Monday, April 27, 2015

Summer 2015 Box Office Predictions

Hulk...want...your money...

Summer is here, so you know what that means: tan lines and air conditioners. And also, of course, my predictions for this season's box office. This year was particularly difficult with a number of films that are teeter-tottering on the edge of being either complete bombs or surprise hits (Mad Max, Tomorrowland), and there's really just no telling what will happen!

So - if you want to play along, read the rules below and post in the comments section your predictions!  I'll tally it all up on August 31st, based off of the domestic (not worldwide) gross for the summer season.  

- Pick 1-10 movies you think will top the summer box office (May through August)
- 13 points for getting 1 or 10 exactly correct
- 10 points for getting 2-9 exactly correct
- 7 points if movie was one spot away
- 5 points if movie was two spots away
- 3 points if movie was anywhere in the top ten
- 1 point for each dark horse (pick three)

My Picks:

1. The Avengers: Age of Ultron (May 1)

This movie is going to be huge. Record-breakingly huge. People won't shut the hell up about about it! I wonder what the post-credits tease will be...Spider-Man? Thanos? Shameless promotion for Ant-Man?

2. Minions (July 10)

Even though nothing annoys me more than the Minion characters from Despicable Me, kids love them, and will drag their parents to see this. I'd rather see Inside Out take the top "animation" spot, but I don't think it will happen.

3. Inside Out (June 19)

I had kind of a tricky time trying to place this one. But I think audiences are craving "innovative" Pixar again, and it looks like Inside Out will continue where WALL-E and Up left off. Plus this is a true "four quadrant" film, and will likely appeal to kids, adults, and both genders, and if the reviews are great, this could have strong legs well into the season (at least until Minions rears its obnoxious head). This is my personal most-anticipated movie of the summer; I hope Pete Docter doesn't disappoint!

4. Jurassic World (June 12)

This was another tricky one to place on the list. Even though Jurassic Park 3 has left a sour taste in peoples' craw, Jurassic World has the benefit of featuring Chris Pratt, in his first post-Guardians blockbuster. With Star Lord riding motorcycles alongside velociraptors and a property everyone knows the name of/has nostalgia for, I think this will do great business, and it has practically the whole summer to rack up money. It will probably perform comparably to Godzilla.

5. Ant-Man (July 17)

Although Guardians of the Galaxy showed how strong the "Marvel" brand is, I'm still unsure as to how well Ant-Man will do this summer, especially with so many action pictures to compete with. I could put this one almost anywhere on the list, it all depends on the two post-Avengers months of hype Marvel can crank out before it's released.

6. Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation (July 31)

Like the Fast and Furious movies, Mission Impossible was weirdly spurred back into high gear later in its franchise cycle (thanks to Brad Bird's amazing direction on Ghost Protocol), and I think after the literally high stakes trailer for the fifth flick in the series, with Tom Cruise hanging onto an airplane taking off, sans CGI or stunt double, people are going to line up. I also think this series is more likely to attract an older crowd as well. Although Cruise's last action movie Edge of Tomorrow wasn't a smash success (it should have been!), the strength of the Mission Impossible brand is impossible to ignore.

7. Fantastic Four (August 7)

Though the first two Fantastic Four films were terrible, and there's not nearly as much excitement for this property as any X-Men or Batman or Avengers film coming up, I think its strong trailer that sets up this reboot as a darker, more serious film will get people back on board.

8. Ted 2 (June 26)

Ted was a surprise hit in 2012, and there's usually at least 1 R-Rated comedy that hits it big every summer, so Ted 2 seems destined to land somewhere on the list, even after Seth MacFarlane's A Million Ways to Die in the West flopped last year. The trailer was a hit during the Super Bowl (with a smartly placed cameo by Tom Brady), and Wahlberg's back, so I can see this doing well.

9. Pixels (July 24)

Based off the the ludicrously large view count on the trailer, and the fact that it plays with the "nostalgia factor" that made Wreck-It RalphTMNT, and The LEGO Movie huge successes, I'd say Pixels has a good chance of being a surprise family hit this summer. Holding it back: Sandler's track record as of late hasn't been stellar (Blended was a huge bomb last summer), and it's sandwiched between two other major action films, Ant-Man and Mission Impossible 5, which might steal its thunder, but I still think it will do well.

10. Terminator: Genisys (July 1)

Note: The #10 spot was by far the hardest one for me. I've swapped out the last spot with all my dark horses back and forth a dozen times, and I'm still not confident it will even go to any of them!

I have a feeling this Terminator sequel/reboot might make a decent chunk of change on opening weekend, but (I'm guessing) negative word of mouth will make it taper off pretty quickly. I think bringing Schwarzenegger back makes it seem desperate, and the Terminator brand has been pretty washed out at this point (the last film, Salvation, is all but forgotten). But it does have the Fourth of July weekend - so there's no telling with this one.

Dark Horses:

PITCH PERFECT 2: Although the first Pitch Perfect didn't make a whole heck of a lot at the box office, it has since become a huge cult-classic on home video and has an outside chance of nudging into the top ten.

SPY: Though Tammy was a total flop at the box office, I think Spy has potential to be a return for Melissa McCarthy. Paul Feig knows how to use McCarthy better than anyone (BridesmaidsThe Heat), and although the standard "spy spoof" is a pretty tired concept at this point, the trailer has some undeniably funny moments. Plus, she has some newfound publicity after being cast in the Ghostbusters reboot, which will undoubtedly bump up the B.O. numbers.

TOMORROWLAND: This is one of the rare cases where I think the reviews could make or break its success. Tomorrowland doesn't have quite the same luster that Pirates of the Caribbean had when it came out (both are based on Disney World attractions), and the only thing selling the thing to a mass audience, I believe, is George Clooney. I really hope the film kicks ass (I'm a huge Brad Bird/Damon Lindelof fan), but I think the marketing is just terrible for this. This one's a total wild card.

So if you read through my list, you may have noticed some omissions. The one that would probably get the fourth "Dark Horse" slot for me would be Mad Max: Fury Road; even though it has a huge amount of online buzz, I'm not sure it would be enough to net a spot on the list. I also left out San Andreas, the "The Rock"-starring disaster movie; I think people may be getting tired of disaster flicks at this point, and as shown from Hercules, The Rock alone isn't enough to draw crowds. Also, the male-stripper comedy Magic Mike XXL is coming, but I think horned-up soccer moms weren't thrilled with the first film (it duped them into watching a straight drama!) and with the absence of Matthew McConaughey, I think the novelty of this "franchise" has worn off.  Also, Poltergeist could sneak in there a la The Conjuring, but I doubt it.

Anyway, that's it! I'll tally everything up at the end of August, and if you want to play along, leave your Top Ten and Dark Horses in the comments below!

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