May Forecast

By Reagen Sulewski

10. Undercover Brother ($30 million)

Shaft is back, so why not Shaft parodies? This is the second of two movies this month that will either make or break Eddie Griffin as a comedy headliner. It's all been done before, you say, and it's true that nothing will be able to top I'm Gonna Git You, Sucka. What this does have going for it is some truly inspired casting. Billy Dee Williams? James Brown as himself? Chris Kattan as "The Man"? There's no way I'm not seeing this. I'd be surprised if this caught on right away but then again, no one thought Austin Powers was going to be a hit, either.

9. Unfaithful ($35 million)

Few actors raise my ire faster than Richard Here, so imagine my surprise when he made a movie this year that I actually liked (The Mothman Prophecies). That just means, then, that the odds of his making another tolerable film I like are that much slimmer. From the director of Indecent Proposal, which will be a call for some while a warning signal to others. Still, it's an atmospheric trailer with excellent use of music that ought to sell itself to some degree.

8. The New Guy ($45 million)

DJ Qualls may be the most unlikely of teen stars ever, looking like no less than an update of Anthony Michael Hall with a bigger nose. He's got a goofy charisma, though, and that awkwardness will be put to good use in this wish-fulfillment fantasy. The ads are clever and feature a nice assortment of attractive young girls (anything that gets Eliza Dushku on more screens is fine by me), but the non-sex-comedy teen films lately haven't been able to break out beyond a $40-50 million barrier.

7. Enough ($60 million)

Which is what I'll be saying about an hour into this Jennifer Lopez updating of Sleeping with the Enemy (what, you say it's not a remake?). All right, so spousal abuse is a real thing, but this looks to me like pandering. This one's making me angry, so let's just move along, OK?

6. Insomnia ($70 million)

Three Oscar winners above the title in this one (they really should have tried to get, oh, let's say Judi Dench for a small role), and it's fairly high-concept, with Al Pacino chasing down a killer in Alaska while he's afflicted by the titular condition, and did I mention it's summer and the sun never sets? It's a lot to swallow, but Pacino and Williams (the pairing you've always wanted!) make for an interesting contrast, with Robin currently in his "psycho" period. Chris Nolan, director of Memento, rounds out a talented grouping nicely, but something seems just a little bit off on this one.

5. About a Boy ($85 million)

Can you say sleeper? The last movie based on a Nick Hornby novel, High Fidelity, was a bit of a disappointment financially, but not quality-wise. This film might be less alienating (since a film about music geeks doesn't exactly scream blockbuster), especially due to the presence of one Hugh Grant, who appears to be perfect for this role, playing against his type for the second film in a row. If it can get past the impressions that will, of course, follow Grant's name from films like Notting Hill and Nine Months, this could break out in a huge way. Hey, tweaking an established persona worked for Robert DeNiro, so why not Hugh?

4. Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron ($105 million)

The first animated offering of the summer season, this features the most cloying trailer ever created...but that's OK, since I'm apparently not the audience for this one. Too bad for DreamWorks, who'd still love for me to be there anyway. This reminds me more of Pocahontas than anything, for some odd reason, in that it will be one of those films that does a moderate amount of business, then vanishes completely from the public's consciousness. The only thing that really brings it this high on my list is the plum Memorial Day weekend release, which gives it a couple of extra days of boosted business.

3. The Sum of All Fears ($135 million)

This year at the Golden Globes, Harrison Ford was given his Lifetime Achievement Award by Ben Affleck, which, while a bit of an odd decision (shouldn't it have been Lucas or Spielberg?), was about as symbolic as it gets, what with one of Ford's franchise characters, Jack Ryan, being turned over to Affleck. An all-too-relevant storyline turns back the character's clock and picks up with Ryan's entry into the world of international intrigue, as a neo-Nazi group has purchased a nuke and is attempting to detonate it at the Superbowl. I don't think audiences, beyond a few Tom Clancy fan-boys (they come in all kinds) will have much trouble accepting Affleck in this role; it's much like the way that James Bond has bounced from actor to actor with very little trouble.

2. Spider-Man ($325 million)

I've already talked this one to death in the weekend preview, but here it's more about legs than a fast start. The second weekend for this film will mean all the difference between $250 and $350 million. Of course, it's going to be insanely profitable, but to greasy fan-boys everywhere, the potential comparison between this film and the one I have listed at number one will provide much in the way of gloating rights, not unlike the comparisons between Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings last year.

1. Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones ($380 million)

Until three years ago, there would have been little reason to even think that a new Star Wars film might not be the number-one film of its year at the box office, let alone for its month. Then came Episode I, which broke the hearts of GFBs the world around. Most are willing to give the series another shot after a first disappointment, but I think disillusionment could set in quickly if the film doesn't dramatically improve on 1999's effort. Then again, with lowered expectations, some might view anything as an improvement. The good news is, of course, more battles, less Jar Jar and no "Yippee!", but then we have the troubling teen romance subplot. I think due to all those factors, it will actually start off relatively slower than Episode I - anticipation among "normals" will be lower - but could show extra steam as the film proves it doesn't suck. Or, you just might see the highest incidence of bandwagon-jumping-related injuries since Mark McGwire joined the St. Louis Cardinals.

  • Read Tim Briody's May forecast
  • Read Walid Habboub's May forecast
  • Read Kim Hollis' May forecast
  • Read David Mumpower's May forecast



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