It’s one of the busiest summer movies seasons ever with 44 films getting wide releases and more than a hundred more going into limited release. Of course, in a perfect world, all 44 wide release films would be profitable hits. Of course, if it were a perfect world, all these movies would be entertaining, the ticket prices would be affordable, there’d be no surcharges or damned convenience fees for 3D and IMAX screenings, the concession stand options would be more appetizing… I could go on and on.
While a handful of films will follow Iron Man 3 and bask in glory upon piles of money, I’m guessing that these movies listed below are going to have a hard time turning a profit and for that matter, break even. Most of these films suffer from either an awful/boring/uninspired premise and/or next to no buzz from the movie going public.
So let’s jump into the veritable popcorn bucket of potential summer duds (and check back later this year to see how accurate my guesses were)…
Yes, it’s a Tyler Perry production and his brand has managed, more or less to bring in audiences. At the same time though, this movie looks terribly uninspired and comes off essentially as an urban rip-off/remake of Meet The Parents, right down to the goofy family surname. Granted Peeples boasts an appealing duo of Kerry Washington and Craig Robinson, but will their niche audiences be able to spread word of mouth and launch this movie? I have my doubts. The film opened up to a $4.6 million box office against a $15 million budget. Promotion of the film wasn’t that strong so the film is looking at about $25 million to break even with anything over that being a marginal profit.
There have been several trailer for this animated movie and yet, with a week to go before opening, there’s next to no buzz surrounding this film. I’m hoping I’m wrong with this one and families end up seeking it out amid the significant lack of family movies going into the Memorial Day weekend. I mean, honestly, how many times can parents drag their kids to see Iron Man 3, right? Of course, waiting just mere weeks away is another superhero, Superman. With ticket prices gradually increasing will families forego Blue Sky’s latest animated flick for Supes?
This movie lands in the potential dud list simply by reputation. You may not know that the guy who wrote and directed this film is none other than M. Night Shyamalan. Yup, the guy who once brought us films like The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable before becoming a punchline with crap like Lady in the Water and The Happening wrote and directed this movie. Will Smith stars with his son Jaden, though the trailer make it appear that Daddy Smith is nothing more than a brief supporting character. Much of the story and action looks to be focused on Junior Smith and footage that has been screened thus far has been pretty unimpressive. Plus, I don’t know about you, but I’m beginning to suffer from a bit of sci-fi fatigue. The again, maybe it’s because I just went through a Star Trek marathon.
Now You See Me
The cast and the concept look impressive and tantalizing, but the biggest question mark surrounding this movie is the director. This ensemble heist flick was written and directed by none other than Louis Leterrier aka the guy who brought us such cinematic hits like Transporter 2, Clash of the Titans and the Edward Norton Hulk movie. The again, Leterrier has never worked with this broad of a cast and the guess is that Lionsgate/Summit is banking on the laundry list of famous faces to help lift this movie up as a summer hit. It opens up against After Earth and a week after the intriguing battle that will be waged between Fast & Furious 6 and The Hangover: Part III. There’s going to be some spill over into the second weekend for those films, but how much of it is going to bite into Now You See Me‘s box office?
As if an M. Night Shyamalan movie isn’t dubious enough, the following week finds this Owen Wilson/Vince Vaughn team-up that’s about a decade too late. It’s pretty bad when every trailer and clip that has been released recycles the same material over and over again. How many times have we seen the Charles Xavier gag? That moment is being touted as though it’s the funniest moment in the movie and if that’s the case, this internship is headed to Dudsville.
It’s been a while since a horror movie has been successful during the summer movie season. This summer finds three of them getting wide releases and the first one up is The Purge. The what? Exactly. Yes, the posters and trailer looked creepy, but it might be just too creepy enough to scare away mainstream audiences. While the film features two well-known and respected leads in Ethan Hawke and Lena Heady, a lot of the focus for the weekend this movie (and The Internship) are opening is going to Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing. That film could be a potential semi-sleeper hit.
