summerfeaturethisone

Our Big Ole Happy Summer Box Office Preview

It’s the state of the industry these days and a sure sign summer blockbusters are just around the corner when you stroll down your local grocery aisle and are bombarded with cereals, soda and chips plastered with movie propaganda.

Mass merchandising is synonymous with the summer season and these mini-billboards are essential in creating and maintaining the hoopla and hype. It used to just be places like McDonalds and 7-11 as the go-to bastions of pop culture junk food, but now studios have become much more savvy slapping mainstream supermarkets upside the head with an array of everyday products.

Doritos

First off the shelf is Marvel’s “The Avengers,” as the sequel, “Age of Ultron,” prepares to whollop retailers with products such as The Hulk jacked up on jalapeño pepper jack Doritos (and in 3D no less) and Thor, Asgard’s finest, pushing spicy Doritos upon unsuspecting taste buds. Iron Man is front and center too, taking the original flavor, while Black Widow is camped out on the Ranch Dipped Hot Wings—which is actually pretty hot when you think about it!

 

The one thing I think we can agree on is that mass media whoredom is in full effect with these franchises. The destruction duo, Hulk and Thor, also flex their wares on Corn Flakes and other Kellogg’s brands, hoping you remember their future exploits while you scarf down your naturally and slightly artificially fortified breakfast, not to mention crackers, Rice Krispies treats and countless other brands.

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I mean, The Avengers even have their own cereal. Once you’ve got your own cereal, you know you’ve really arrived as a franchise.

avengers-cereal

Even “Jurassic World,” which doesn’t open until mid-June, has its own fruit snack line in stores and graces the boxes of a new mix of Mike and Ike’s, Jurassic World Tropical Fruits, with Mystery Dino Eggs! Expect even bigger promotions from the dinosaurs as well as the Minions once summer is in full swing and “The Avengers” buzz fades out.

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Snacking aside, audiences gobble up movies by the truckload from May through Labor Day, and Hollywood always has more product than it knows what to do with. This you can be sure of though: sequels and reboots  will dominate the box office landscape as there are 16 of them jockeying for your wallet’s attention.

While no film has a chance to top “Avengers: Age of Ultron” Marvel will face some stiff competition from “Jurassic World,” “Minions” “Mission: Impossible-Rogue Nation” and Pixar’s “Inside Out”

So, without further ado, the summer preview—here are the films we suspect will be strutting their stuff as the Top 10 worldwide hits when the sun sets on another cinematic slushee fund.

As a tip of our hat to Premiere Magazine (R.I.P.), the monthly movie mag that I personally used to slurp down like an ICEE on the hottest day of the year, we continue the tradition which always saw them unveil their summer preview by predicting the Top 10 grossing films of Hollywood’s hottest season.

Don’t agree? Do you scoff at our box office boisterousness? Also check out our experts’ picks, as we have a slew of prognosticators making their own global Top 10 predictions. The one thing everyone can agree on: “Avengers: Age of Ultron” will be the mightiest of all.

So remember to “go big” this summer and always refill that popcorn tub if given the chance. Gluttony truly is a glorious thing in the sanctity of a darkened theater where no one can see you mash your face with overflowing handfuls of buttery, salty goodness.  But, for pete’s sake, please clean up after yourself, you filthy animal.

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NW’s SUMMER MOVIE PREVIEW THEME MUSIC: SUMMER’S HERE

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#1 AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON (Disney) – May 1 – $1.6 billion

Three years ago, Marvel broke the bank with a superhero mash-up that scaled new box office heights tallying $1.5 billion globally, $623 million in the U.S. and Canada alone. That total made it the third highest grossing film ever after James Cameron’s “Titanic” and “Avatar.”

It also holds serious bragging rights as the #1 opener of all time in the states, debuting with a mind-numbing $207 million.  While the sequel without equal kicks off things this summer, matching that level of dominance will be a difficult task. Probably won’t debut with $200M+ again, or hit over $600M+ domestically, but should still see $500M+ and even more than the $895M it totaled overseas.

#2 JURASSIC WORLD (Universal) – June 12 – $1.1 billion

It’s been 22 years since Spielberg first enchanted audiences with Michael Crichton’s “Jurassic Park” and amazingly 14 years since Universal ended the Jurassic Era with the utterly forgettable “Jurassic Park III.”

The first installment was a billion-dollar-earner, grossing more than the sequel and three-quel combined, and “World” looks like it will dominate in the same fashion as star Chris Pratt is one of Hollywood’s hottest commodity right now. And hey, let’s face it, a whole new generation needs their dino-fix. Should turn into a world beater.

