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2010 Preview: June

June 1st, 2010

So far this summer the disappointments are outnumbering the pleasant surprises by a disturbing margin. Granted, we've only just finished May, but none of the May wide releases met expectations. None. Iron Man 2 was still a massive hit, but no film since then has come close to matching its box office prowess and we are coming close to hitting the panic button at the box office. Worse still, June of 2009 was better than expected with two massive hits that came out of nowhere. Plus, there was the release of the Revenge of the Fallen, which for much of the year looked like it would be the biggest hit of 2009. So, do we have any films likely to do as well as Revenge this June? Maybe. And hopefully we will have more depth, because outside those three films, the rest of June 2009 struggled.

Weekend of June 4th, 2010

This is the busiest week of the month, with four wide releases. The other three weekends have two each. However, it might be too busy, as none of them seem destined to be big hits. In fact, I don't think any of them will earn $100 million. The comparison to this weekend last year is a little more complicated than at first glance. It was the weekend The Hangover came out, which was arguably the biggest surprise hit of the year. However, The Hangover actually started relatively slowly and was a hit due to its legs. So while the combined box office for all four films coming out this weekend will likely not be as much as The Hangover's total, just looking at their respective opening weekends might not be too bad.

Get Him to the Greek

Trailer: Click to Play
Official Site:
Distributor: Universal
Release Date: June 4th, 2010
MPAA Rating: R for strong sexual content and drug use throughout, and pervasive language
Source: Spin-Off
Major Genre: Comedy
Keywords: Judd Apatow, Buddy Comedy, Musicians, Music Industry, Road Trip, Gratuitous Cameos, and more.
Directed By: Nicholas Stoller
Starring: Russel Brand and Jonah Hill
Production Budget: Unknown - estimated at $40 to 60 million
Box Office Potential: $75 million

If you wrote a list of films from 2008 that you would expect to get a Spin-Off, Forgetting Sarah Marshall would probably not be at the top of your list. However, it was an excellent movie and the character of Aldous Snow stole practically every scene he was in, so making a movie about him seems like a smart idea.


Aldous Snow was also a self-centered prick, so making a movie about nothing but him would be insufferable. This is where Jonah Hill comes in. He was also in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, but here he doesn't play a waiter, but a Music Industry intern whose job it is to escort Aldous to an tenth anniversary concert. If he succeeds, he will be a hero to his boss, because the concert was his idea in the first place. If he fails... Let's just say failure isn't an option. Since Aldous is a serious manchild, there should be plenty of opportunity for humorous exploits. I doubt it will match Forgetting Sarah Marshall critically, as it is a much more one-note film, but even if it just manages mixed reviews, it should top its predecessor at the box office.


Trailer: Click to Play
Official Site:
Distributor: Lionsgate
Release Date: June 4th, 2010
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for violent action, sexual material and language
Source: Original Screenplay
Major Genre: Action
Keywords: Secret Agent, Assassins, and more.
Directed By: Robert Luketic
Starring: Katherine Heigl and Ashton Kutcher
Production Budget: Unknown - reported at $75 million
Box Office Potential: $50 million

Lionsgate tends to make films that are relatively low-budget affairs, like the Saw franchise and Tyler Perry films. The entire Saw Franchise has only cost about $50 million to make, so for the studio to make a movie that costs a reported $75 million is a bit of a change, and an even larger risk. Add in advertising, and the studio will have spent more than $100 million and change on this film by the time it hits theaters. And with two stars, Katherine Heigl and Ashton Kutcher, who have made a total of three $100 million movies in their careers, this is a bad sign. Granted, Ashton Kutcher's most recent $100 million movie was released earlier this year and Katherine Heigl's three previous films have earned an average of more than $100 million domestically and nearly $200 million worldwide, so one could argue the pair are on a hot streak.

This runs into the fact that two of those last three Katherine Heigl films were slammed by critics, while Ashton Kutcher hasn't been in a film that earned overall positive reviews since... ever. Open Season remains his best movie in that regard. So it should come as no surprise that Lionsgate is not letting critics publish reviews till the day the film is released, while the negative buzz is overwhelming the film's chances.

