July Forecast

By Reagen Sulewski

10. Eight Legged Freaks -- July 17th ($60 million)

What would summer be without a monster movie? For this summer, the chosen beasts are spiders, a hilariously appropriate counterpoint to this, the summer of Spider-Man. There all sorts of reasons to hate this on paper: It's produced by Dean Devlin and Roland Emmerich, the "creative" team behind Godzilla; it stars one David Arquette; it's about giant spiders. But you can't argue with a trailer that's just so fun. Besides, there's an excellent chance Mr. Arquette will be eaten in a truly disgusting way. Whether you like campy B-movies or just hate spiders and want to see them squashed, this film promises lots of fun for everyone. I truly hope I've low-balled this one.

9. The Powerpuff Girls -- July 3rd ($60 million)

The Cartoon Network gets to test its first full-length feature by bringing Blossom, Bubbles and Buttercup to the big screen. Don't expect it to compete with the big boys of animation, but this sneakily subversive series has its fans and they're not all eight-year-old girls. According to a recent Salon article, boys actually make up a slight majority of the viewers of this show. The resistance will be in whether grown men can successfully walk up to a ticket window and say "One for Powerpuff Girls" without suffering terminal embarrassment.

8. Like Mike -- July 3rd ($70 million)

With Chris Columbus tied up in the Harry Potter series, someone has to make the scripts that would have gone his way; I'd be willing to bet $100 that this film would have been right up there had he not been in England for the past two years. The unexplained magic, an underdog kid, celebrity cameos a plenty, it's all here. A difference here is that the kid already happens to be a celebrity. Lil' Bow Wow is the latest recording artist to make the leap to the big screen here. The presence of real NBA names gives the film juice and the trailer has a certain appeal, but it's going to be too far-fetched to break out beyond a ten- to 15-year-old audience.

7. The Country Bears -- July 26th ($80 million)

This year's winner for Pitch Meeting I'd Most Like to Have Attended, The Country Bears defies traditional description. Is it a family film? Is it a musical? Is it a road movie? Is it Harry and the Hendersons on acid? Perhaps the first film ever based on an amusement park ride, Bears should prove to be a unique experience. Whether that's a good thing or not is yet to be seen. Haley Joel Osment tests his family draw here, but can this really do worse than Snow Dogs?

6. K-19: The Widowmaker -- July 19th ($90 million)

With not one but two candidates for Worst Celebrity Accent of the Year, K-19 also presents audiences with the dubious prospect of cheering for the Commies, with all-American Harrison Ford as one of the Commies yet. I'm picturing John Wayne as Genghis Khan in The Conqueror at the moment; how about you? Enemy at the Gates successfully got audiences on their side, but against the Nazis, showing just how low they rank on the Heroes of Hollywood scale (perhaps we'll see a film in the future with the Nazis as heroes fighting the aliens from Independence Day; or better yet, Nazis vs. giant spiders). Comparisons obviously tend towards the Hunt For Red October end of the scale, and it'll probably succeed at that level, but without inflation.

5. Reign of Fire -- July 12th ($110 million)

Sometimes you wonder if Hollywood has any idea what people actually want to see in theaters, and then something so simply brilliant as this comes along. Dragons versus tanks. It just makes you wonder, why didn't anyone think of this before? If played badly, this could just be a fantasy-adapted version of Battlefield: Earth, but this film appears to be in more capable hands. Rob Bowman guided the X-Files movie to success four years ago, and he appears to have brought the same skill to this production. Matthew McConaughey and Christian Bale don't seem like the stars to carry a film of this size, but the real attraction is the heavy equipment, both metal and beast.

4. The Road to Perdition -- July 12th ($130 million)

This is easily the film with the best pedigree of July, with Tom Hanks, Paul Newman and Jude Law in front of the camera and American Beauty's Sam Mendes behind it. Adapted from, of all things, a graphic novel, this period drama has America's nice guy, Tom Hanks, as an Irish hit man. Dealing with nothing so small as fathers & sons, family honor and redemption, The Road to Perdition will hope to figure prominently in year-end Oscar voting. After making his The Graduate, Mendes may have made his The Shawshank Redemption.

3. Stuart Little 2 -- July 19th ($155 million)

In December of '99, Stuart Little surprised many by becoming the number-one film for the holidays, beating out Toy Story 2 (although in its second month of release) and earning $140 million for the EB White-inspired film. A sequel was inevitable, but the hope is to avoid the fate of Dr Dolittle 2, which created a mediocre sequel and failed to reach the gross of the original. Whereas that film looked tired and stale, Stuart Little 2 appears to have taken that lesson to heart, with what looks like an energetic sequel. It should easily capture the late-season family audience.

2. Austin Powers in Goldmember -- July 26th ($180 million)

At this rate, Austin Powers 4 (should it happen) will be populated entirely with characters played by Mike Myers, - including his love interest - will be directed and written by him, and he'll possibly do the costumes, too. Someone stop this man's ego before it destroys us all! The second Austin Powers movie stunned many be earning in its opening weekend what the first did in its entire run, but there'll be no surprise like that this time; only perhaps the other way. There's been nothing quite as inventive as the Star Wars parody teaser this time and the clips I've seen have been shockingly awful-looking. Inertia may bring it close to the opening weekend figure of #2, but it's a steep slope down after that.

1. Men in Black 2 -- July 3rd ($250 million)

The summer champ of 1997 finally gets a sequel, with Will Smith's last few projects not doing well and Tommy Lee Jones not getting many callbacks for romantic lead parts. Luckily, this looks like a winner for both, with outstanding jokes in the trailer (let's hope they're not all used up) and great-looking alien CGI work. However, if like me, you thought the first film was short at under 100 minutes, you'll be even less impressed by the under-90 minutes length of this film. Sadly, I think this is going to be a one-weekend wonder, if at a higher scale than any before.

  • Read Tim Briody's July forecast
  • Read Kim Hollis' July forecast
  • Read Dan Krovich's July forecast



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    Wednesday, October 20, 2021
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