#3 MINIONS (Universal) – July 10 – $1 billion

“Despicable Me” and its sequel were world-beaters grossing $543M and $970M respectively. We all love Gru, but it’s abundantly clear that the minions are the true driving force of this franchise. We’re about to find out if their sh*t really is ba-na-nas.

#4 INSIDE OUT (Disney) – June 19 – $800M

Three of the last four Pixar films have been sequels, which may be why Disney Animation, with titles like “Frozen,” “Tangled” and “Big Hero 6” has been getting much more recognition than John Lasseter’s outfit. That stops here.

Classic Pixar from Pete Docter, the director of another Pixar film that folks were initially iffy about, “Up.” Sometimes the only way out is another way in.

#5 MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – ROGUE NATION (Paramount) – July 31 – $750M

Like the “Fast & Furious” series, “Mission: Impossible” just keeps getting more bucks out of its bang. 2011’s “Ghost Protocol” scored nearly $700M globally, and Cruise’s latest looks like it will fill the docket for late summer fun.

#6 ANT-MAN (Disney) – July 17 – $580M

I think we can all agree that Marvel is pretty much unstoppable right now. That said, this relatively unknown pint-sized hero will certainly test their multiplex dominance. Hey, isn’t that what they said about “Guardians of the Galaxy” last summer?

That oddball film also featured relatively unknown comic book heroes, yet still went on to be the #1 film of the summer domestically.  Certainly will benefit from the massive wave of “Avengers” hype, and probably a bit of crossover, which could easily give this the boost it needs.

#7 TOMORROWLAND (Disney) – May 22 – $495M

Disney sure hopes their latest theme park ride adaptation plays out more like “Pirates of the Caribbean” and less like “The Haunted Mansion.” Having Brad Bird (“M:I- Ghost Protocol,” “The Incredibles”) at the helm is a good start.

Thing is, they desperately want this to play like a YA adaptation. And you know what? It just might. Even the pedestrian “Maleficent” conjured up over $750M+ last summer, so this should cruise past $400M, and if it’s really good, might even shoot past $500M+.

#8 TED 2 (Universal) – July 31 – $480M

Most comedies don’t translate overseas, but Seth MacFarlane’s crude and rude teddy bear actually cuddled up more internationally ($330M) than in North America ($218M). Should see similar results.

#9 TERMINATOR: GENISYS (Paramount) – July 1 – $445M

Are you ready to “reset” the future again? I mean, do they do anything else in this franchise? Since James Cameron left the franchise in 1991, these films have been a crapfest. Still, “Terminator 3” grossed $433M and “Salvation” found solace in $371M.

With Arnie coming back for much more than a cameo this time, the fifth film in the franchise is probably a shoe-in for at least $400M if not more. And Arnie personally promised that this was the start of a new trilogy…so there’s that.

#10 FANTASTIC FOUR (Fox) – August 7 – $430M

This is a strange reboot, as the first two from Fox weren’t exactly huge hits. Adding Miles Teller, Michael B. Jordan and Kate Mara is a great start, but this looks pretty tame in comparison to “Avengers 2” this summer. The one thing it has going for it—it has August all to itself. Without much competition this could clean up much the same way “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” and “Guardians of the Galaxy” did last summer.

And if any of these potential blockbusters fail to ignite, look for “Mad Max: Fury Road,” “Pixels,” “San Andreas” or “Spy” to take their place.

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NW’s SUMMER MOVIE PREVIEW THEME MUSIC: BOMB’S AWAY?

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With the excess of riches there is always a chance of a couple films bottoming out. Whether it be sequelitis, otherwise known as sequel-fatigue, or just too many choices, some will succeed while others will undoubtedly fall flat.

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THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. (Warner Bros.) – Aug 18 – Budget: $75M

Guy Richie’s film has probably moved around more times than even “Jupiter Ascending” (we all know the fate of that film) and placing it in mid-August against a film like “Straight Outta Compton,” which should clean up, isn’t doing the action/comedy any favors.

It’s not that it looks awful, it’s just that stars Armie Hammer (“Lone Ranger”) and Henry Cavill (“Man of Steel”), are two actors with about as much star presence and charisma as Richard Grieco and a baloney sandwich. Ok, that’s underselling them a bit, I admit. But not by much. Good actors in the right roles, but not these roles. Madcap action comedies are a tough sell, and this may be the toughest of the summer.

PIXELS (Sony) – June 24 – Budget: $110M

This isn’t “Ghostbusters,” this is “Video Game Busters.” Sure, Adam Sandler has been in a little bit of a slump lately, but teaming up with Kevin James is the right move…as well as a supporting cast that includes Peter Dinklage and Josh Gad.