That said, perhaps lowered expectations will help.


Trailer: Click to Play
Official Site:
Distributor: Fox
Release Date: June 4th, 2010
MPAA Rating: PG for some rude humor and language
Source: Based on a Comic Strip
Major Genre: Comedy
Keywords: Talking Animals, Animal Lead, and more.
Directed By: Tom Dey
Starring: Owen Wilson, Stacy Ferguson, Kiefer Sutherland, and many, many others
Production Budget: Unknown - Estimated at $60 and $80 million
Box Office Potential: $90 million

On the one hand, this film could be competing with Killers as the worst movie of the month; there is more than enough bad buzz to suggest that. On the other hand, it will likely become the biggest hit of the week. If Garfield was able to make $75 million way back in 2004, then this film should at least be able to match that with today's ticket prices. On the high end, both of the Alvin and the Chipmunks movies have made more than $200 million, but they had the holidays to boost their numbers. I don't expect this movie to win over many critics, but it should keep the kids entertained for 90 minutes or so. And since it's been a couple weeks since Shrek opened and it will be a couple more weeks for Toy Story 3 to open, this film has a small window of opportunity to earn enough to be considered a midlevel hit. I see it doing as well as Beverly Hills Chihuahua, more or less, while it should sell enough DVDs to show a profit sooner rather than later.


Trailer: Click to Play
Official Site:
Distributor: Warner Bros.
Release Date: June 4th, 2010
MPAA Rating: R for disturbing elements including strong sexuality, nudity, sci-fi violence and language
Source: Original Screenplay
Major Genre: Horror
Keywords: Cloning, Mad Scientist, and more.
Directed By: Vincenzo Natali
Starring: Sarah Polley, Adrien Brody, Delphine Chanéac, and David Hewlett
Production Budget: Reported at $26 million
Box Office Potential: $30 million

Written and directed by Vincenzo Natali, who previously wrote and directed Nothing. No, I don't mean this is his directorial debut, I mean he previously wrote and directed a film called Nothing. He also wrote and directed Cube, which has much more in common with Splice. In fact, Splice was originally going to be a sequel to cube.

In Splice, Sarah Polley and Adrien Brody star as genetic scientists that specialize in the cloning of chimeras. That's chimeras in the scientific sense (creatures with the DNA of more than one species) and not the mythological chimeras. They decide to up the stakes by incorporating human DNA into their next experiment. Of course, their brilliantly thought out experiment goes wrong and suddenly you have a monster run amuck.

So far the film's early reviews are excellent and it does have the backing of a major studio and Guillermo Del Toro as producer. However, this time last year saw the release of Drag Me to Hell, which had even better reviews, as well as Sam Raimi behind the camera. Even that wasn't enough for it to be a hit, so what chance does this small film from Canada have? Hopefully it will earn more theatrically than it cost to make, thereby paving its way to profitability, but that is hardly a sure thing.

Weekend of June 11th, 2010

While the first week of the month has four films, none of which are likely to reach $100 million, the second weekend of the month has just two releases, but both have the kind of buzz that suggests they could both reach that milestone. (Also, by some strange coincidence, they are both based on 1980s properties.) Compared to this weekend last year, the two new releases were weak, but the top two holdovers were on a roll. The two new wide releases this year should easily beat the two wide releases from last year. They should be able to beat the top two holdovers from last year. They might be able to top all four of these films combined. Let's hope this is the case, as 2010 needs some good news.

The A-Team

Trailer: Click to Play
Official Site:
Distributor: Fox
Release Date: June 11th, 2010
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of action and violence throughout, language and smoking
Source: Based on TV
Major Genre: Action
Keywords: Mercenaries, Wrongfully Convicted, and more
Directed By: Joe Carnahan
Starring: Liam Neeson, Bradley Cooper, Quinton 'Rampage' Jackson, and Sharlto Copley
Production Budget: Unknown - predicted at $60 to 80 million
Box Office Potential: $150 million

This is a movie I'm of two minds about. Firstly, the TV show it is based on is quite terrible. Even as a kid, I knew it was bad. It was one of those shows that tried to show violent action, but was so terribly hampered by their inability to actually show the realistic consequences of such violence that the show quickly descended into self-parody. Every week there were massive explosions, people would fly into the air, but no one would ever die because of it. In this way, it reminded me of the G.I.Joe cartoon and the amazing ejection seats all their planes had. No matter how big the explosion, the pilot would always escape via a parachute and float to safety. Then again, I think the studio is hoping for a run similar to G.I. Joe's run, so the comparisons would be welcome.

