There are 38 movies receiving wide releases this summer (which I am classifying as the first week of May to the fourth week of August (nothing succeeds in the last week of August)). Here are my predictions for the movies that make under $100 million. All estimates and totals deal with domestic totals.
Under $30 Million
Grandmasters is a wide-released foreign film, expect somewhere around $5 million. There are three horror films being released. Summer horror never does well (last year Chernobyl Diaries did $18 million and Apparition was the lowest summer gross at $4 million). I would guess that Conjuring does $20 million, The Purge does $15 million and You’re Next around $10 million. Mortal Instruments is the latest studio attempt at finding the next Twilight or Hunger Games. Taking into account the late August release and the failure of Beautiful Creatures and The Host I am estimating only $20 million. Finally there is The To-Do List, which has been rescheduled from Valentine’s Day. With a familiar comedy cast it could have the slight potential to be a Superbad type of teen sex comedy. But movies distributed by CBS Films have consistently failed to impress, $20 million for this one too.
The World’s End ($30 million)
This is the final installment of Edgar Wright’s Blood and Ice Cream Trilogy with Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. While this franchise has a wide fan base, they do not support it in theatres Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz became cult classics after only making $5 million and $23 million in the U.S. Pegg and Frost’s last buddy film, Paul could only muster $37 million domestically. Also The World’s End release is similar to Wright’s unfortunate bomb Scott Pilgrim vs. the World ($31 million).
300: Rise of an Empire ($30 million)
The original 300 was such a runaway success because it was released early in the year without much competition. That was also six years ago, audiences tastes change quickly. This installment does not have star power. While I am sure Warner Bros. is hoping for Rise of the Planet of the Apes numbers (as evidenced by its August release and including “rise” in the title) it will probably be closer to Conan the Barbarian. Best case scenario is Wrath of the Titans’ $85 million, but with competition for Elysium and The Wolverine it should easily be slaughtered.
Great Gatsby ($35 million)
This is a movie that was created to be Oscar bait but was pushed back to summer. That may be a reflection of the film’s quality. While the book is a classic and Leo is popular (as well as Baz Luhrmann having his fans) this is opening the week after Iron Man 3, which should have a commanding hold over. This is not the kind of movie that people want to see in early May. Should be closer to Leo’s J. Edgar ($37 million) than anything else.
The Internship ($35 million)
The studio is obviously hoping for another Wedding Crashers which made $209 million in 2005, but the duo have reached new career lows (Vaughn with The Watch’s $35 million and Wilson with Big Year’s $7 million). Other movies such as The Dilemma ($48 million), Hall Pass ($45 million) and How Do You Know ($30 million) don’t inspire much confidence either. These are two has beens that are competing against the much more relevant Hangover Part III, This is the End and The Heat.
Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters ($35 million)
Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief made $88 million, similar adaptations such as Golden Compass have made close to $75 million, but this is an August release and those are tougher sells. The younger members of Percy’s demographic will be seeing Planes, which is released the same day and the older members will be seeing more mature fare. Spy Kids 4’s $38 million seems like a fair comparison. Yet another young adult fantasy adaptation that will not get The Hunger Games or Twilight crowd.
Grown Ups 2 ($40 million)
The first Grown Ups made $162 million, but Sandler has not been doing too well since. Jack and Jill did not do him any favors and That’s My Boy was one of 2013’s biggest flops. This sequel does not offer much new aside from replacing Rob Schneider with Nick Swardson. Hangover Part III and This is the End should do better as guy centric comedies. It also opens the same week as Pacific Rim, which should perform much better with the male demographic.
Now You See Me ($45 million)
Original concepts like this can surprise, but without being linked to a franchise, auteur or box-office star it is an uphill battle. It is directly following the release of Hangover Part III, Fast & Furious 6 and Epic (along with the holdovers of Iron Man 3 and Star Trek Into Darkness). The familiar faces of Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson and Morgan Freeman should convince some people to see it, but the magic theme is not a huge draw as evidenced by Incredible Burt Wonderstone’s horrendous $21 million.