Video game flicks are often the kiss of death at the box office, but this is pop culture heavy and may just wind up netting the family audiences. If so, it just might be able to avoid that dreaded sound of Pac-man dying.

SAN ANDREAS (Warner Bros.) May 22 – Budget $100M

Disaster films can turn into big business as “2012” recently proved which earned $769M, and even last summer’s “Into the Storm,” with no real stars, whipped up $160M worldwide. With Dwayne Johnson front and center it’s possible “San Andreas” might not hit $100M domestically, but still see over $300M+ worldwide.

MAD MAX: FURY ROAD (Warner Bros.) May 15 – Budget $150M

I know, we all want to see this. By far, this is the flick I’m most excited to see this summer. It’s an action film on steroids and done by one of the masters of the genre, George Miller. But how on earth did an R-rated sequel, thirty years since the last installment, get a $150M budget?!? Well, it certainly looks like they spent every last dime—this thing is madness incarnate! Yippee-Ki-Yay. I honestly hope this makes a billion dollars! Whatever happens, fanboys and action junkies everywhere will champion this film to the death.

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Yeah, but where’s the funny?

Judd Apatow heralds the arrival of Comedy Central fave Amy Schumer in “Trainwreck.” His Freaks & Geeks cohort, Paul Feig, brings Melissa McCarthy’s “Spy.” Reese Witherspoon teams up with Sofia Vergara in “Hot Pursuit.” Anna Kendrick and her (b-flat) cups are back in “Pitch Perfect 2.

And when you look at that line-up, you can see a distinct change in gender roles. The female funny is pretty hot right now; credit Apatow and especially Feig who have long championed ladies as laugh riots.

HBO is giving it a go with the boys from “Entourage.” Jared Hess (“Napoleon Dynamite”) hopes having Owen Wilson and Zach Galifinakis in Relativity’s “Masterminds” will be enough to make people take notice and also looking for a return to form is writer Diablo Cody, who has Meryl Streep front and center in “Ricki and the Flash.”

And for some reason there is even a reboot of “Vacation,” starring Ed Helms and Christina Applegate—at least it’s rated R and will feature cameos from Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo. After seeing the trailer, it looks like this will do some serious business ala “We’re the Millers.” Equal parts homage, but with a fresh pop culture slap to the face. This might surprise.

And last but not least: “Magic Mike XXL.” I’m not sure if the sequel (sans Matthew McConaughey) is a comedy or a drama, but Channing Tatum has told everyone that will listen: “you know exactly what this is.” Yeah, it’s a pony-show of cuddle-core porn. That alone makes me laugh.

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Yeah, but where’s the chill pills?

For the same “some reason” there’s also a reboot of “Poltergeist,” although Sam Rockwell makes pretty much anything palatable.

Mega-microbudget producer Jason Blum has, count ‘em, four films: “The Gallows,” “The Gift” and also dishes out sequels “Insidious: Chapter 3” and “Sinister 2.”

I told you, sequels and reboots…even in the cheap seats.

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Yeah, but where are the indie flicks?

A couple studios are going in wide release with some non-traditional summer fare including Sony’s latest from Cameron Crowe, “Aloha,” starring Bradley Cooper and Emma Stone.

Weinstein has Jake Gyllenhaal in Antoine Fuqua’s boxing drama “Southpaw.”

Sundance faves are also looking for some multiplex love: Open Road Films will drop some 90’s funk in the coming-of-age story “Dope,” while Fox Searchlight drops “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl” and Relatively goes for the gold with “The Bronze.”

Stalwart summer auteur, Woody Allen, offers up “Irrational Man” with Joaquin Phoenix and Emma Stone.

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Yeah, but where’s the other stuff, you know, the good stuff?

Straight Outta Compton” may just blow up as Universal’s biopic of N.W.A. looks to be the real deal—unlike the slightly under-cooked James Brown biopic last summer, “Get on Up.” Not only are many of the original members of N.W.A. heavily involved in all phases of production, but Ice Cube is keeping a close eye on things and is actually portrayed by his own son, O’Shea Jackson Jr.

Fox’s “Paper Towns” is the heir apparent to the surprise hit “The Fault in Our Stars,” both of which were adapted from John Green novels. This one features what looks like break out performances from Cara Delevingne and Nat Wolff, who co-starred as Isaac in “Fault.”

