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2005 Preview: June

June 1st, 2005

June's a great month for movies, even though it doesn't have a major long weekend like May (Memorial Day), or July (Independence Day). There are a couple of films that have real potential to become monster hits, plus lots of $100 million contenders.

Name: The Adventures of Shark Boy & Lava Girl in 3-D
Studio: Dimension
Official Site: n/a
Release Date: June 10th, 2005
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for mild action and some rude humor.
Source: Original Screenplay
Major Genre: Action / Adventure
Genres: Super Hero
Production Budget: Unknown - Estimate at $45 million
Box Office Potential: $85 million
Notes: Director, Robert Rodriguez has an excellent track record turning films with relatively small budgets into midlevel hits. He is also a master at two diametrically opposed genres: the highly stylized violent films for adults, and kids films heavy on the CG like the Spy Kids franchise. Hopefully he never gets really drunk and combines the two; that would be bad. This film is in the later category and while it looks very imaginative it's unlikely to reach the same level as Spy Kids at the box office but should earn enough to have a sequel or two. One last note, as the name suggests, this film is in 3-D, but using a new technique that should reduce eye strain. Hopefully this adds to the story and is not just a cheap gimmick.

Name: Batman Begins
Studio: Warner Bros.
Official Site: BatmanBegins.WarnerBros.com
Release Date: June 15th, 2005
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense action violence, disturbing images & some thematic elements
Source: Sequel
Major Genre: Action / Adventure
Genres: Super Hero and D.C. Comics
Production Budget: $120 million to $135 million, reports vary
Box Office Potential: $250 million
Notes: Potentially the biggest hit of the month and possibly the biggest D.C. Comics movie of all time, topping the original Batman from 1989. This is not really a true sequel, and it's not even a prequel, but a retelling of the Batman mythos. (The film will have nothing to do with the previous films.) There are a couple of obstacles in the path to success, namely the lack of big name nemesis. There are some famous villains in Gotham City, but I don't think The Scarecrow is among them. Another problem with the film is how stunningly ugly the Batmobile is. If the movie flops, I'm blaming that ugly, ugly car.

Name: Bewitched
Studio: Sony
Official Site: SonyPictures.com
Release Date: June 24th, 2005
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some language, including sex and drug references, and partial nudity.
Source: Based on a TV series
Major Genre: Comedy
Genres: TV Industry and Secret Magic
Production Budget: Unknown - estimated at $75 million
Box Office Potential: $65 million
Notes: Possibly the most confusing movie being released this summer. Will Ferrell stars as Jack Wyatt, an actor whose career is floundering when he gets the chance to star in a remake of Bewitched. In his search for the perfect Samantha Stephens he casts Isabel Bigelow, played by Nicole Kidman, who turns out to be an actual witch. So it's not a remake of Bewitched the TV show, but a movie about remaking Bewitched the TV show with a plot and situations very similar to TV series being remade. This movie is absolutely exploding with comedic possibilities, but also filled with plenty of opportunities to mess up. Should they do it right, it will become a $100 million hit. But if they messed it up it will earn less than half of that.

Name: Cinderella Man
Studio: Universal
Official Site: CinderellaManMovie.com
Release Date: June 3rd, 2005
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for intense boxing violence and some language
Source: Based on Real Life Events
Major Genre: Drama
Genres: Boxing
Production Budget: Unknown - Estimated at $85 million
Box Office Potential: $100 million
Notes: The latest film featuring a stellar performance by Paul Giamatti for which he will get totally screwed over by the Oscar nomination committee (this year I'm decided to be bitter in advanced so I won't have to be in January). Like the similarly themed Seabiscuit, this film screams Award Season with two Oscar winning leads, Russell Crowe and Renee Zellweger and an Oscar wining director, Ron Howard. The only real concern is that it's being released a little early in the year for that. As for its box office potential, it's a historical drama with a classic story of the underdog who triumphs in difficult times and that should be a big draw for moviegoers. However, do not expect a massive opening. Instead the film will rely on strong legs.

