's not a small bet for the big U; production cost alone on this one is $120 million bucks, but The Hulk could smash that in 10 days easy.
Open: $90 million
Total: $250 million
2. 2 Fast 2 Furious
Universal Films get to start June off all by their lonesome. They have the June 6th weekend all to themselves, and 2 Fast 2 Furious is set to rip the top off the box office. The number to beat for 2 Fast 2 Furious is $54.6 million; that number is the record for an opener in June and is currently held by Austin Powers in Goldmember. Universal certainly isn't stupid. I would bet a large amount of money that the trailer for The Hulk will appear with 2 Fast, as Universal markets the way they did in summer 2001. That summer they had a string of hits that included Jurassic Park 3, American Pie 2, and of course, The Fast and The Furious. TF&TF, which admittedly had Vin Diesel helping out, grossed $40.1 million from only 2,628 venues. This time out, expect a venue increase of 1,000 and opening weekend increase of $20 million.
Open: $60 million
Total: $180 million
3. Charlie's Angels 2: Full Throttle
Decisions, decisions. I had a tough time deciding whether the Fast and Furious would perform better or worse that Charlie's Angels 2, but I went with the unpredictable Fast & Furious demographic that quickly forgets a movie of questionable quality. Also, The Fast and the Furious blew away Charlie's Angels in video/DVD revenue. It was November 2000 that the auteur director McG hit the scene with Charlie's Angels, and the film actually garnered a fresh rating at RottenTomatoes. The Angels took the box office by storm, scoring $40.3 million in its first weekend and $125 million before the end of its run. The biggest difference for the sequel is the release date. This time out the film hits in July, a month that is more beneficial to opening weekends. Some will talk about the sequel's built-in audience, but that audience was there before, and might have even been bigger, due to the novelty of the movie concept. The TV ad and trailer have done a great job of selling Demi Moore as the sexy villain, an angle that the first film in the series didn't have.
Open: $59 million
Total: $175 million
4. Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd
It's going to be a steep drop from the number 3 movie in June to the number four film in June. After the big three come down (2 Fast, The Hulk and Charlie's Angels) we are left with a Motley crew of wannabes, all with decent prospective chances at a serious box office haul. The Dumb and Dumber sequel is my pick to surprise, even after audiences figure out that Jim Carrey and the other guy aren't in this flick. Why? A film like this is easy to market. Get your prospective audience laughing and they will show up despite the cast. Shot for $30 million, New Line is banking on the fact that no one has forgotten the dimwitted duo. Considering the first film opened to $16.36 million ($22.66 million in today's dollars) and grossed $127.18 million, the gamble has to be worth it for New Line.
Open: $25 million
Total: $101 million
5. Hollywood Homicide
Hollywood Homicide feels a lot like Six Days, Seven Nights - too much comedy and not enough action. Harrison Ford is an action star, his box office record proves it. The soft side of that record includes films like The Devil's Own, K-19, Random Hearts, Six Days Seven Nights, and Sabrina. Will Ford's costar Josh Hartnett make up for his waning audience? The only way Hollywood Homicide is going to score is if the film is actually good. Could have big legs, but the open is going to pale compared to the big dogs.
Open: $23 million
Total: $100 million
6. 28 Days Later
Can a British Zombie movie from Fox Searchlight no less, have any sort of impact at the summer box office? All of my sources say yes, and predict this one is going to pop. Directed by Trainspotting's Danny Boyle, this is a different sort of film for baby Fox. This is The Stand meets Dawn of the Dead and looks to be Fox Searchlight's biggest film since 1997's The Full Monty. In fact, Searchlight hasn't had a bigger grossing film since, but this looks to break the mold. 20th Century Fox looks to have warmed horror films up with Wrong Turn, which flopped over the May 30th weekend.
Open: $15 million
Total: $50 million
7. Rugrats Go Wild!
Now if this was the Spongebob SquarePants movie, it would be higher in the list, but it's the tired ol'Rugrats Franchise. Rugrats is no longer a top ten performer in the top cable shows anymore. After Rugrats in Paris got off to a slower start than the original Rugrats movie, the writing was on the wall that the 12-year-old series may be starting to sputter. So this time out, Paramount got Bruce Willis to voice the character of Spike the Dog, hoping that will help sell some tickets. My guess is that the fanbase has grown out of the franchise, and the new breed of kid has moved onto to the latest fad. The first film opened to $27.32 million, and the second ignored the sequel effect and grossed $23 million over its opening frame. Five years after the release of the first film, I'm looking for an open of $18 million, and if the film is good, a final gross of $75 million.
Open: $18 million
Total: $75 million
8. Alex & Emma
Franchise Pictures is back and hopefully this time out its nothing like Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever. Elle Samaha, owner of Franchise, hired Rob Reiner and Kate Hudson to manufacture a hit, as this company must be running out of money. Their lone hit is The Whole Nine Yards, the 2000 feature that has a sequel in the works. The biggest romantic comedy open ever in June is My Best Friend's Wedding; that film found $21.7 million in June 1997 and its closer competitor since is Out of Sight which grossed $12 million over its opening weekend from only 2,106 venues. Even with a cute trailer, if Alex & Emma break $10 million, I'll be very surprised.
Open: $7 million
Total: $25 million
9. From Justin To Kelly
At least the makers of The Real Cancun won't have to look bad for long. After all the money that was made off the American Idol TV show, Fox is going to give it back in one fell swoop with From Justin To Kelly. Between North America's collective short-term memory and a laughable production, this flop is going to be historic for its badness.
Open: $3 million
Total: $6 million
Read Marty Doskins's June Forecast
Read Stephanie Star Smith's June Forecast