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2013 Preview: June

June 2nd, 2013

May ended on a mixed note, but there was still enough to celebrate. Of the seven films I thought had a legitimate shot at $100 million, four have already gotten there, one more is a sure thing, and another has a good shot as well. Only one, After Earth, will definitely fail to get to that milestone. (Although Now You See Me might get there instead.) Looking forward to June, there are four weekends, each with two wide releases, for a total of eight films. Of those eight, six have a legitimate shot at $100 million. One, Monsters University, should have no trouble getting to $200 million, and another, Man of Steel, should top $300 million. It is hard to compare this June with last June, because last June there were five weekends. Taking that into account and ignoring the first week, which lines up with the final week of May, there were eight wide releases. Of those eight, five hit $100 million, including three $200 million movies. There were no $300 million movies, so if the two big hits this month do as well as expected, 2013 could come out ahead.

Weekend of June 7th, 2013

Like I said above, of the eight films opening wide in June, six of them have legitimate shots at $100 million. Unfortunately, both of the two exceptions open the first weekend of June. The Internship stars Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn and is directed by Shawn Levy. All three men have plenty of experience with $100 million hits, but all three men have struggled a bit lately and the buzz on this film is very negative. The Purge is a horror film with a strong setup, but almost no one thinks it will be anything more than a midlevel hit. Horror films rarely rise above midlevel hits, especially in summer. By comparison, this weekend last year Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted and Prometheus debuted with more than $50 million. I'm not sure either film opening wide this week will make $50 million in total, so 2013 will likely take a beating at the box office. On a side note, the film I'm most looking forward to seeing that comes out this month is Much Ado About Nothing. Given its early reviews and the buzz, it should expand wide enough to earn some measure of mainstream success. On the other hand, expanding truly wide, or even semi-wide, it very unlikely.

The Internship

Trailer: Click to Play
Official Site: TheInternshipMovie.com
Distributor: Fox
Release Date: June 7th, 2013
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sexuality, some crude humor, partying and language.
Source: Original Screenplay
Major Genre: Comedy
Keywords: Fired, Generational Conflict, Delayed Adulthood, Underdog, Screenplay Written By Star, Internet, and more
Directed By: Shawn Levy
Screenplay By: Vince Vaughn and Jared Stern
Starring: Vince Vaughn, Owen Wilson, and others
Production Budget: Estimated at $40 million to $60 million
Box Office Potential: $45 million

If this film were made in 2007, I would be incredibly bullish about its chances. Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson made The Wedding Crashers in 2005, which set records for biggest R-rated comedy. In 2006, Shawn Levy released Night at the Museum, which shattered expectations earning close to $600 million worldwide. However, in the years since then, both Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson have more misses than hits, while Shawn Levy has never matched Night at the Museum's performance, even if he has never made an outright bomb. Worse still, the buzz for this film is bad. Not only is it a little too quiet, it is also quite negative. Some think this film will bomb to the same level that The Watch or Marmaduke did. I think that's a little too negative, but the evidence suggests it won't be anything more than a midlevel hit either.

The Purge

Trailer: Click to Play
Official Site: BlumHouse.com/Film/ThePurge
Distributor: Universal
Release Date: June 7th, 2013
MPAA Rating: R for strong disturbing violence and some language.
Source: Original Screenplay
Major Genre: Thriller
Keywords: Dystopian Future, Political, Home Invasion, Unnamed Characters, Homeless, Returning Soldier, Class Warfare, and more
Directed By: James DeMonaco
Screenplay By: James DeMonaco
Starring: Ethan Hawke, Lena Headey, Adelaide Kane, Max Burkholder, Edwin Hodge, Rhys Wakefield, and others
Production Budget: $3 million
Box Office Potential: $45 million

This film takes place in a dystopian future where once a year for 12 hours, all crimes are legal, including murder. In the movie, Ethan Hawke and Lena Headey, plus their two kids, Adelaide Kane and Max Burkholder, barricade themselves in their mansion to wait out the night. However, a man, Edwin Hodge, comes to their home begging to be let in. When one of the children does so, they may have saved the man's life, but the person following him, Rhys Wakefield, and the band of crazies, demand they be given the man, or they will break into the home and kill Ethan Hawke and his family. That's a good setup for a film and the trailer sold it well. Additionally, last January, Ethan Hawke starred in Sinister, which did quite well given the time of year. The Purge has a better release date, but also has to deal with stronger competition. Its early reviews are good, but not great, so I think it will become a solid midlevel hit.