Peeples ($45 million)
This one might surprise. It will not be one of the top moneymakers, but it will definitely make back its budget and then some. Craig Robinson is familiar from The Office, Hot Tub Time Machine, and the upcoming This is the End. Tyler Perry is also on board as a producer (last summer Madea’s Witness Protection made $65 million). The Meet the Parents like premise is accessible enough that it should get audiences outside of its intended demographic. Due to competition with Iron Man 3 I would put this at just under Hot Tub Time Machine’s $50 million.
RED 2 ($50 million)
This is released directly against Turbo, R.I.P.D. and The Conjuring. The first RED was a surprise hit at $90 million but it was in October without competition. I would guess that people are tired of Bruce Willis playing an aging action star having just seen him in the same old man role in Expendables 2, Looper, A Good Day to Die Hard and G.I. Joe: Retaliation. Also similar movies such as The Last Stand and Bullet to the Head have failed. Being as this does not have anything new to offer (aside from Catherine Zeta-Jones and Anthony Hopkins) it will definitely bomb.
World War Z ($65 million)
This movie is a mess, a very well documented mess. It has been continually delayed and the trailers have been not received a positive reception. I am guessing that this is 2013’s Battleship ($65 million). The star power comes from Brad Pitt who could only bring Killing Them Softly to $15 million. Even with Moneyball, Brad Pitt could only pull about $73 million, which is undoubtedly much less than WWZ’s expansive budget. This is going to be a famous bomb.
Kick-Ass 2 ($65 million)
Released late in the summer, far enough away from Marvel and DC’s output but close enough where the audience may have some superhero fatigue. But the first Kick-Ass ($48 million) is well liked and the addition of Jim Carrey slightly raises its profile. Not a blockbuster, but should get close to Chronicle’s $65 million.
R.I.P.D. ($70 million)
Ryan Reynolds has been a tough sell as a leading man (Green Lantern made $116 million and Change-Up made $37 million). Pairing him with a veteran actor in Safe House helped the movie perform well and Jeff Bridges had career resurgence a few years ago. But Safe House was released early in the year and this is released on a full week in late July. People will see it due to its stars and high concept, but it will be severely overshadowed by the summer’s many blockbusters.
We’re the Millers ($75 million)
Hoping to reach close to Horrible Bosses $117 million. It is a unique comedy concept (a pot dealer and stripper posing as a family) and includes a marketable cast of Jason Sudeikis, Jennifer Aniston and Ed Helms. It should do decent numbers (more than the usual Sudeikis and Aniston movie). But there is enough competition to keep it from reaching $100 million. It could definitely surprise, as Bosses did, but until we see a trailer this is a tough one to judge. Doubt it will fail though.
This is the End ($80 million)
Viral marketing for this has been great. Even though Seth Rogen’s career has been falling Franco is coming off of Oz the Great and Powerful ($212 million) and Jonah Hill is coming off 21 Jump Street ($138 million). Craig Robinson is also getting better known. The gimmick of celebrities playing themselves is going to either help it or hurt it. There is a chance that paying audiences won’t be into the self-referential humor. I think that the biggest contingency is Hangover Part III. If it disappoints audiences will be looking for a male group comedy. It is a tough one to gage just because it could end up as too limited in appeal. Somewhere between Get Him to the Greek’s $60 million and Green Hornet’s $98 million seems like a safe estimate. Should be a reasonable hit though.
2 Guns ($85 million)
Teaming up Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg seems like a sure thing, although the early August release does not. Denzel’s last summer movie was Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 which only made $65 million, although his other movies since (Unstoppable, Safe House and Flight) have been hits. Wahlberg has done reasonably well in the summer with Ted and The Other Guys, box-office wise he is a sure thing (outside of Broken City). Just due to competition from The Wolverine and Elysium I am guessing it won’t pass $100 million, but it may get close.