When making the movie, they would either have to make the movie a lot more gritty than the TV show was, or make it a self-aware parody. Since Joe Carnahan is directing, I think it is safe to say the film will be a lot grittier than the show was, even with the PG-13 rating. I'm happy with the cast, the trailer is effective, but I'm worried they are missing some of the humor from the show. In the end, I see the film pulling in as much as G.I. Joe did, thanks in part to a slightly better release date and ticket price inflation. As long as the movie didn't cost too much to make, this will be more than enough to ensure a profit sooner rather than later. It might even be enough to get a sequel.

On the other hand: The Losers. These two films are incredibly similar in setup and tone, and while even low end predictions have The A-Team earning more during its opening weekend than The Losers made in total, the fact that that early film bombed could be a bad omen going forward.

The Karate Kid

Trailer: Click to Play
Official Site:
Distributor: Sony
Release Date: June 11th, 2010
MPAA Rating: PG for bullying, martial arts action violence and some mild language
Source: Remake
Major Genre: Action
Keywords: Martial Arts, New Guy in School, Bullies, and more
Directed By: Harald Zwart
Starring: Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan
Production Budget: Unknown - reported at $35 million
Box Office Potential: $50 to $150 million

When I first heard they were remaking The Karate Kid my initial reaction was, "Didn't they do that already? It was called The Next Karate Kid." It was a terrible movie and it bombed at the box office. When I heard the remake would star Jackie Chan, my concerns were not alleviated. Yes, Jackie Chan has made a lot of great movies in his time, but he hasn't starred in a movie than was an unqualified success since Rush Hour 2, which opened nearly a decade ago. Additionally, the buzz surrounding Jaden Smith was almost universally negative with a lot of people saying he only got the role because he's Will Smith's son. I don't know if that is accurate or not, but if the perception of reality is strong enough, it can be just as powerful as reality itself. I'm not saying that in a metaphysical sense like, "If you imagine your future, you can change your future!" I'm saying that bad buzz can kill a movie before it has a chance to open. Also, in the original, Ralph Macchio played a high school senior while Jaden Smith is 12 years old, so clearly they are going after a much younger target demographic.

On the other hand, there is still a lot of buzz, more than I was expecting, and not all of it negative. In fact, a lot of people are predicting this film will easily become a $100 million movie topping the second installment's domestic total of $115 million. (As long as you don't take into account ticket price inflation.) Perhaps they expect people who grew up on the first films to take their young kids to see this movie.

I just don't see that happening. Like I stated, Jackie Chan hasn't had an unqualified hit in nearly a decade and his last film, The Spy Next Door, is aimed at about the same target demographic and it bombed. Newcomer Jaden Smith has never had a film rest on his shoulders before, so he is a big question mark when it comes to box office drawing power. Finally, the director is Harald Zwart, whose biggest hit so far as been Agent Cody Banks. (It's also his best-reviewed film as well.) Maybe it will be a major hit and earn $150 million, but I think earning half that is more likely.

Weekend of June 18th, 2010

The third week three of June has two wide releases, one of which has the potential to become the biggest hit of the year, perhaps even setting records along the way. And there's also Toy Story 3. I'm kidding of course. Toy Story 3 could be the big hit of the summer and possibly the only potential $400 million movie of the year. While Jonah Hex will be playing the role of counter-programming. Compared to last year, Toy Story 3 could earn more than the top five films did, but that might be too bullish.