Weekend of June 14th, 2013

The second weekend in June sees the release of Man of Steel, which many think will be the biggest hit of the month. Superman is arguably the most famous comic book super hero of all time and even those with no interest in the genre are likely know who he is and probably even his origin story. I say arguably the most famous, because at this point, Batman might have overtaken him in that regard, as his popularity with moviegoers has waned. I'm a little concerned it won't live up to expectations at the box office. This is the End is playing counter-programming this week and it has a shot at $100 million. It stars a huge number of very funny actors, most of whom have had box office success with R-rated comedies. Unfortunately, it is one of three films opening this summer with a similar theme. (One of them is opening in limited release, so at least it won't be major competition.) There were two wide releases this weekend last year, Rock of Ages and That's My Boy, both of which bombed. Because of this, 2013 should have no trouble earning a win in the year-over-year comparison. There is one limited release opening this weekend that is earning considerable buzz, The Bling Ring, but its early reviews haven't lived up to the hype.

Man of Steel

Trailer: Click to Play
Official Site: ManOfSteel.com
Distributor: Warner Bros.
Release Date: June 14th, 2013
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence, action and destruction, and for some language.
Source: Based on a Comic
Major Genre: Action
Keywords: Friendly Alien, Alien Invasion, Death of Parents, Adopted Family, Visual Effects, Reboot, D.C. Comics, and more
Directed By: Zack Snyder
Screenplay By: David Goyer
Starring: Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Kevin Costner, Diane Lane, Michael Shannon, Laurence Fishburne, and others
Production Budget: Reported at $175 million
Box Office Potential: $295 million

A lot of people think this film will make more than $300 million. Some even think it will challenge Iron Man 3 for biggest hit of the summer. I'm less bullish than that. On the positive side, it is earning the loudest buzz for any wide release in June and the studio will be pushing it like crazy. Warner Bros. owns D.C. Comics, but while there are over 5,000 characters in the D.C. universe, they haven't been able to turn any of their comic book properties into major movie franchises in the past 20 years, except for Batman. Now that the Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy is over, they are desperate for a hit and that desperation should translate into lots of marketing. On the negative side, there was a lot of buzz for Superman Returns and it failed to live up to expectations. It didn't exactly bomb, but it barely broke even. Additionally, Zack Snyder has only had one monster hit, 300, and one film that earned overwhelmingly positive reviews, Dawn of the Dead. With a reported production budget of $175 million, it will need to be Zack Snyder's biggest hit to date to have a chance of breaking even early in the film's home market run. It will need to do a lot more than just break even if Warner Bros. wants to create a Justice League of America franchise to compete with The Avengers.

This is the End

Trailer: Click to Play
Official Site: ThisIsTheEnd.com
Distributor: Sony
Release Date: June 12th, 2013
MPAA Rating: R for crude and sexual content throughout, brief graphic nudity, pervasive language, drug use and some violence.
Source: Original Screenplay
Major Genre: Comedy
Keywords: End of the World, Actors Playing Fictionalized Versions of Themselves, Religion, Demons, Possession, Cannibal, Musician, Actors, Black Out Drunk, Ensemble, Footage Shot By Character, Breaking the Fourth Wall, Screenplay Written By Star, Gratuitous Cameos, and more
Directed By: Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen
Screenplay By: Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen
Starring: Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel, and every actor currently working
Production Budget: Estimated at $20 million to $40 million
Box Office Potential: $95 million

Seth Rogen and Jay Baruchel star as themselves. In the beginning of the film, Jay Baruchel returns to Hollywood and Seth Rogen takes him to a hedonistic party and James Franco's house. While there, the rapture happens. Seth, Jay, and the rest of the partygoers try to survive the apocalypse. For most of them, they don't survive very long.

I'm a little more bullish about this film's chances than most people. There are not a lot of R-rated comedies coming out this summer and the first big R-rated comedy was The Hangover 3, but was eviscerated by critics and struggled at the box office compared to the other two films in the franchise. The Internship does share a lot of this film's target demographic, but this film has louder buzz, despite opening a week later, and the buzz is a lot stronger. I'm a little more concerned about Rapture-Palooza and The World's End, which have strikingly similar premises. Rapture-Palooza opens in limited release a week before this film, while The World's End opens wide in August. If the buzz focuses on the similarities between these three films, this could hurt all three film's chances at the box office. Even so, This is the End is the biggest of the three films and it should therefore be hurt the least.