Name: George A. Romero's Land of the Dead
Studio: Universal
Official Site: LandOfTheDeadMovie.net
Release Date: June 24th, 2005
MPAA Rating: Rated R for pervasive strong violence and gore, language, brief sexuality and some drug use.
Source: Original Script
Major Genre: Horror
Genres: Zombies
Production Budget: $3 million to $15 million, reports vary
Box Office Potential: $60 million
Notes: When you think of Zombie movies, most people will think of George A. Romero and his masterpiece, Night of the Living Dead. The fact that George A. Romero is making his return to the genre after a 20 year absence will cause plenty of moviegoers to flock to the theatres. But even with strong word of mouth the Fanboys Effect will cause a huge second weekend drop-off. Good news is, the production budget is low enough that the film should completely cover that expense during the opening weekend, and the film has a shot at showing a profit before its domestic run is over. On the down side, there's high expectations floating around for this film and if the result is less than perfect a lot of people will be disappointed.

Name: Herbie: Fully Loaded
Studio: Disney
Official Site: Disney.Go.com
Release Date: June 22, 2005
MPAA Rating: Rated G for general audiences.
Source: Sequel
Major Genre: Comedy
Genres: Auto Racing
Production Budget: $50 million
Box Office Potential: $75 million
Notes: It's hard to tell if this is a sequel or remake. If it's a sequel it will have been nearly 25 years to the day since the last film was released, which is an extremely long time. Or you could consider it a remake, in which case it has to content with the recent remake slump. Going for the film is the Disney name and the lack of G-Rated family films this summer. Going against it is the poor FX shown in the trailer and Lindsay Lohan's reputation. When an actor is more known for their off camera antics, it's never good for their career.

Name: High Tension
Studio: Lions Gate
Official Site: HighTensionMovie.com
Release Date: June 10th, 2005
MPAA Rating: Rated R for graphic bloody killings, terror, sexual content and language, (originally rated NC-17 for strong graphic violence.)
Source: Original Screenplay
Major Genre: Horror
Genres: Foreign Language, Gay / Lesbian and Surprise Twist
Production Budget: €2.2 million (~$2.75 million)
Box Office Potential: $25 million
Notes: A horror film from France that will earn a lot of fans for its intense and graphic violence, but will turn away many, many more. Also, the surprise twist has been described as lame by most critics. The film's potential depends almost entirely on whether moviegoers accept the surprise twist or laugh it off.

Name: The Honeymooners
Studio: Paramount
Official Site: HoneymoonersMovie.com
Release Date: June 10th, 2005
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some innuendo and rude humor.
Source: Based on a TV Series
Major Genre: Comedy
Genres: Black Urban
Production Budget: $27.5 million
Box Office Potential: $25 million
Notes: This movie looks like a disaster. Taking a classic TV show and changing this much will likely alienate fans of the original while the original will limit the appeal with the new target audience. To compound matters, none of the stars have a reputation for being able to carry a movie. Rounding out the trifecta of bad news, it's opening on the busiest weekend of the month and will likely be the third or fourth choice for most moviegoers.

Name: Howl's Moving Castle
Studio: Disney
Official Site: Disney.com
Release Date: June 10th, 2005
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for frightening images and brief mild language.
Source: Based on a Book
Major Genre: Animated
Genres: Anime
Production Budget: ¥3 Billion (~$27 million)
Box Office Potential: $15 million
Notes: While this is a limited release film, it has a reasonably shot at earning some mainstream success. The level of success depends a lot on how well Disney handles the marketing, and going by the results of Hayao Miyazaki's other works, I'm not expecting too much. That matters little to the overall profitability of the movie as it is already a massive hit earning $175 million in its native Japan alone. If all goes well, this could finally be the Anime film that breaks out of the niche market and experiences some real crossover appeal.

Name: The Lords of Dogtown
Studio: Sony
Official Site: SonyPictures.com
Release Date: June 3rd, 2005
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for drug and alcohol content, sexuality, violence, language and reckless behavior - all involving teens.
Source: Based on Real Life Events
Major Genre: Action / Adventure
Genres: Miscellaneous Sports
Production Budget: Unknown - Estimated at $25 million
Box Office Potential: $30 million
Notes: This is practically a remake as the story has already been told, and told well in a documentary called Dogtown and Z-Boys. There's really no name actors to carry the film and skateboarding isn't a really popular enough to make up the slack, which will most likely prevent the film from becoming even a midlevel hit.

