Follow us on

2006 Preview: May

April 30th, 2006

There are quite a few sure-fire, monster hits coming out this month, although none looks likely to come close to the box office performance of last year's May champ, Revenge of the Sith. On the other hand, this time last year, the Summer Box Office season got off to a really, really bad start so we should at see some strong year-to-year gains, at least for the first two weeks. This should help 2006 extend its lead over 2005 and push ticket sales into the black.

Interested in discussing these predictions? The join us in the forums.

Name: An American Haunting
Studio: Freestyle Releasing
Official Site: AnAmericanHauntingOnline.com
Release Date: May 5, 2006
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for intense terror sequences and thematic materials
Source: Based on a Book
Major Genre: Horror
Genres: Hauntings
Production Budget: $14 million
Box Office Potential: $25 million
Notes: Anyone who has read this site regularly will know how much I hate horror movies that try and pretend they are based on real life events, so I won't have to repeat that rant again. But there's no denying that these films are usually very profitable. However, An American Haunting won't be one of the hits of the month, partly due to its small theatre count (currently estimated at 1500), and partly due to the competition. But the main reason is that the film just doesn't look like the kind teenagers will flock to and they are the number one demographic for the genre. Even so, given its small production budget, it should still earn a profit by the time it hits the home market.

Name: The Da Vinci Code
Studio: Sony
Official Site: SonyPictures.com
Release Date: May 19, 2006
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for disturbing images, violence, some nudity, thematic material, brief drug references and sexual content
Source: Based on a Book
Major Genre: Suspense
Genres: Religious and Artists
Production Budget: $125 million
Box Office Potential: $225 million
Notes: Out of all the movies opening this month, this one has the most advanced buzz, but that doesn't necessarily mean it will be the biggest hit. It does have the potential to do that and even if it has to settle for second place, it will likely be a close race. There are many factors going for this movie from the hugely successful book that it is based on, the very impressive cast, and let's not forget the controversy. The controversy this film should generate could add $25 - $50 million to its final box office. Going against the film are huge expectations, Dan Brown overload, and the stiff competition. Two films opening that week, The Da Vinci Code and Over the Hedge could hit $200 million. Fortunately, these films share very little of their core audiences and that could help them both reach that level and beyond.

Name: Goal! The Dream Begins
Studio: Disney
Official Site: GoalTheMovie.com
Release Date: May 12, 2006
MPAA Rating: PG for language, sexual situations, and some thematic material including partying
Source: Original Screenplay
Major Genre: Drama
Genres: Soccer
Production Budget: $33 million
Box Office Potential: $12.5 million
Notes: Out of all the films opening wide this month, this one seems likely to be the biggest bomb. First of all, soccer films are rarely popular in here simply because soccer isn't very popular here. One of the biggest hits in the genre was Bend it Like Beckham, which earned just over $32 million domestically. Comparing the two films is very useful when predicting how well Goal! The Dream Begins will do. Useful, but not very optimistic. Bend it Like Beckham earned over $16 million in its native U.K. while Goal! The Dream Begins earned less than $4 million. Assuming the ratio of native to domestic will be the same for the two films, then Goal! The Dream Begins will make $7.3 million box office here. I think Disney's marketing prowess will have it earn around twice that, if it gets a wide release. But even then, with the $10 million it has earned internationally, the film will still be a flop and the $100 million trilogy will likely be a huge financial blunder.

Name: Hoot
Studio: New Line
Official Site: HootMovie.com
Release Date: May 5, 2006
MPAA Rating: PG for mild bullying and brief language
Source: Based on a Book
Major Genre: Comedy
Genres: New Guy in School
Production Budget: $15 million
Box Office Potential: $35 million
Notes: The counter-programming film going up against Mission: Impossible III, which is not as bad of a position as one might think. While the vast majority of the people heading into theatres over the weekend will be looking for explosive action, there will be many families trying to get the jump on the summer box office season. A few years back The Lizzie McGuire Movie was in the same position and opened with more than $17 million. Then again, more recently New York Minute opened the same weekend and earned less than that during its entire run. As for Hoot, it should finish somewhere in the middle of those two extremes leaning slightly to the higher end.

Name: Just My Luck
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Official Site: JustMyLuckMovie.com
Release Date: May 12, 2006
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some brief sexual references
Source: Original Screenplay
Major Genre: Romantic Comedy
Genres: Music Industry
Production Budget: Unknown - Estimated at $30 million
Box Office Potential: $40 million
Notes: These days, Lindsay Lohan is known more for her tabloid antics than her acting, but that has yet to have a detrimental effect on her box office draw, yet. What will have a detrimental effect on the film is its quality. All signs point to the film being a rather generic romantic comedy with one twist, the good luck. In many ways, it reminds me of 13 Going On 30, which was also a rather generic romantic comedy with one twist. (On a side note, almost all romantic comedies are rather generic, and some don't even have a twist.) This means the most vital aspect of the film is the chemistry between Lindsay Lohan and Chris Pine. It's too early to tell for sure, but the trailer didn't convince me there are sparks there. If they do have great chemistry, the film could easily double my prediction. No chemistry or worse, and it might not make half my prediction.