Weekend of June 21st, 2013

There are two films opening wide this week, both of which on paper could be monster hits. Monsters University is the latest Pixar film and the studio has an unbelievable track record at the box office. They have never released a bomb and nearly all of their movies have won critical accolades. This includes Monsters, Inc, the predecessor to this film, and the studio is certainly hoping to build on that film's success. The second film coming out this week is World War Z, a zombie movie based on a book of the same name. However, it is not just a zombie movie; the book treats the zombie apocalypse as if it happened in the real world and explores what the political and sociological implications would be. It is based on a popular book, but this could be a curse, because fans of the book will turn on the movie for any perceived change to the source material. Looking at this weekend last year, there were two main releases: Brave and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. (Seeking a Friend for the End of the World didn't open truly wide and barely managed a spot in the top ten.) Monsters University should top Brave, while Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter should prove to be no match for World War Z. I'm optimistic 2013 will come away with a solid victory.

Monsters University

Trailer: Click to Play
Official Site: Disney.Go.com/Monsters-University
Distributor: Disney
Release Date: June 21st, 2013
MPAA Rating: G for General Admission
Source: Original Screenplay / Sequel
Major Genre: Adventure
Keywords: Prequel, Delayed Sequel, University, Underdog, Monster, Bully, Fraternities, and more
Directed By: Dan Scanlon
Screenplay By: Daniel Gerson, Robert L. Baird, and Dan Scanlon
Starring: Billy Crystal, John Goodman, Steve Buscemi, Helen Mirren, and others
Production Budget: Estimated at $175 million to $200 million
Box Office Potential: $275 million

Monsters University is a prequel to Monsters, Inc., focusing on Mike and Scully and their days at Monsters University where they were learning to become Scarers. There are many reasons to be bullish about this film's chances. Pixar has an incredible track record at the box office and they've never released a film that has bombed. They have also only released one movie that didn't earn overall positive reviews. Monsters, Inc. was a a big hit earning $255 million during its original release more than a decade ago, while it also earned stellar reviews and even an Oscar win for Best Original Song. (On a side note, I still think it was robbed when it came to the Best Animated Feature Oscar. It certainly has aged much better than Shrek did.) Monsters University's buzz is not quite as good as some previous Pixar releases. Many think it is perhaps a little too silly looking to draw in adult animation fans and this could also hurt its Tomatometer Score. On the other hand, there hasn't been an Oscar-worthy animated feature released wide this year, so if it can match last year's Brave in terms of reviews, it will do well. It should also top Brave at the box office, because it is much easier to convince a girl to go see a movie with male lead characters than it is to convince a boy to see a movie with female lead characters. On the other, I'm not sure about its legs, because Despicable Me 2 opens just a couple weeks later and it will be a lot stronger competition than Ice Age: Continental Drift was with Brave.

World War Z

Trailer: Click to Play
Official Site: WorldWarZmovie.com
Distributor: Paramount
Release Date: June 21st, 2013
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for intense frightening zombie sequences, violence and disturbing images.
Source: Based on a Book
Major Genre: Action
Keywords: Dystopian Future, Political, Zombies, Epidemic, Post-Apocalypse, Author Adapting Own Novel, and more
Directed By: Marc Forster
Screenplay By: Matthew Michael Carnahan, Drew Goddard, and Damon Lindelof
Starring: Brad Pitt and others
Production Budget: $190 million
Box Office Potential: $125 million

World War Z is based on a novel that takes a look at the Zombie Apocalypse as if it happened in the real world and what the political and sociological implications would be. This means it is closer to Contagion than to any of the Resident Evil films. This seems like a great idea for a film; however, there have been lots of rumors that the movie has instead been turned into a more typical zombie movie and just a Brad Pitt vehicle. It might still be a good movie, but it makes predicting its box office chances harder, plus nerd rage is clouding the issue. Also, the nerds might have a point. The movie was originally set for a December 2012 release but was pushed back because of extensive re-writes and re-shoots. There are reports that the entire third act had to be scrapped and redone. There's no way that's a good sign. I still think it will get past $100 million with relative ease, as the studio will be giving it a strong marketing push. But unless I've really underestimated its box office potential and / or it is a much bigger hit internationally, the planned trilogy will not materialize.

