..Gary Dretzka
Noah Forrest
..Leonard Klady
..David Poland
..Douglas Pratt
..Ray Pride
..Kim Voynar
..Michael Wilmington

Preview Week 2007
The Summer of Ca$h

What's left to say?

Even before summer has officially kicked off, the story of the Trilogies Of Terror has been emblazoned on news sites and even that paper stuff from here to China and back.  I only wish it was all that interesting (since it is a lot of what I talk about too).

Here's how it will go (I think) - Spider-Man III opens in the low 100s, does another $60 million in the second weekend to be around $200 million after 10 days.  Shrek The Third opens to a $90 million 3-day with Spider-Man III grabbing $35 million more to hit $260 million.  The next weekend it's Pirates III with a $160 million 4-day, Shrek 3 off to $60 million 4-day ($190m total) and Spider-Man III to $295 million. 

Shrek 3 gets to $270 million before it faces Surf's Up and then Ratatouille two weeks later.  And Pirates III cracks $400 million before it gets its first real direct competition with Transformers, though it may fall out of the #1 slot after three weekends, with Fantastic Four 2, Evan Almighty, and Ratatouille all likely to win their weekends.   Spider-Man III slows with Pirates 3 and adds another $40 million or so over the month of June.

Or not.

I do expect this to be the first $4 billion summer in history, beating the 2004 best ever.

We have never had more than two $300 million in a summer before. I expect three this year.

If my estimates are right, this could be the first summer with six $200 million-plus movies. We have had a few summers with five $200 million-plus movies in a summer before. But again, by my estimates this summer's Top 10 will gross about 20% more domestically than ever before in the history of summer exhibition... nearly $2.5 billion.

But what will really be interesting is the second wave, not the Big Three.  Evan Almighty will be a big family film, more so than Bruce Almighty, which sold itself with T&A jokes.  How big can Ratatouille be after Shrek 3 sucks the market dry and it faces Evan, too?  

How big will Transformers be?  Will any adults go?  And how will they do with Harry Potter opening one week later?  The same fate that War of the Worlds faced with Fantastic Four smacking it down in weekend two by a 46% margin could happen again. 

Does I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry just go on Adam Sandler cruise control?   Will the movie with the drag queen in it that is about wholesome family values, Hairspray, find an audience ... and if it does, will it become a minor phenom?

The highest grossing animated film in history that is adapted from another medium is the first Rugrats, which just barely cracked $100 million.  The 80s is where the successful crossovers mostly live with Pokemon, Spongepants, and Jimmy Neutron. 

Will all the buzz for Knocked Up overcome its limitations, particularly demographically?  And will Superbad, which is about Seth Rogan's teen years, be an even bigger hit ... a young response to Old School?

How will loaded August go?  Bourne seems to be in good shape, though he hits that glass ceiling pretty hard each time, much like Bond.   It was 3 years between Rush Hours the last time ... 6 years this time.  There has never been a $100 million live-action talking animal movie ... will Underdog beat the curse ... or even Eight Below's $82 million record?  Evan Almighty is one of two sequels with changes in the lead, as Daddy Day Camp gives Cuba Gooding, Jr. a chance to chew the scenery.

Speaking of Bourne, anything under $200 million is expected.  Harry Potter can do $250 million and no one will notice.  If Ocean's 13 earns $13 million for each member of the gang, respectful yawns will come.  Anything between $130 million and $200 million for Fantastic Four 2 won't make much noise ... though anything under $130 million will start "no more" talk about the series. 

It's also the summer of Bruce Willis (Live Free or Die Hard), Kevin Costner (Mr Brooks), Jane Fonda (Georgia Rule), Drew Barrymore (Lucky You), and Nancy Drew. Plus Catherine Zeta Jones gets her first stand alone lead in a movie, the remake of Mostly Martha, No Reservations, in which she plays "Kate."  (They should really dump that title!)

When will Michael Moore land with Sicko?  Some think he will wait for the fall, but the history of Fahrenheit 9/11 says it will be mid-summer.  Meanwhile, people will be overcome with illness, leaving them walking brainwashed or walking dead with lots o' political subtext in The Invasion or 20 Weeks Later. 

And what of Stardust?  Sleeper or dumper? 

Will Sam Jackson come out of the summer as Oscar bait for Resurrecting The Champ?

Will Lindsay Lohan's second movie, I Know You Killed Me, be a same-summer scumback?

Will anyone pay to see Son of Rambow, Goya's Ghosts, This Is England, Rescue Dawn, Interview, King of Kong, Wristcutters, Daywatch, Crazy Love, Black Sheep,. A Mighty Heart (not wind), or Eagle vs Shark?  (They should.) And will D.O.A. actually get released?  (It should.)

And the studio rankings for the summer?

1. Disney - Pirates of The Caribbean: At World's End, Ratatouille, Underdog - $713m

2, Sony - Spider-Man 3, Surf's Up, Superbad, Daddy Day Camp, I Know Who Killed Me - $589m

3. Universal - The Bourne Ultimatum, Evan Almighty,  I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, Knocked Up, Mr Bean's Holiday - $573m

4. Warner Bros - Harry Potter & The Order Of The Phoenix, Ocean's 13, No Reservations, Nancy Drew, The Invasion, License to Wed, Lucky You - $557m

5. DreamWorks - Shrek The Third, Transformers - $541m

6. New Line - Rush Hour 3, Hairspray, Martian Child - $349m

7. Fox - Fantastic Four 2, Live Free Or Die Hard, The Simpsons, Death Sentence - $325m

And so, the horserace begins ...

(This column will not appear weekly this summer.
But it will turn up at least once a month and more, as the news demands.

This Week's Box Office Chart

- Email David Poland



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