World War Z
A lot has been mentioned about the astronomical production budget on this film that rest somewhere around $250 million. Adding on marketing and promotional costs and some pundits have estimated that in order for the movie to BREAK EVEN, it needs to make $400-$500 million. That’s a tall order considering the final third of the movie was rewritten at the last minute (never a good sign) and by Damon Lindeloff (also not a good sign) no less. What makes World War Z different from The Lone Ranger (itself facing a daunting climb to profitability) is the marketing muscle behind the films. Lone Ranger has Disney who you can count on to market the crap out of that film. WWZ is a Paramount movie that will make solid box office internationally in countries like Russia and Korea that go goo-goo for special effects, but stateside, it’s on the bubble. Bad reviews and word of mouth could be the final stake in this zombie movie’s coffin.
It’s a shame to have to put this movie on this list as the source material is some of the most entertaining stuff I’ve ever read. That’s not an over-exaggeration either. After the first trailer for the film dropped, a lot of people immediately began to compare it to Men in Black and it is SO not that. Yes, there are aliens in the story, but the first trailer failed to hit upon the human elements of Ryan Reynolds’ character as well as the back-stabbing double cross that Jeff Bridges’ character reveals. Hopefully, when the second/final trailer arrives, we’ll get a better look. I’m crossing my fingers for this movie to be a success, but it might just break even.
Speaking of Ryan Reynolds movies, here’s another one opening in July. In fact, Reynolds will be in direct competition with himself as this movie opens two days before R.I.P.D. (along with the presumed weekend champion Red 2). Unlike Epic, Turbo is in competition somewhat with Despicable Me 2 which opens over Fourth of July weekend. Turbo has the potential to be a mediocre hit, but the buzz as of now doesn’t make this movie feel like it could be a breakout hit.
We’re The Millers
Quick, who besides Jennifer Aniston stars in this movie?…. Exactly. This movie is so under-marketed that you probably didn’t know it also stars Jason Sudeikis, Ed Helms and Emma Roberts. Aniston is the big question mark here. Outside of the anomaly that was 2011, the majority of her films have broken even or been duds. Even teamed with the likeable Paul Rudd in last year’s Wanderlust (a pretty good film), her film managed to scrape in just over $17 million. The outlook on this film could change drastically once the first trailer arrives, but given Aniston’s history along with, outside of Helms, the niche recognition of Sudeikis and Roberts, this film is on a thin bubble. There’s also three other big movies opening the same weekend as Millers – Elysium, Percy Jackson and Planes. That leaves this movie with a very limited demographic to target, the same demographic that is probably going to end up watching one of the other three movies.
The problem with adding August films into this list is that we haven’t seen trailers for about half of them. The ones that have released trailers are pretty much on their way to being summer hits (2 Guns, Smurfs 2, Percy Jackson, Elysium, Kick-Ass 2). The issue facing Paranoia is that it’s going to be squeezed out of the box office by two other films – Kick-Ass 2 and The Butler. On one hand, you have a highly anticipated summer sequel that is poised to post a strong opening weekend. On the other hand, you have a potential awards contender in The Butler. Also, The Butler stars Oprah Winfrey among a laundry list of other actors and Opraholics are going to be flocking to theaters to see Lady O back on the big screen. That leaves this thriller with the crumbs from opening weekend and despite its promising cast, it doesn’t look like it could be a big hit.
Martial arts movies tend not to do well at the domestic box office. I blame it on the tired story-telling and irritatingly annoying wire-martial arts bullshit that’s spread across the genre over the past decade like an awful plague. We can’t just have two guys fight each other with fist and foot. No, now they need to twirl around the air like fucking ballerinas dodging their opponent’s assault. OK, sorry, went off on a tangent there. Starring Tony Leung and Zhang Ziyi, this film should do well in Asian countries, especially China. It’s worldwide total thus far is just north of $50 million, so for the Weinstein Company, distributing this movie stateside is just icing on a mediocre cake. I hope I’m wrong here as director Wong Kar Wai has made some amazing films including 2046, Chungking Express and My Blueberry Nights. OK, I’ll be honest. 2046 put me to sleep.
Another summer horror movie. This movie is so off the radar that IMDB doesn’t even have it listed in their database. In short, it stars Marley & Me actress Hayley Bennett and Twililght‘s Ashley Greene…. You’re seriously still interested in this movie? Fine. Here’s the plot: A college girl who is alone on campus over Thanksgiving break is targeted by a group of outcasts and must conquer her deeper fears to outwit them and fight back…. You still awake? Ship this movie straight to Dudsville on a one-way ticket and do not return to sender.
So that’s my list. Do you agree with the films on this list? Let me know what you think in the comments section!