There are two absolutes in life: Death and Taxes. Everything else is a crap shoot. So, since we are in full guess mode, we decided to take a look at the 2010 summer release schedule and offer you our thoughts on what will, what wonít, what might, what should and what could have been.
Summer starts early with the May 7th release of Iron Man 2. This highly anticipated sequel is maybe the only sure-fire hit of the summer. Hell, even if it sucks, it looks to take in $150 million on its opening weekend Ė and that is just our estimate for domestic gross! All the particulars are back to ensure the film stays on course and they have added Samuel L. Jackson (before the credits), Rockwell, Rourke, Johansson and Cheadle. This might just be the movie to beat this summer.
May also brings us another Russell Crowe/Ridley Scott pairing with Robin Hood. The hopes is that Robin Hood is more Gladiator than A Good Year, but trailers and interest level on the street indicate that this might be the first flop of the summer. Reports are that the budget ballooned to astronomical proportions and Robin Hood would need to garnish a $70 million opening to keep investors happy. Released when people are still flocking to see Iron Man 2, expect Robin Hood to fail opening weekend and limp its way to a modest $100 million domestic take.
Next up, Shrek Ever After and McGruber go head to head on May 21st. Shrek 3 was terrible, but the kiddies bring in the bucks and the film is in gimmicky 3-D which will inflate sales. That leaves MacGruber out in the cold. Extending a Saturday Night Live/Commerical bit into a feature film is a risky undertaking to say that least. Val Kilmer and Ryan Phillippe will do nothing to help bring in ticket sales, so expect Shrek to take in $100 million its opening weekend and for MacGruber to pick up about a quarter of that total.
May 27th will see the release of Sex and the City 2. The first foray on the big screen surprised analysts with a bonzo box-office. We are expecting the women to flock to the sequel, but not in the same droves that made the first film the talk of 2008. Sex and the City 2 will have to bring a better story to the table if it expects to outclass its predecessor and if the trailers are any indication, expect Sex 2 to earn about 2/3 of the originalís box office take.
May 28th brings Disneyís Prince of Persia to theatres in time for the long week-end. Persia will challenge Iron Man 2 for the biggest film of the summer. We can assure this for two reasons. First, itís Disney and they sure do know how to market a film. Second, if our predictions remain true and Robin Hood and MacGruber are large disappointments, audiences will be clamoring for some good old entertainment that is what summer releases are supposed to be all about. Expect a $150+ opening and talks of a sequel before the week-end is over.
June 4th brings a mix of three films to the box office. There is the low budget horror Splice starring Adrien Brody, Marmaduke based on the comic strip dog and Bring Him to the Greek, a comedy starring Russell Brand and Jonah Hill. Each film will fight for supremacy, but expect Bring Him to the Greek to beat out the kiddie film Marmaduke. Audiences will be ripe for a comedy after all the swashbuckling action and Greek looks to be in line with Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Knocked Up for bringing the funny. Marmaduke will still make money, but it will get lost in the mix. Audiences will still be getting their Persia fix and Shrek will still be in theatres competing for the piggy bank money. Splice, will do ok. Its subject matter will not grant it a boffo ride even if critics applaud it the next Gone With The Wind. Expect Splice to take sixth or seventh place opening week-end with about $17 million in grosses.
June 11th has The A-Team and The Karate Kid going head to head. Both films are reboots of earlier franchises Ė one a television phenomena and the other, a film series that spawned a few sequels. Both films are at the mercy of their scripts. Neither film is bullet proof so if they donít bring the goods, the audiences wonít reward it with their wallets. The A-Team has the higher appeal and should win the week-end. If the A-Team has the story and acting to match the premise, then expect the film to have legs. If it fails to connect with early audiences, expect a quick demise and a struggle to cross the $100 million mark.
June 18th marks the release of Toy Story 3. If we have learned anything, it is to never bet against Pixar. Early screenings of Toy Story say itís a real tear jerker, and a damn good film to boot. Available in 3-D, Toy Story 3 can set box office records if critics begin to lay the groundwork prior to its release. A $150+ million weekend and $300+ million domestic total are well within its grasp.