Name: Mr. and Mrs. Smith
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Official Site: MrAndMrsSmithMovie.com
Release Date: June 10th, 2005
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sequences of violence, intense action, sexual content and brief strong language.
Source: Original Screenplay
Major Genre: Action / Adventure
Genres: Hitmen
Production Budget: $100 million
Box Office Potential: $165 million
Notes: Some films are just made for summer, and this is one of them. Big stars, lots of action, a touch of humor and more than enough intrigue behind the scenes. Several cast changes, shooting delays and if the rumors are correct, at least one marriage was destroyed before the film was finally finished. The film has a great premise, a married couple has lost the spark, that is until they find out they are both assassins and their next targets are each other. Should this film capture the imagination of moviegoers it could earn $200 million or more, worst case scenario has it crossing $100 million after a small push by the studio.

Name: The Perfect Man
Studio: Universal
Official Site: ThePerfectManMovie.com
Release Date: June 17th, 2005
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for some mildly suggestive content.
Source: Based on Real Life Events
Major Genre: Romantic Comedy
Genres: Divorcée Romance
Production Budget: Unknown - estimated at $20 million
Box Office Potential: $50 million
Notes: I'm rooting for this film because not only does it have Christopher Noth in it, my third favorite actor from Law & Order, but also Amy Acker, my favorite actor from Angel and Vanessa Lengies, a Canadian actress from such series as American Dreams and PM4K. The film is the latest vehicle for Hilary Duff, it's being released about the same time of the year as A Cinderella Story, it's directed by the same director, (who also directed an episode of Lizzie McGuire) and should earn a similar box office. The film was originally set for a mid-August release date, then it was bumped up to late July and finally mid-June, right against Batman Begins. Normally that would be a huge mistake, but the film should prove to be great counter-programming fare.

Name: Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants
Studio: Warner Bros.
Official Site: SisterhoodOfTheTravellingPants.WarnerBros.com
Release Date: June 1st, 2005
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for thematic elements, some sensuality and language.
Source: Based on a Book
Major Genre: Drama
Genres: Coming of Age
Production Budget: Unknown - Estimated at $20 million
Box Office Potential: $35 million
Notes: This is a difficult film to explain to other people due to the Magical Pants aspect, but in essence it is simple a story of four friends who spend an important summer apart. On the plus side, the movie is based on a popular book and has some amazing actresses in the lead roles. On the down side, films aimed at the same target demographic have not done particularly well recently and there appears to be little crossover appeal.

Name: War of the Worlds
Studio: Dreamworks SKG
Official Site: WarOfTheWorlds.com
Release Date: June 29th, 2005
MPAA Rating: N/A - Most likely aiming for a PG-13 rating.
Source: Remake
Major Genre: Sci Fi
Genres: Alien Invasion
Production Budget: $128 million or more
Box Office Potential: $225 million
Notes: One of the most bankable stars teams up with one of the most bankable directors to create one of the most expensive movies of the summer. Practically a guaranteed hit with only two minor downsides, firstly it's so expensive that it could be a hit and still not make enough money to cover its production budget. There was a rumor that the film became the costliest film in Hollywood history, topping Titanic. The studio denied the rumor giving a production budget of $128 million, but the true figure is probably somewhere in the middle. Secondly, there are many changes compared to H.G.Wells' classic novel, which could negatively impact the film's box office. Note: While this film opens in June, it is more of a July movie and will therefore also appear on July's preview with any last minute updates.


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Filed under: Monthly Preview, War of the Worlds, Batman Begins, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Herbie: Fully Loaded, Bewitched, Cinderella Man, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, George A. Romero's Land of the Dead, The Perfect Man, The Honeymooners, The Lords of Dogtown, Hauru no ugoku shiro, High Tension, The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl in 3-D