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2004 Summer Preview - Part 4: July

June 30th, 2004

June couldn't maintain the momentum built up at the end of May with only a few films able to match expectations. And that makes July's prospects a little less bright. Without the free advertising monster hits bring in, the industry as a whole tends to suffer. July only has one sure-fire hit, and I've already talked about it in another preview. However, there are a few others that should hit the $100 million club and maybe even one or two that will make it to $200 million.

Name: Anchorman
Studio: Dreamworks SKG
Official Site: Anchorman-TheMovie.com
Release Date: July 9th
Source: Original Script
Major Genre: Comedy
Genres: News
Production Budget: $25 million
Box Office Potential: $125 million
Notes: Will Ferrell's career is on fire right now. And while this is his only major staring role of the year, he is currently slated to play in every movie being released on 2005. (Ok, that's not quite accurate, but he does have 8 movies coming out next year.) This is a good example of counter programming since it is going up against mostly big budget Action movies, and out of the few comedies being released in July, this one seems to be the strongest. There is some minor negative buzz that the movie has the feeling of a series of SNL skits, but its too soon to tell if that buzz is accurate.

Name: The Bourne Supremacy
Studio: Universal
Official Site: TheBourneSupremacy.com
Release Date: July 23rd
Source: Based on a Book
Major Genre: Action / Adventure
Genres: Secret Agent
Production Budget: $80 million
Box Office Potential: $175 million
Notes: This is the second of a possible Bourne Trilogy. The first film was a surprise hit in the summer of 2002 earning more than $120 million, and it was the biggest rental for 2003. The huge success in the rental market really bodes well for this move and this film should be a big enough hit that The Bourne Ultimatum will be greenlit by the time Friday's estimates are in.

Name: Catwoman
Studio: Warner Bros.
Official Site: Catwoman.com
Release Date: July 23rd
Source: Based on Comic
Major Genre: Action / Adventure
Genres: Super Hero
Production Budget: $100 million
Box Office Potential: $50 million
Notes: This film suffers from what should be known as the Hulk Effect. The initial reaction to the Catwoman outfit Halle Berry wore was so negative that it's doubtful the film will recover. This film will also be hurt by the sheer number of Super Hero movies that have come out recently. And since this is a lesser-known comic character, that problem will be compounded.

Name: A Cinderella Story
Studio: Warner Bros.
Official Site: ACinderellaStory.WarnerBros.com
Release Date: July 16th
Source: Fairytale
Major Genre: Romantic Comedy
Genres: Duff Fluff
Production Budget: Unknown, estimated at $26 million
Box Office Potential: $50 million
Notes: Warner Bros. must not think much of Sleepover's chances at the theatres since they booked this film to open just one week later, and they have the identical target audiences. It will also be interesting to see how well this film does compared Mean Girls and if Hilary Duff can reclaim he crown as Teen Queen.

Name: Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle
Studio: New Line
Official Site: HaroldAndKumar.com
Release Date: July 30th
Source: Original Screenplay
Major Genre: Comedy
Genres: Road Trip
Production Budget: Unknown, estimated at $16 million
Box Office Potential: $30 million
Notes: From the makers of Dude, Where's My Car?, so we can probably guess how the critics will feel about this movie right now. On the other hand, Dude did make a pretty good box office given its low expenses. I don't expect this film to quite live up to those numbers, but it should become a low-budget hit.

Name: I, Robot
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Official Site: IRobotMovie.com
Release Date: July 16th
Source: Based on a Book?
Major Genre: Science Fiction
Genres: Robots
Production Budget: $105 million
Box Office Potential: $150 million
Notes: Warning: This film is only loosely based on the concepts created by Isaac Asimov, and not any particular story. If you are going to this movie looking for an adaptation, you will be disappointed. However, if you are looking for a Man vs. Machine extravaganza in the vein of The Terminator, then this should be a good movie for you. And it will probably earn similar numbers, at least domestically. Internationally it will struggle more.