Name: Mission: Impossible III
Studio: Paramount
Official Site: MissionImpossible.com
Release Date: May 5, 2006
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of frenetic violence & menace, disturbing images & some sensuality
Source: Sequel
Major Genre: Action
Genres: Secret Agent, Visual Effects, Revenge
Production Budget: $150 million or more
Box Office Potential: $200 million
Notes: I bet when the studio gave this film the go-ahead, they were thinking the film would be the biggest hit of the summer, possible the biggest hit of the year. Early buzz has it being a monster hit, but not even the biggest hit of the month. Part of the problem is the stiff competition with four other potential $200 million movies opening this month. But lets be honest here, a lot of the problem is Tom Cruise overload. It's become so bad that you can't turn on a TV without hearing about his relationship with Katie Holmes, their new kid, his crusade against neural science, etc. Personally, over the past year I've seen enough of Tom Cruise that I never want to see another one of his movies again. (Same goes for Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt.) Even so, the franchise has been a huge box office draw and this film should get off to a huge start, ($60 to $70 million), but it just won't have the same legs.

Name: Over the Hedge
Studio: Dreamworks
Official Site: OverTheHedgeMovie.com
Release Date: May 19, 2006
MPAA Rating: PG for some rude humor and mild comic action
Source: Based on a Comic
Major Genre: Comedy
Genres: Independent Comics
Production Budget: Unknown - estimated at $80 million
Box Office Potential: $200 million
Notes: The latest digitally animated film to hit theatres and while the shine has definitely comes come off these films, they are still usually huge moneymakers. Normally when these films come out, they are the number one draw of the weekend, but this time around, The Da Vinci Code will probably earn more. However, those two films could set a record for top two opening films in a weekend. Overall the film's goal is meeting or beating Madagascar, which I think it will do. On the other hand, there are many analysts out there that think it will struggle just to top $100 million.

Name: Poseidon
Studio: Warner Bros.
Official Site: PoseidonMovie.WarnerBros.com
Release Date: May 12, 2006
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for intense prolonged sequences of disaster and peril
Source: Remake
Major Genre: Action
Genres: Disaster and Visual Effects
Production Budget: $150 million
Box Office Potential: $125 million
Notes: Each week in May there is at least one potential $200 million movie coming out, but of the five such movies in total, this one is the one that is least likely to reach that goal. There are many reasons for that, for one, Poseidon is a remake and while the slump is mostly over, they are still soft. Also, the advanced buzz is a little weak and not very positive. So it looks like it won't earn as much as the studio had hoped when they gave it the go-ahead. Even worse news, the film is hugely expensive at $150 million meaning it will need to make $300 million domestically or about $400 million worldwide. Earning that much worldwide isn't out of the question, but it will be difficult.

Name: See No Evil
Studio: LionsGate
Official Site: SeeNoEvilTheMovie.com
Release Date: May 19, 2006
MPAA Rating: R for strong gruesome violence and gore throughout, language, sexual content and some drug use.
Source: Original Screenplay
Major Genre: Horror
Genres: Teenage Slasher
Production Budget: $8 million
Box Office Potential: $20 million
Notes: Yet another low budget horror film to come out this year, this one is much more generic than most. In fact, it is so generic, that writing more than a few sentences about it becomes quite difficult since there's no hook to center around, (which also makes advertising the movie so difficult.) So far this year, horror films have done quite well and almost always show a profit, but the industry moves in cycles and I think a major downturn is coming. So adding genre overload and a film that looks generic even compared to other Teenage Slashers and you get a film that won't be a big hit, but thanks to its low, low budget will still earn enough to show a profit.

Name: X-Men: The Last Stand
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Official Site: X3Movie.com
Release Date: May 26, 2006
MPAA Rating: Not yet rated - aiming for PG-13
Source: Sequel
Major Genre: Action
Genres: Super Hero, Mutants, Marvel Comics
Production Budget: $150 million
Box Office Potential: $225 million
Notes: This franchise saw very strong growth between the first movie and the second, which is not a very common occurrence. Part of the reason for this was that X-Men was rushed and not as high a quality as the filmmakers would have liked. (This partially explains is why X2 earned better reviews that its predecessor earned, which is also not a very common occurrence.) Also a factor, when the first film was released, there were very few Marvel Comics hits, indeed, the super hero genre in general was in a slump. So X-Men was greeted with skepticism by some, many of whom waited till DVD to see the movie. On the other hand, X2 earned what was probably full capacity for the franchise in terms of ticket sales. Now, X-Men: The Last Stand will suffer a bit of a decline ticket sales, but thanks to inflation, it should earn slightly more money. One last note, it has been announced that this will be the last X-Men movie, however, there is a planned Wolverine spin-off. This could help the film, as moviegoers will want to see the characters one last time.


-

Filed under: Monthly Preview, X-Men: The Last Stand, The Da Vinci Code, Over the Hedge, Mission: Impossible III, Poseidon, Just My Luck, See No Evil, Hoot, Goal! The Dream Begins, An American Haunting