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June 2017 Movie Preview

May 24, 2017

Anticipation Meter
6 – Epic
5 – Very High
4 – Strong
3 – Moderate
2 – Low
1 – Nonexistent

Wonder Woman (2nd) – Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman was one of the few bright spots in the beleaguered Dawn Of Justice, so I had some anticipation that this could actually be good and break the current losing streak that DC films have been on. This will be an origin story and a period piece that finds Princess Diana of the Amazons embracing her destiny when a fighter pilot played by Chris Pine crashes on her shores and brings news of major conflict in the outside world. I’ve watched a trailer or two and, while my expectations have been tempered a bit, I still think this has a chance to be good and some early word indicates that it is. It’s worth noting that director Patty Jenkins hasn’t directed a feature film since 2003’s Monster and the main screenplay writer has a resume that consists largely of multiple episodes for “Party Of Five,” “Sex and the City,” “The O.C.,” and “Grey’s Anatomy.” In other words, let’s hope Wonder Woman is the best thing he’s ever written. When considering box office success, it’s hard to find films to compare Wonder Woman to as there hasn’t been a superhero movie with a female lead since Catwoman and Elektra both bombed in the mid-2000s. Wonder Woman won’t do The Hunger Games numbers, but it should do significantly better than female-led action franchises like Resident Evil and Underworld – the most successful film in either of those franchises grossed a modest $62 million. Wonder Woman could approach that kind of number in it’s first weekend. I’ll say $43 million opening weekend with a total gross of $157 million. Anticipation Meter – 3.5

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie (2nd) – I don’t know much about this except that it’s an animated film from DreamWorks that features the vocal talents of Kevin Hart, Jordan Peele, and Ed Helms and the plot synopsis says two kids hypnotize their principal into thinking he’s a superhero. Sounds fun to me. Box office is hard to gauge here. I would never guess that The Secret Life Of Pets would do a whopping $373 million. Meanwhile, a movie like The Croods, which I enjoyed substantially more, only grossed $178 million. Kids have terrible taste, so whether a movie is actually good or not doesn’t necessarily reflect it’s box office success. I’ll take a shot in the dark and say this movie puts up numbers similar to Big Hero 6 $56 million opening, $222 million total. Anticipation Meter – 2

The Mummy (9th) – After Dracula Untold failed to jump start Universal’s revamped shared universe (now officially called Dark Universe) for their classic monsters, The Mummy has become the new opening act. From the looks of the trailers, this reboot seems similar in appearance to the Brendan Fraser run that started in the late 90s – although I’ll guess it has less cheesy humor and hopefully more legit scares – with Tom Cruise taking over as the male lead and Sofia Boutella as the film’s mummy. Russell Crowe is also part of the cast, taking on the role of Dr. Henry Jekkyl, as in Dr. Jekkyl and Mr. Hyde. The trailer for this looks okay, but I’m hoping it winds up being good – I want to see this shared universe succeed. The best Fraser-led Mummy movie opened to $68 million and grossed just over $200M and the 2008 entry – which I don’t even remember – opened to $40 mil and did over $100 domestic. It’s weird… with inflation and the star power of Tom Cruise and Russell Crowe it would seem impossible for this movie not to do better than all previous Mummy flicks, but I just don’t sense a ton of excitement for it. It faces little competition, but I think it opens to around $50M and tops out around $175M. Anticipation Meter – 3

It Comes At Night (9th) – An interesting looking horror/mystery film that stars Joel Edgerton, who proved he can do creepy scary in The Gift. I expect a small opening and probably $30-$35M total. Anticipation Meter – 2

Cars 3 (16th) – I’m bewildered by this Pixar franchise. The movies have obviously performed well at the box office, but Cars and Cars 2 are probably my two least favorite movies the studio has produced… and here we are on film #3 while the far superior The Incredibles has taken 14 years to get a sequel. Pixar is actually on a little bit of a cold streak. While I did really enjoy last year’s Finding Dory, the studio hadn’t released a truly great film since Toy Story 3 in 2010 before that. This is going to be a skip for me but I suspect families will be heading out in droves to see it. I should perform similarly to the previous films, opening around $60M and finishing around $200M. Anticipation Meter – 1

All Eyez On Me (16th) – A Tupac Shakur biopic starring an unknown actor, written and directed by people that have done nothing noteworthy in their careers. I want this to be good and I’m interested in seeing Tupac’s story on the big screen, but I suspect the execution is going to be disappointing. Straight Outta Compton ($161 million) was a big hit and Tupac’s legacy is greater than anyone in N.W.A., but I think the lack of quality is already detectable here, so I think it will open to a disappointing $30M and fizzle around $75M total. As a hip hip devotee, lover of films, and fan of Tupac, I will see this even though it looks like it might suck. Anticipation Meter – 3

Rough Night (16th) – An R-Rated comedy starring Scarlett Johansson and Kate McKinnon as members of a bachelorette party that has to deal with the death of the stripper they hired. Seems like an enjoyable combination to me, if not box office fodder. Bridesmaids ($170M) is the obvious comparison, but this film won’t sniff that kind of success: $18M opening, $55M total. Anticipation Meter – 2

Transformers: The Last Knight (21st) – This is the 5th Transformers movie and I’m honestly not sure how many I’ve even seen – probably just the first three. The visual effects of the robots transforming have always been the best thing about this franchise, but I’ve seen it done enough times now that it’s not enough of a draw for me to see the movies anymore. The stories have been lacking for a while and Michael Bay is a deservedly panned director. I’m a Mark Wahlberg fan, but my interest in this franchise is pretty much over. The public still likes to pack theaters for Autobots and Decepticons and even though interest has somewhat waned over the last two films, the least successful entry still did $245 million. I’ll wager that trend continues and say The Last Knight has the worst opening weekend since the original ($70M)and finishes around $215M total. Anticipation Meter – 1

Baby Driver (28th) – A crime thriller about a young getaway driver hired by a crime boss with an interesting cast that features the likes of Kevin Spacey, Jon Hamm, Jamie Foxx, and Jon Bernthal. More importantly, it’s an Edgar Wright film, the writer/director that has given us gems like Shaun Of The Dead and Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World. No Wright film has grossed more than $31.5 million, so it’s likely this will have a very small opening and finish right around that number. Anticipation Meter – 2.5

Despicable Me 3 (30th) – Reformed evil genius Gru and his adopted kids are still plenty of fun and even though last year’s Minions was total crap it was still a box office smash. In this entry, Gru meets a twin brother named Dru he never knew about. Steve Carell does some great voice work in this franchise and adding a twin brother could let his talent shine even brighter. My wife and I will go see this and it will be another megahit for DreamWorks: $105M opening, $325M total. Anticipation Meter – 3

Note: After spending several hours writing this (and planning separate entries for Netflix and music), I have to ask myself: is it really worth the time and effort to do stuff like this and the answer is a pretty easy no. My blog only gets a modest number of hits and I’ve struggled to expand my audience beyond my friends and family so I will be cutting the depth of my posts down considerably in an effort to spend my free time more effectively. My ultimate goal is to streamline my thoughts and opinions in a way that is still interesting but not as time consuming for me (or you).

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