June 25th has Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz in Knight and Day. The film looks like a 1980ís action comedy and even with the star appeal, we are not expecting big things from teaming of the two once bankable stars. Knight and Day wonít win the week-end. Toy Story 3 will continue its reign. Only a good film will catapult Knight and Day above levels seen by The Island (2005).
June 30th brings the third Twilight film to multi-plexes with Twilight: Eclipse. The second film in the series went on to set records when released last year. With the Jacob/Edward team up, we are expecting more of the same. Knight and Day will fall yet another notch as Eclipse should win the week. Toy Story 3 will be next and Knight and Day will already be barely hanging on to a top 5 spot in only its second week.
July 2nd has M. Nightís, The Last Airbender coming to the screen in both 2-D and 3-D formats. We donít have a good feel for this one yet. M. Night is not exactly coming into the summer on a hot streak with The Happening showing up on many Worst of Lists a few years back. Being released before the July 4th holiday should mean that the film will make stacks of money before anyone can start complaining, so it should have no problem being on top of the pile when the receipts are counted during its opening salvo. However, expect Eclipse to have enough lasting power to make M. Nightís film nervous.
July 9th sees Predators and Rec 2 hit screens in what is not exactly a fair fight. Predators have fans ready and willing to shell out the bucks to see Robert Rodriguezís vision of the iconic alien fighter. With a cast that includes enough names to appeal to just about everyone, expect the film do win the week-end barely squeaking out a win over The Last Airbender. Predators didnít have a huge budget for it to recoup, so it will be considered a success after its opening weekend. If the man vs. alien flick brings the goods, then this film could have legs for a few weeks. If it reminds us of Predator 2, then expect a good opening weekend followed by a drop off steeper than the cliff Arnie jumped off to get away from the beast in 1984.
July 16th sees The Sorcererís Apprentice snuggle its way into darkened rooms. Nicholas Cage has done very little outside of his successful National Treasure franchise. He couldnít even bring Kick-Ass to a $100 haul. With audiences already having flocked to Predators and with The Last Airbender on its last legs, Apprentice should do well. Not great, but better than Predators opened to the week prior. Its major competition comes from a wild card Ė Inception. Starring Leo DiCarprio and directed by Christopher Nolan of Batman fame, the film and its story have been largely kept under wraps. The trailers look fabulous and Nolan knows how to connect with audiences. Apprentice will bring in the kiddies, so it will win the week-end, but if Inception proves to be what we all hope it will be, expect it to win the longer battle of supremacy at the box office.
July 23rd has little to offer. Dinner for Schmucks is the major release. This comedy starring Paul Rudd and Steve Carell needs to be funnier than Bring Him to the Greek for it to be a hit. We are not expecting much. Our hopes are that we are wrong, but our gut tells us that Apprentice will hold onto the number one spot and Inception remaining a strong second. Schmucks will get third.
Fast forwarding to August, August 6th brings very little to the table. We donít expect record breaking hauls for Step Up 3-D. The Other Guys, a film starring Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell premieres, but Ferrell has proven to be a has-been as of late. Audiences have tired quickly of his schtick and Land of the Lost remains $13 that the studio needs to repay me. The Other Guys will open admirably. Maybe even $35 million. But we donít see the film lasting long or making $100 million domestically.
August 13th brings a film that Killerreviews has prayed to our demi-gods to be good. The Expendables hits screens and brings just about every big action name of the past 20 years to the table. Directed by Sly Stallone and with a trailer that harkens back to the 1980ís classics, The Expendables should do well. Opening week-end anyways. We donít expect this film to do much past the opening week-end. It will be much talked about. It will bring back great memories. But expect a $40 million opening followed by a 60% drop off the following week. (Donít worry, it will do exceptionally well Internationally and on DVD).
Finishing off the summer before the kiddies go back to school, August 27th has Piranha 3-D hitting theatres. Piranha will make a splash. Hell, itís an R-Rated 3-D extravaganza. It will do $20-$25 million before losing momentum the following week and will likely struggle to make $60 million total.
So there you have it. Bring it on. Persia, Toy Story and Iron Man will fight for the crown of biggest grossing film this summer. Our money is on Toy Story.