Jonah Hex

Trailer: Click to Play
Official Site:
Distributor: Warner Bros.
Release Date: June 18th, 2010
MPAA Rating: Not Yet Rated - Probably going for a PG-13 rating
Source: Based on a Comic Book
Major Genre: Western / Action
Keywords: D.C.Comics, Bounty Hunter, Terrorism, Revenge, and more
Directed By: Jimmy Hayward
Starring: Josh Brolin, Megan Fox, John Malkovich, and more
Production Budget: Unknown - reported at $80 million
Box Office Potential: $50 million

Playing counter-programming to a kid's movie, Jonah Hex stars Josh Brolin playing a bounty hunter in the post civil war West who has supernatural powers thanks to a near death experience. It also stars Megan Fox as a prostitute, a very well-armed prostitute. John Malkovich plays a former Confederate general who was the man that helped Jonah come so close to death in the first place and now wants to destroy the United States government because his side lost the civil war.

This is reminding me a lot of Wild, Wild West, and that's not good news. Granted, this film has a decade of ticket price inflation to help it out, but it also has a near total void when it comes to bankable stars. Josh Brolin has talent, but has yet to really carry a movie on his own. I'm not sure if Megan Fox has much talent... she hasn't really picked many projects that would show off what acting talent she might possess. On the other hand, I'm a little surprised that John Malkovich hasn't earned an Oscar yet. However, he hasn't been in a $100 million movie since Con Air. Add in extensive re-shoots and this looks like a troubled production.

With a reported $80 million price tag, the studio is obviously hoping for a $100 million run. I don't think it will get there; in fact, it might not get halfway there. For Megan Fox haters, this will be more ammunition. However, for ripping Michael Bay a new one, she has my undying loyalty.

Toy Story 3

Trailer: Click to Play
Official Site:
Distributor: Disney
Release Date: June 18th, 2010
MPAA Rating: G for General Admissions
Source: Sequel
Major Genre: Adventure
Keywords: Living Toys, Rescue, and more
Directed By: Lee Unkrich
Starring: Tom Hank, Tim Allen, Joan Cusack, and more
Production Budget: Unknown - Estimated at $150 to $200 million
Box Office Potential: $350 million

Normally I start any monthly preview of a Pixar film with, "And the Oscar goes to..." However, there are two issues at play here. Firstly, Toy Story 3 is the third film in a franchise and the first two films earned perfect reviews. This sets up such huge expectations that it would almost certainly have an effect on this film's critical reception. The film would have to be near perfection to escape unharmed. (Even if it was perfect, there are one or two critics that will give it negative reviews just to be contrarians.) Secondly, How to Train Your Dragon performed so well with critics that even if Toy Story 3 is as good as the previous two installments, How To... would be serious competition for the Oscar, so it wouldn't be a slam dunk no matter what.

So while Toy Story 3 isn't the overwhelming favorite for an Oscar win, its box office chances are decidedly more rosy. Even its Tomatometer Score is below average for the studio, and it could earn 90% positive reviews and that would still be true, there is an excellent chance it will top $300 million at the box office. Most box office analysts think it will top Finding Nemo as Pixar's biggest hit ever and given the hype, the good will earned by the first two installments, and let's not forget about the 3D ticket prices, it is hard to argue against that prediction. As for high-end expectations, those reach $400 million, or more. I would love for this film to become the first Pixar movie to reach that milestone, while it would be incredible to have two movies earn more than $1 billion worldwide in a single year. (We might have three, if the latest Harry Potter film outperforms expectations.)

While I hope to be pleasantly surprised, I'm keeping expectations just slightly less bullish at $350 million domestically and $900 million worldwide. Both of which would be records for Pixar, while stretching its winning streak to eleven.

Weekend of June 25th, 2010

The final weekend in June and this one has two wide releases, which are similar in a number of ways. Both feature actors that are consistent performers at the box office, but both actors are also no longer at the peak of their respective careers. If both can live up to their respective career averages, they will both reach $100 million at the box office. This is welcome news, as this time last year Revenge of the Fallen opened with $100 million over three days and $200 million from Wednesday through Sunday. It will be neigh impossible for this batch of wide releases to keep pace. That said, there could be a real horse race at the box office, so while neither will set records, it could still be interesting for box office watchers.

