June put up some decent box office winners and losers, but a pair of big boy superheroes come out to play in July. The battle for July box office supremacy lies in the showdown between The Amazing Spider-Man and The Dark Knight Rises. The name and brand recognition is there for both franchises and, after the huge record-breaking debut from The Avengers in May, the pressure is on to put up equally big numbers. Those two movies will be big, but, personally, I don’t see either one of them topping The Avengers‘ $207 million opening weekend of $600+ million final gross. Nevertheless, those two properties will sure try. Everything else better stay out of the way. Here is my preview and bold box office predictions (sure to go wrong) for the July’s major film releases coming to your local westside Chicago theaters in the month ahead.
The Amazing Spider-Man— Call me squeamish, but I still have the bad taste of the awful Spider-Man 3 from 2007 in my mouth to expect much or desire another, even rebooted, attempt at getting the comic book web-slinger right. Five years is too soon. Marc Webb, the director of the little romance (500) Days of Summer, got Sony’s backing to cast Brit Andrew Garfield of The Social Network as Peter Parker and turn everyone’s favorite redhead Emma Stone back to her natural blonde to play Gwen Stacy in a new origin story of the hero. Risks have been taken and expectations are huge for this July 4th weekend hitter. Hollywood knows it and challengers have steered clear on this holiday weekend. That hasn’t stopped the marketing department from giving away many, many chunks and plot points of the movie (story), as seen from this excellent mash-up from the movie writer The Sleepy Skunk (who’s a Facebook friend of the page). Still, this movie, on name recognition alone, will make a killing. (trailer)
OPENING WEEKEND PREDICTION (Tuesday-Sunday): $125 million. EVENTUAL TOTAL GROSS: $316 million
Katy Perry: Part of Me— Katy Perry becomes the next to get the Justin Bieber/Hanna Montana/Miley Cyrus documentary movie treatment. Those films made their money, so expect Katy to do the same thanks to legions of screaming teenage girls. (trailer)
OPENING WEEKEND PREDICTION (Thursday-Sunday): $16 million. EVENTUAL TOTAL GROSS: $37 million
Savages— Oliver Stone’s last summer movie was 1994’s Natural Born Killers. His latest, Savages, is a crime thriller about two marijuana growers, a wicked smart UC-Berkeley grad (Aaron Johnson) and an ex-Navy SEAL (Taylor Kitsch), who try to save their kidnapped mutual girlfriend (Blake Lively) from ruthless Mexican cartel trying to get in on their business. Salma Hayek, Benicio Del Toro, Uma Thurman, and John Travolta are in on the action as well. This could be good counter-programming as a smaller, gritty film compared to the superheroes and blockbusters. Let’s hope this releases Taylor Kitsch from the cloud he’s under this year (John Carter, Battleship) (trailer)
OPENING WEEKEND PREDICTION: $10 million EVENTUAL TOTAL GROSS: $23 million
Ice Age: Continental Drift— In the fourth installment of this animated franchise, our furry dinosaur and evolution-dodging friends (Ray Romano, John Leguizamo, Denis Leary, Queen Latifah, and Seann William Scott) are a new adventure dodging pirates (including Peter Dinklage, Nick Frost, and Aziz Ansari), protecting new family (Keke Palmer and Wanda Sykes), and finding new love (Jennifer Lopez). Of course, our wordless saber-toothed squirrel Scrat is still on the quest for the perfect acorn. This movie has been sufficiently placed far enough away from Brave and Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted to have the family audience reloaded for another trip to the movies. Expect Madagascar and Brave-like numbers. (trailer)
OPENING WEEKEND PREDICTION: $62 million EVENTUAL TOTAL GROSS: $199 million
The Dark Knight Rises— If The Avengers wasn’t the #1 most anticipated movie of the summer, this is #1.1. Like Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 a year ago, all forms of movie competition are steering clear of the third weekend in July and this awaiting juggernaut. Following the smashing and award-winning success of The Dark Knight, director Christopher Nolan embarks on the final chapter of his Batman story, reportedly putting a definitive ending on his story. Pre-sales have been going for a few weeks already, the Q-rating is extremely high, and the IMAX bump will only help its numbers. The only thing holding this one from the catching box office records of The Avengers is the lack of 30% mark-up for 3D admission and the unforeseen bad luck of any bad reviews (which are not anticipated). Still, this one will do some major damage at the box office. (trailer)
OPENING WEEKEND PREDICTION: $182 million EVENTUAL TOTAL GROSS: $587 million
The Watch— It looks like 20th Century Fox is not going to let the enormously controversial Trayvon Martin case get in their way from releasing this comedy about a group of minivan-riding, over-zealous neighborhood watch guys (Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Jonah Hill, and Richard Ayoade) who discover a fiendish plot that threatens the entire world. Stiller and Vaughn always have devoted fanbases and Jonah Hill is on a roll after Moneyball and 21 Jump Street. Like Ice Age, this comedy has distanced itself from both the sci-fi (Men in Black 3 and Seeking a Friend for the End of the World) and funny movies (Ted, Magic Mike) it shares ties and audience with. The worst thing is that it follows The Dark Knight Rises. (trailer)
OPENING WEEKEND PREDICTION: $33 million EVENTUAL TOTAL GROSS: $115 million
Step Up Revolution— The fourth film in this somehow-successful franchise that launched the career of Channing Tatum stars no one you’ve ever heard of, dancers you won’t tell apart, and a soundtrack that all sounds the same for two hours. Good luck, kids, and pull your pants up. This franchise has run its course. (trailer)
OPENING WEEKEND PREDICTION: $10 million EVENTUAL TOTAL GROSS: $46 million
All of these upcoming July releases will be opening at your local west side Chicago theaters. Advance tickets can be purchased at many of those location through Fandango and MovieTickets.com. Enjoy the month of July during the heart of the summer movie season. Follow my ovalpike.com page for weekly “This Week Ahead” and “This Weekend” articles that track the month, movies, and box office results as they happen.