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June Forecast

By Reagen Sulewski

10. Juwanna Mann ($15 million)

Wouldn't you want to have been at the pitch meeting for this movie, if only to maybe knock a little sense into those responsible? Inspired, I'm sure, by one Dennis Rodman, this film takes the Tootsie approach to basketball. One is left to wonder that if people can't be made to care about the WNBA itself, how is a film that centers around it supposed to draw more than flies? June has traditionally been a month where everything succeeds but there's only so far you can push that theory, especially with a laugh-free trailer like this has. Like Sorority Boys, expect this one to die quickly. It makes this preview only by virtue of the fact that none of the limited releases for June look likely to break out.

9. Hey Arnold! The Movie ($40 million)

Can I be forgiven for feeling old when TV cartoons that I've never heard of start to get (apparently) a large enough audience to warrant theatrical movies made about them? What I can take from this is that it is most likely not any kind of phenomenon like Rugrats or the Powerpuff Girls and should probably remain at about the level of something like Recess ($36 million total). A major obstacle for this film is the presence of Lilo and Stitch one week earlier. Then again, it's summer, and kids do tend to see any old thing. I won't be surprised if this ends up at $20 or $70 million.

8. The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood ($55 million)

There's lots to mock here, even without touching the ridiculous title (note to producers: literary titles often do not work well for movies; even Fried Green Tomatoes had the decency to shorten its moniker). The trailer is a meandering mess with bizarre reaction shots that don't seem tied to anything, the supposedly funny bits fall flat and many of the scenes seem to be composed of histrionics. Sandra Bullock and Ashley Judd both have solid records as box-office draws (Bullock's foray into crime thrillers notwithstanding), but half of their potential audience isn't going to show up, is it? It's sure to get great ratings on Lifetime, though.

7. Bad Company ($60 million)

Terrible titles, Part II (Critics everywhere are waiting to tee off on this one). Apparently "Produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and directed by Joel Schumacher" still counts as a positive to some people (We still remember, Joel!). Anthony Hopkins seems to be throwing himself into the typical Robert Duvall role in this as the credibility-lending crusty old sod, but I'm just not buying it. Chris Rock can be a brilliant comedic actor, but everything that's out there shows the annoying Chris Rock. "I wanna watch Oprah!"? Have some self-respect, Chris. Jerry Bruckheimer has been a model of consistency for years and years; his films aren't acclaimed, but they've made money. The streak ends here, though. Everyone involved with this film needs new agents, fast.

6. Windtalkers ($70 million)

A soldier is lifted into the air by an explosion, fireball filling the view behind him, as he flies through the air clutching a rifle. Directed by John Woo, you say? You must be kidding. A difference from typical Woo is that after four straight hard action films after coming to work in Hollywood, Woo is moving into something more resembling drama. Whether he can do it or not is not really the point (Ang Lee's decision to make The Hulk is actually odder). It does appear, though, that he's badly mishandled Nic Cage, failing to restrain the screamy-scary-faced Cage that, while it worked like a charm in Face/Off, is nothing but a laughable, overplayed cliché in this trailer. It's also spent seven extra months on the shelf, never a good sign. This once was a film that MGM had hoped would be an Oscar contender. It's an interesting chapter of WWII, but not one that's going to lead to box-office glory.

5. Scooby-Doo ($75 million)

What hath Jar Jar Binks wrought? This might be the least-necessary TV adaptation since A Very Brady Sequel. The CGI Scooby is both convincing enough and yet not at the same time, making him really, really creepy, like the characters in Final Fantasy. The best hope I can have for this is it contains similar elements of surrealism and self-aware parody that made Charlie's Angels bearable. Where that film had wacko demi-genius McG, this film has to settle for Raja Gosnell, who brought us Big Momma's House and Home Alone 3. *cough* (The credited screenwriter did write for Troma; call me cautiously optimistic on the weird factor.) The reception of films like Josie and the Pussycats (an unfairly maligned film) shows that perhaps audiences are growing a bit tired of these films, but then Scooby's name is sure to lead to at least one week of success, followed by a gigantic second-week drop. One thing I will say for it: Matthew Lillard has absolutely nailed Shaggy's voice.

4. The Bourne Identity ($115 million)

Matt Damon is Jet Li is Jason Bourne! Perhaps that's harsh, as Damon has played the "suave", dangerous man before, in 1999's The Talented Mr. Ripley, which was a holiday season smash. Here he tackles yet another literary character, that of Robert Ludlum's series of spy novels. The amnesia plot is, while a tad clichéd, a great hook for the film; a spy who doesn't know who he's working for makes for a terrific atmosphere of paranoia. With two other books in the series, Universal certainly hopes to make a franchise...and after that, who knows? They ran out of James Bond books to adapt a long time ago. Doug Liman (Swingers, Go) is in charge of making sure that a complex plot happily coexists with kinetic action, something that surely comes across in the trailer (with Run Lola Run music and Franka Potente featured, does this issue her in as a leading lady? I'd like to think so). The main obstacle in my mind here is the question of how audiences will react to the baby-faced Damon as an international spy. His partner in crime, Ben Affleck, successfully took over a franchise recently, so perhaps there's a better chance than many would expect.

3. Mr. Deeds ($120 million)

The cult of Sandler took a major blow in 2000 after the dismal failure of Little Nicky. Everyone's entitled to a Cable Guy now and then, so hold off on pronouncing the phenomenon dead, OK? This time, Sandler's jumped back in as a far-more-relatable character than the son of Satan. In a remake of the Gary Cooper classic Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (The fact that Sandler was not struck by lightning during this production may prove there is no God, or at least one that cares about cinema), he plays more of an everyman, and importantly, there's no goofy affected accent! Naturally, there is the opportunity for him to scream and hit people with things, but it's lighthearted violence, see? The key for a Sandler film is to just not scare off the audience and they'll take care of themselves. Then again, it is competing with one of the most powerful forces in Hollywood: The curse of Winona Ryder. Even her mojo won't stop this from making $100 million, which will be a first for her.

2. Lilo and Stitch ($145 million)

This is Disney's traditional-animation offering for the summer, and its campaign has been characterized by one of the cleverest concepts in some time. The titular alien, Stitch, was inserted into clips of recent Disney classics, subverting the typical re-release trailer common for their animated films. The recent ads with actual scenes have, of course, been a step down, but there really was no way to improve. I'm not sensing a Lion King-type breakout, but after a decline in the last two Disney films' box office, Lilo and Stitch should reverse the trend and break the century mark yet again. Happy Meal toys available now at McDonald's.

1. Minority Report ($220 million)

Tom Cruise in Steven Spielberg's Blade Runner. Enough said, really.



  • Read Tim Briody's June forecast
  • Read Kim Hollis' June forecast
  • Read David Mumpower's June forecast
  • Read Calvin Trager's June forecast


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    Friday, November 24, 2017
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