Grown Ups

Trailer: Click to Play
Official Site:
Distributor: Sony
Release Date: June 25th, 2010
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for crude material including suggestive references, language and some male rear nudity
Source: Original Screenplay
Major Genre: Comedy
Keywords: Basketball, Funeral Reunions, Mid-Life Crisis, Family Vacations, and more
Directed By: Dennis Dugan
Starring: Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, Kevin James, David Spade, Rob Schneider, and more
Production Budget: Unknown - Estimated at $50 to $90 million
Box Office Potential: $105 million

The film stars Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, Kevin James, David Spade, and Rob Schneider as five friends who were part of a championship basketball team when they were young kids and who reunite when their former coach dies. They decide to get together at the lake and try and recapture their youth. It's a good setup and if done well could please critics and moviegoers alike.

However, this doesn't seem particularly likely, as the film was co-written by Adam Sandler and Fred Wolf and directed by Dennis Dugan. Looking at their combined output and you find films like Problem Child, Joe Dirt, Benchwarmers, Beverly Hills Ninja, Strange Wilderness, which I still consider one of the worst movies I've ever reviewed. On the other hand, Dennis Dugan and Adam Sandler have teamed up in the past to make Happy Gilmore, Big Daddy, I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, and You Don't Mess With the Zohan, and while none of them earned overall positive reviews, all four were hits. The last three earned more than $100 million each.

Given this, I feel confident in predicting this is a movie that will please the target audience, but likely won't impress too many critics. I think you will hear it described as a movie for people who are getting old but refuse to grow up. It should be a solid performer at the box office eventually reaching the century mark. Hopefully it wasn't too expensive to make, because it is unlikely to do as well internationally.

Knight and Day

Trailer: Click to Play
Official Site:
Distributor: Fox
Release Date: June 25th, 2010
MPAA Rating: Not Yet Rated - Likely aiming for PG-13
Source: Original Screenplay
Major Genre: Action / Comedy
Keywords: Secret Agent, Double-Cross, Government Conspiracy, and more
Directed By: James Mangold
Starring: Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz
Production Budget: Unknown - Reported at $95 million
Box Office Potential: $105 million

Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz star as two people who meet at the airport while traveling and there's an instant connection. Any potential romance complicated because he's a secret agent. Not only is he a secret agent, he might have gone rogue. Or maybe he's uncovered a government conspiracy and they are trying to silence him. Either way, he is in a lot of trouble and he's accidentally dragged Cameron Diaz along for the ride. This could be a great movie, after all, it's been a long time since Tom Cruise starred in a comedy, but his performance in Tropic Thunder showed he still had what it takes, while Cameron Diaz has starred in a number of films like this.

On the other hand, Tom Cruise hasn't had an unqualified hit since War of the Worlds. Tropic Thunder was a hit, but he was in a supporting role. Mission: Impossible: 3 made more than $100 million, but it was expected to be a bigger hit than that. Cameron Diaz does have a lot of recent hits as well, but the Shrek films don't really count because they are voice work. The Charlie's Angels films match this genre almost perfectly, but they came out so long ago that they are hardly that useful in gauging this film's chances. Even worse, this film has had about a half-a-dozen writers attached to it, which is never a good sign, and it had re-shoots in May. Yes. They were still filming the movie less than a month ago. Obviously there were some issues here.

The two stars and the studio support should help it reach $100 million, but it could be close and it will take strong international numbers and home market sales to recover its reported production budget.

One final note for June: The Twilight Saga: Eclipse opens on the 30th; however, since this is a Wednesday I think it is more accurate to call it a July release and will talk about the film in more detail next month. I will leave you with this... I've seen a lot of people who think this movie will be huge and that it will break records and earn more than $1 billion worldwide. I've also seen a lot of people who think it is being released too soon after New Moon and this will cause the franchise to collapse. It will be interesting to see which group is right.


Filed under: Monthly Preview, The A-Team, Killers, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, Jonah Hex, Splice, Marmaduke, The Karate Kid, Get Him to the Greek, Grown Ups, Toy Story 3, Knight and Day