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2004 Summer Preview - Part 2: May

May 4th, 2004

May marks the start of Summer, at least according to the movie industry. And while Memorial Day Weekend is the official start of Summer, the first weekend in May is becoming increasingly important. So it's no surprise that there are 8 movies set for wide released during the upcoming month. ... Wait a minute; that can't be right. With just 8 movies opening each week there will be the potential blockbuster and the counter-programming movie, thereby maximizing profits. Obviously this has to change.

Ok, enough of the sarcasm, lets get on with the movies.

Name: Breakin' All the Rules
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Official Site: SonyPictures.com
Release Date: May 14th
Source: Original Script
Genres: Relationship Advice
Production Budget: Unknown, estimated at $20 million
Box Office Potential: $15 million
Notes: Five stars still waiting for a breakout hit and a less than effective trailer leaves this film in trouble. Given other films targeting the same demographic expect this film to open in 1200 - 1600 theatres, with room to expand should it out-perform. However, as recent events have shown us this rarely works out.

Name: The Day After Tomorrow
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Official Site: The Day After Tomorrow
Release Date: May 28th
Source: Original Script
Genres: End of the World
Production Budget: $125 million
Box Office Potential: $150 million
Notes: Making a end of the world type movies is a risky business; their box office haul isn't that strong and their costs are astronomical. And this one's no different with an estimated total budget after P&A of $175 million it will have a tough time just match that.

Name: New York Minute
Studio: Warner Bros.
Official Site: NewYorkMinuteMovie.com
Release Date: May 7th
Source: Original Script
Genres: Twins
Production Budget: $40 million
Box Office Potential: $20 million
Notes: Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen are at the center of a billion dollar empire; and while they've made quite a few movies together they have mostly gone direct-to-video. If they don't shake their former child-star stigma, then this film probably should join them going direct to video.

Name: Raising Helen
Studio: Disney
Official Site: Raising-Helen.com
Release Date: May 26th
Source: Original Script
Genres: Unexpected Families
Production Budget: Unknown, estimated at $50 million
Box Office Potential: $60 million
Notes: Kate Husdon is a tough woman to make predictions about. She starred in the surprise $100 million hit How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days but her next movie was the huge misfire Alex & Emma. Director Gary Marshall is on a mini hot streak with each of his past two movies hitting $100 million. So this film could be a nice rebound for Kate Hudson, or if it bombs it could give her a reputation as a jinx. Most likely it will end up in the middle.

Name: Shrek 2
Studio: Dreamworks SKG
Official Site: Shrek2.com
Release Date: May 21st
Source: Sequel
Genres: Digital Animation
Production Budget: $70 million
Box Office Potential: $275 million
Notes: The first Shrek was a big hit, and big surprise hit. One of the things that made it so attractive to audiences was it was something new; it wasn't a sequel, remake, etc. And since this one is a sequel it has one strike against it. Also, Mike Myers' star-power took a hit after The Cat in the Hat. So that's strike two. But it is CG Animation, which is on such a hot streak that even $200 million would be seen as a disappointment. Also on the plus side, it's got the weekend to itself, at least for now. I think it will break Finding Nemo's record for an opening weekend by an animated movie. But I don't think it will have the same kind of legs.

Name: Soul Plane
Studio: MGM/UA
Official Site: SoulPlane.com
Release Date: May 28th
Source: Original Script
Genres: Travel Industry
Production Budget: $16 million
Box Office Potential: $25 million
Notes: You know a movie is in trouble when they use Tom Arnold in the trailer. It should have a similar release as Breakin' All the Rules, i.e. start small with room to grow. It does have a larger box office potential, but that's simple because of its better release date.

Name: Troy
Studio: Warner Bros.
Official Site: TroyMovie.WarnerBros.com
Release Date: May 14th
Source: Classic Literature
Genres: Ancient History
Production Budget: $150 million
Box Office Potential: $200 million
Notes: This film is an attempt at an epic film in the vein of Gladiator. In fact, there are enough similarities in box office draw of the cast, director, etc. that the quickest way to come up with a prediction would be to take Gladiator's final tally and adjust it for inflation. Troy should be much more front-loaded, but the end result will be the same. That's the good news, the bad news is production budgets have risen faster than ticket prices, so this film will not be as profitable.

Name: Van Helsing
Studio: Universal
Official Site: VanHelsing.net
Release Date: May 7th
Source: Novel
Genres: Monster Movie
Production Budget: $95 million
Box Office Potential: $140 million
Notes: Revisiting the classic movie monsters was very profitable for universal with The Mummy franchise, which definitely boosts the box office potential. However, the early buzz is comparing this film to The League and that's a bad, bad sign. Both the star and the director have had some success, but mostly within their signature franchise, (Hugh Jackman with X-Men and Stephen Sommer with The Mummy.) Outside these franchises they have not had much success. Van Helsing may change that, but at its price tag it won't make enough to be a genuine success.


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Filed under: Monthly Preview, Shrek 2, The Day After Tomorrow, Troy, Van Helsing, Raising Helen, New York Minute, Soul Plane, Breakin' All the Rules