Welcome to a Special Edition of The Reject Report as we preview the coming Summer Blockbuster Season! Yes, your crack team of prognosticators (consisting entirely of myself) has been crunching the numbers and trying to make sense of what everyone is saying out there about what the box office is going to be for the latest movies.
Believe me, this is a rough task. There is literally an endless number of movies being rolled out this summer, and not all of them can finish Number One or even finish in the Top Ten. There are also always some “wild-card” entries that nobody expects to be a hit, which will end up raking in the dough. This is where it gets tricky for me. I am fairly confident about what are going to be the top six movies, but picking the last four on the top ten list is a real mugs game.
So what I am going to do is start at the top and work my way down the top ten, because quite frankly there is much more suspense and drama surrounding the bottom of the top ten than the top of the list. Besides, we all know who’s going to finish on top of the box office this summer. Harrison Ford.
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is a no-brain choice to finish first at the box office this summer season. The only question in my mind is whether the flick, which also features Cate Blanchett and Shia LeBeouf, will set any records for the summer. My guess is probably not, but who knows. A lot of people are not predicting big, record-threatening performances at the box office this summer like what we saw last year, but I do predict Indiana Jones to get somewhere in the neighbourhood of $350 million gross.
The next question is who will be the runner up this summer. I think the battle here is between The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian and The Dark Knight. Caspian is of course the sequel to the hugely successful first Chronicles of Narnia movie, and the movie is guaranteed to appeal to a young demographic.
I also expect a big box office following for The Dark Knight, but everyone thinks the freak-show factor is going to kick in with everyone flocking to this movie just to see the late Heath Ledger. I dunno. My guess is it will be a close race but I think Prince Caspian will have a slight edge over Batman, edging it out for second spot with $320 million. The Dark Knight should pull in $315 million.
Next, I have to go with the folks at PIXAR who have been seemingly incapable of producing either (a) bad movies, or (b) flop movies. So I feel pretty confident about picking WALL-E for fourth spot, with a gross of about $280 million. The story about the lovable last robot on earth is due out June 27.
Next I have to give fifth spot to the movie Hancock. The reasons are pretty obvious. This is a Will Smith movie about a homeless superhero, and Will Smith is usually pretty big at the box office, and superheroes are also usually pretty big. But also — this movie is rolling out on the July 4 holiday and I cannot ignore any movie that rolls out on that date. So I have to give Hancock fifth spot with a gross at around $270 mil.
That leaves sixth spot to Iron Man, the Robert Downey Jr.-starring vehicle featuring the most underrated of Marvel superheroes, Iron Man. By the end of the summer, he may end up the coolest of Marvel superheroes. Everyone thinks this is going to be huge, and I think this is going to be huge. I was debating whether or not to move this one ahead of Hancock into fifth. But no. Sixth is where it will stay at $265 million.
So those are the top six movies, and now the fun really begins for me, because it’s really hard to predict what the final four movies on this list are going to be. The problem is that there are a lot of movies out there that ought to do really well but which have no buzz going for it, or bad buzz going against it — such as The Incredible Hulk. By all rights that movie ought to be a Top Ten list movie, but I have heard nothing but hand-wringing from movie geeks and fanboys out there about this movie.
So here is where the wild-card factor comes in for me. I am going to predict Kung Fu Panda to take seventh spot. There is always a movie that surprises at the box office and does big business, and I predict this will be it. Jack Black lends his voice to Kung Fu Panda, and from what I gather this is going to be one heck of a movie that people will be raving about. So I am selecting Kung Fu Panda seventh at $225 million, and The Incredible Hulk eighth at $200 million.
In ninth spot at $185 million I pick The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor. I have no real reason for picking it to finish ninth. It just seems to have more legs to it than some of the other movies out there.
And that leaves Pineapple Express to be yet another wild-card pick of mine to round out the Top Ten at $170 million. The reason is obvious: it’s Judd Apatow, it’s Seth Rogen, it’s James Franco, and it’s summer. I saw the trailer and this movie looks like this year’s Superbad.
So that is the way I see the Top Ten going this summer — and now the controversy really begins, because there are quite a few highly-touted movies that are not on this list. I’m sure all of you are going “what, no Speed Racer?” Well, the reason I have left it off this list is because I have heard that the testing for this movie is TERRIBLE. And I don’t get it, because it looks like a pretty cool movie to my eyes. Maybe I’m the type of person who goes for Saturday morning cartoons, or movies about cartoons. But I cannot ignore what I hear about the testing, so while Speed Racer may end up doing decent business, a blockbuster it is not likely to be. But of course, I could be wrong. Speed Racer just seems like a big question mark to me. It could be a massive hit or a total flop, and I wouldn’t be shocked either way.
I also have similar questions about Get Smart. I have heard all kinds of stories that the script is no good, that it’s not funny, etcetera, etcetera, and that the script doctors had to be flown in to save the movie. It sure doesn’t seem to me as if retreaded television shows are likely to be a box-office winner. We’ve seen what happened with The Dukes of Hazzard and all these other summer flicks based on TV shows. I do think Sex and the City: The Movie will do good business. But top ten for the summer? I dunno. It just seems to me that girls don’t go to the movies in droves during the summer season — and that one looks like a chick flick all the way.
I think the bottom line when it comes to the summer is to expect the unexpected. There are always one or two movies that will shock the experts and do well against all odds, and capture the public’s imagination. Often it’s not the highly-touted movies that everyone expects.
So that is my Reject Report Summer blockbuster preview, and keep it right here as we track all these movies and see how they do all summer long.