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SUMMER 2015 TOP 10 WORLDWIDE PIX (by our panel of media experts)

Phil Contrino (VP/Chief Analyst, Boxoffice.com)

  1. Avengers: Age of Ultron
  2. Minions
  3. Jurassic World
  4. Mission Impossible – Rouge Nation
  5. Inside Out
  6. Terminator: Genisys
  7. Ted 2
  8. Fantastic Four
  9. Mad Max: Fury Road
  10. Ant-Man

Edward Douglas (Associate Editor, Comingsoon.net)

  1. Avengers: Age of Ultron
  2. Minions
  3. Jurassic World
  4. Inside Out
  5. Ant-Man
  6. Mission Impossible – Rouge Nation
  7. Tomorrowland
  8. Terminator: Genisys
  9. Fantastic Four
  10. Pixels

Ryan Downey (West Coast Editor, Alternative Press)

  1. Avengers: Age of Ultron
  2. Ant-Man
  3. Jurassic World
  4. Mission Impossible – Rouge Nation
  5. Magic Mike XXL
  6. Mad Max: Fury Road
  7. Fantastic Four
  8. Ted 2
  9. Terminator: Genysis
  10. Pixels

Dana Rose Falcone (Editorial Assistant, Entertainment Weekly)

  1. Avengers: Age of Ultron
  2. The Fantastic Four
  3. Jurassic World
  4. Inside Out
  5. Mission Impossible – Rouge Nation
  6. Terminator: Genisys
  7. Magic Mike XXL
  8. Pitch Perfect 2
  9. Minions
  10. Ted 2

Petr Hruby (ERC’s #1 Twitter Correspondent)

  1. Avengers: Age of Ultron
  2. Minions
  3. Jurassic World
  4. Mission Impossible – Rouge Nation
  5. Tomorrowland
  6. Ted 2
  7. Ant-Man
  8. San Andreas
  9. Terminator: Genisys
  10. Inside Out

Brent Lang (Senior Film & Media Reporter, Variety)

  1. Avengers: Age of Ultron
  2. Minions
  3. Inside Out
  4. Jurassic World
  5. Mission Impossible – Rouge Nation
  6. Ted 2
  7. Tomorrowland
  8. Mad Max: Fury Road
  9. Pitch Perfect 2
  10. Terminator: Genisys

Gitesh Pandya (Editor, Boxofficeguru.com)

  1. Avengers: Age of Ultron
  2. Jurassic World
  3. Inside Out
  4. Mission Impossible – Rouge Nation
  5. Minions
  6. Ant-Man
  7. Fantastic Four
  8. Terminator: Genisys
  9. Ted 2
  10. Mad Max: Fury Road

Lisa Richwine (West Coast Media Correspondent, Reuters)

  1. Avengers: Age of Ultron
  2. Minions
  3. Inside Out
  4. Jurassic World
  5. Ant-Man
  6. Fantastic Four
  7. Mission Impossible – Rouge Nation
  8. Tomorrowland
  9. Mad Max: Fury Road
  10. Terminator: Genysis

Jeff Sneider (Film Reporter, The Wrap)

  1. Avengers: Age of Ultron
  2. Minions
  3. Jurassic World
  4. Inside Out
  5. Ted 2
  6. Mission Impossible – Rouge Nation
  7. Ant-Man
  8. Tomorrowland
  9. Fantastic Four
  10. Pixels

Gary Susman (Moviefone Columnist)

  1. Avengers: Age of Ultron
  2. Jurassic World
  3. Minions
  4. Inside Out
  5. Ted 2
  6. Pixels
  7. Magic Mike XXL
  8. Ant-Man
  9. Mission: Impossible- Rogue Nation
  10. Spy

Brian Truitt (Entertainment Writer, USA Today)

  1. Avengers: Age of Ultron
  2. Jurassic World
  3. Inside Out
  4. Pitch Perfect 2
  5. Mission Impossible – Rouge Nation
  6. Tomorrowland
  7. Minions
  8. Ant-Man
  9. Terminator: Genisys
  10. Mad Max: Fury Road

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According to Fandango moviegoers, below are the top picks for the summer:

Most Anticipated Summer Blockbuster:

  1. Avengers: Age of Ultron – 54%
  2. Jurassic World – 14%
  3. Mission Impossible – Rouge Nation – 10%
  4. Terminator: Genysis – 6%
  5. Mad Max: Fury Road – 5%

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Jeff Bock, NewsWhistle’s movie editor, is the senior box office analyst at Exhibitor Relations in Los Angeles, California. He can be reached at Jeff@NewsWhistle.com.

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Lead-In & Above Image Courtesy of Disney Movies; Poster Design by Proof