Name: King Arthur
Studio: Disney
Official Site: KingArthurMovie.com
Release Date: July 7th
Source: Legend
Major Genre: Action / Adventure
Genres: Medieval
Production Budget: $90 million
Box Office Potential: $85 million
Notes: The quick and easy way to predict this movie's box office is to look at Braveheart and adjust for inflation. I then knocked it down a few pegs for various reasons, (lack of star power, unlikely to match Braveheart's quality and Disney's recent slump.) Also hurting the films chances will be Spider-Man 2; of the three films that open the following week, this film is in the most direct competition. On a side note, after Around the World in 80 Days flopped, even if this film makes $300 million it will still be a disappointing year for Disney.

Name: The Manchurian Candidate
Studio: Paramount
Official Site: ManchurianCandidateMovie.com
Release Date: July 30th
Source: Remake
Major Genre: Suspense
Genres: Hitmen
Production Budget: $80 million
Box Office Potential: $100 million
Notes: This should be the third $100 million movie for star Denzel Washington. However, there are two big strikes against it. Firstly, this film will suffer from comparisons to the original, which it will be hard-pressed to live up to. And secondly, there are three other wide releases opening that weekend and that means at least two movies will be squeezed out of the box office. Specifically, I think The Village will trump this movie at the box office.

Name: Sleepover
Studio: MGM/UA
Official Site: SleepoverMovie.com
Release Date: July 9th
Source: Original Script
Major Genre: Comedy
Genres: Duff Fluff
Production Budget: Unknown, estimated to be under $20 million
Box Office Potential: $30 million
Notes: The director of this movie is none other than Joe Nussbaum. "Who?" He's the guy who directed the comedy short "George Lucas In Love." If you've never seen that short, check around and you might be able to find it online. It used to be everywhere, but now you can buy it on DVD so most place were forced to remove it. If this film is half as good as "George Lucas In Love", then it will be worth seeing; of course, if it is half as good as "George Lucas In Love" it will be twice as good as I expect it to be.

Name: Spider-Man
Studio: Sony
Official Site: Spiderman.SonyPictures.com
Release Date: June 30th
Source: Based on a Comic and Sequel
Major Genre: Action/Adventure
Genres: Marvel Comic and Super Hero
Production Budget: $200
Box Office Potential: $450
Notes: Potentially the biggest movie of the year, and could break a few of the records the original set back in 2002. There's really not much more you need to know, other than there is another sequel planned for 2007, this one rumored to pit Spider-Man against Venom and / or Carnage. I can't wait. Note: Yes I know this movie was also on the June Preview, but while it opens on the last day in June, it's first weekend is in July, so I put it on both lists.

Name: Thunderbirds
Studio: Universal
Official Site: ThunderbirdsMovie.com
Release Date: July 30th
Source: Based On TV
Major Genre: Science Fiction
Genres: Rescue
Production Budget: $75 million
Box Office Potential: $35 million
Notes: This is one of those movies that will work much better with the international audience than it will stateside. The Marionette Animated shows, or Supermarionation as it was called, were big in Britain but never achieved more than cult status here. So to make the movie with an American cast without the marionettes seems a bit absurd. It may help revive interest in the original series, as well as Stingray and Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons, and if it does it might be considered a limited success.

Name: The Village
Studio: Disney
Official Site: TheVillage.Movies.com
Release Date: July 30th
Source: Original Screenplay
Major Genre: Suspense
Genres: Surprise Twist
Production Budget: $120 million
Box Office Potential: $225 million
Notes: M. Night Shyamalan has only directed three studio pictures, but two of those three have grossed more than $200 million and the three combined have grossed $600 million. That's an incredible track record. This is the most expensive film of his to date, but I don't think it will be the highest grossing. The Village will live and die by its ad campaign, if it's really effective, it will be an incredible hit and may break $300 million. But if Disney drops the ball, it won't hit $100 million. And on that note, this is the second big budget film for Disney this month, and the sixth of the year. It is also the only one that has a real shot at profitability.


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Filed under: Monthly Preview, Spider-Man 2, The Bourne Supremacy, I, Robot, The Village, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, The Manchurian Candidate, King Arthur, A Cinderella Story, Catwoman, Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle, Sleepover, Thunderbirds