Weekend of June 28th, 2013

The month ends with two action films opening wide: The Heat and White House Down. Normally this would be a really bad idea, as the two films would cannibalize each other at the box office and the end result would be neither film would reach its full potential. However, while they are both action films, they are aimed at very different target demographics. The Heat is an action / comedy starring Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy and is directed by Paul Feig. Its target audience has more in common with Bridesmaids than it does with White House Down. White House Down is an action / thriller starring Channing Tatum and Jamie Foxx and it is directed by Roland Emmerich. It should be big and overblown, but a crowd-pleaser. What they do have in common is box office potential. They should both top $100 million with relative ease. Unfortunately, this week last year there were two major hits, Ted and Magic Mike, and I don't think The Heat and White House Down will be able to match their combined openings. It looks like June could end on a losing note in the year-over-year comparison.

The Heat

Trailer: Click to Play
Official Site: TheHeatMovie.com
Distributor: Fox
Release Date: June 28th, 2013
MPAA Rating: R for pervasive language, strong crude content and some violence.
Source: Original Screenplay
Major Genre: Comedy
Keywords: Buddy Cop, Comedy, Narcotics, Organized Crime, FBI, and more
Directed By: Paul Feig
Screenplay By: Katie Dippold
Starring: Sandra Bullock, Melissa McCarthy, and others
Production Budget: Estimated at $40 million to $60 million
Box Office Potential: $150 million

Sandra Bullock plays an uptight FBI agent and Melissa McCarthy plays an uncouth Boston cop. They have to team up to stop the Russian mafia, which is a major force in the narcotics trade. Both actresses have had a lot of success recently, which bodes well for this film's box office chances. Additionally, it is directed by Paul Feig, who previously directed Bridesmaids, which was one of the biggest surprise hits of 2011. At first glance, the weak spot seems to be Katie Dippold, the screenwriter. However, while this is her first movie script, she does have some success on TV, including two WGA nominations for her work on Parks and Recreation. The studio is very bullish about the film's chances, so much so that they've already given the green light to a sequel. It likely didn't cost a huge amount to make, so it if can crack $100 million domestically, it will be profitable early in its home market run. It if can crack $150 million, and I think it can, then it might break even just on its domestic theatrical numbers. It depends on its production budget / P&A budget.

White House Down

Trailer: Click to Play
Official Site: WhiteHouseDown.com
Distributor: Sony
Release Date: June 28th, 2013
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for prolonged sequences of action and violence including intense gunfire and explosions, some language and a brief sexual image.
Source: Original Screenplay
Major Genre: Thriller Keywords: Terrorism, Political, Rescue, Secret Service, White House Under Attack, and more
Directed By: Roland Emmerich
Screenplay By: James Vanderbilt
Starring: Channing Tatum, Jamie Foxx, Jason Clarke, Joey King, and others
Production Budget: Reported at $150 million
Box Office Potential: $125 million

Channing Tatum plays a D.C. cop trying to become a member of the Secret Service, but he is denied. While at the White House on a public tour, there is a terrorist attack by Jason Clarke and he has to spring into action to save the president, Jamie Foxx, and his daughter, Joey King. Both Channing Tatum and Jamie Foxx have a lot of $100 million movies in their respective careers. Jamie Foxx is currently on a five-film $100 million streak, while Channing Tatum had three $100 million movies in 2012 alone. Additionally, Roland Emmerich is a master at overblown action films that draw in moviegoers. His career average is roughly $125 million, and that includes one limited release and the two films he made before his breakout success with Independence Day. $125 million seems like a solid goal for the film. Unfortunately, that's not a lot compared to its combined budget, but assuming it does well internationally and on the home market, it should earn a solid profit.


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Filed under: Monthly Preview, Man of Steel, Monsters University, World War Z, This is the End, White House Down, The Internship, The Heat, The Purge, Much Ado About Nothing, The Bling Ring, Batman, Superman, Resident Evil, Sandra Bullock, Brad Pitt, Kevin Costner, Ethan Hawke, Amy Adams, Jay Baruchel, Max Burkholder, Steve Buscemi, Henry Cavill, Jason Clarke, Billy Crystal, Roland Emmerich, Laurence Fishburne, Marc Forster, Jamie Foxx, James Franco, John Goodman, , Lena Headey, Joey King, Diane Lane, Shawn Levy, Melissa McCarthy, Helen Mirren, Christopher Nolan, Seth Rogen, Michael Shannon, Zack Snyder, Channing Tatum, Vince Vaughn, Rhys Wakefield, Owen Wilson, James Vanderbilt, Damon Lindelof, Daniel Gerson, Evan Goldberg, Edwin Hodge, Paul Feig, Jared Stern, Drew Goddard, Adelaide Kane, James DeMonaco, Dan Scanlon, Robert L. Baird