Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Movie Preview: June 2015

We are one month into Hollywood's summer movie season and May got us off to a pretty good start. No records were set in May, but that's nothing to cry over because there were a whole lot of success stories. Avengers: Age of Ultron didn't quite fly as high as most people were thinking, but perhaps our expectations were unfairly high because the numbers that The Avengers grabbed are numbers that most movies haven't even come close to achieving. Although Age of Ultron will fall well short of its predecessor's $623 million domestic total, its $430 million so far is nothing to scoff at. In fact, that's in the top 10 all time, so this is definitely a huge success. Other successes from May were Pitch Perfect 2, Mad Max: Fury Road, and San Andreas, all of which opened way higher than they were expected to open. So yes, these success stories led for a very good month despite some failures from the likes of Hot Pursuit, Tomorrowland, Poltergeist, and Aloha. Out of all the summer months this year, July looks like it will be the most loaded, but June does have some pretty good fire power, so let's jump right in and see what there is to look forward to in the second month of the summer!

June 5th - 7th-

Looking at all four weekends this month, each weekend looks like it will have exactly one huge, which should make for a consistently successful month. The huge hit this first weekend will be Melissa McCarthy's Spy.  Melissa McCarthy is one of the biggest names in comedy today as she has been fairly reliable in the last few years, starring in huge comedic successes such as Bridesmaids, Identity Thief, and The Heat. She had a slip-up last year with Tammy as no one really liked it and it made a lot less than the aforementioned movies. However, there's a lot of reasons to believe that Spy will get her back on track. The first reason is that it reunites her with director Paul Feig, who worked with her on her two biggest films, Bridesmaids and The Heat. The second reason is the premise of the movie. As the title suggests, this is a spy comedy that co-stars action star Jason Statham, who is recently coming off huge success with Furious 7. This means the movie is attempting to reach beyond the typical Melissa McCarthy crowd by drawing in fans of Statham or action movies in general. The final thing it has going for it is very strong early reviews as it currently is certified fresh on Rotten Tomatoes at 95 percent.

The second movie of this first weekend will give horror fans an option as Insidious Chapter 3 will attempt to haunt theaters. Four years ago, Insidious became a surprise hit as it opened low but held extremely well back in April 2011. In terms of horror, it is generally seen as a well-liked horror movie, which can be rare these days. Because horror movies usually only cost a few dimes to make, this of course sparked the sequel Insidious Chapter 2 which played off the success of the original to open up to huge numbers in September 2013. The problem here is that Chapter 2 wasn't well liked and thus fell hard. Where the original quadrupled it's opening weekend total, Chapter 2 barely doubled. This isn't really a good omen for Chapter 3. If it ends up being a stinker like the second, it has a good chance of getting ignored this time around. They are taking the prequel route with it, which has worked for horror movies in the past. Also, trailers are promising that it is the most terrifying chapter yet. In order to be a hit, it'll most likely have to hold up on that promise.

The final movie of the weekend is actually the movie that is getting a head start on the month as Entourage actually opens up on Wednesday the 3rd, which means a lot of Entourage fans will be heading out to the Tuesday night showings which are happening as a type this up. Entourage is based off the hit HBO TV series which started in 2004 and went for 8 seasons. When I say "based off," I really mean that it's an extension of the series as it brings back the cast and characters from the series for one final ride. A lot of critics are panning the movie right now, saying that it's nothing more than an extended TV episode of Entourage, but actual fans of the series have enjoyed it so far, so this is one of those critic-proof movies as some fans are calling this the finale that the TV show deserved, but didn't actually get in the actual finale. So if you are a fan of the TV series Entourage and you haven't already seen the movie by the time you read this, it's a movie you should probably go see.

June 12th - 14th-

There's only one movie coming out in the second weekend of June and there's a pretty good reason for that as no studio has decided to challenge the long awaited Jurassic World. It's hard to believe that it's been 22 years now since Jurassic Park first debuted in theaters, especially when you go back and watch it and realize that the special effects and CGI in that movie are still better than some movies made today. As you may know, they made two sequels to Jurassic Park, despite the fact that Michael Crichton only wrote two novels. But that's ok because they didn't really follow the novels very well anyways but still were pretty epic. The Lost World especially strayed from the book as the only similarities were the title and the inclusion of dinosaurs. What you may not know is this fourth chapter, Jurassic World, ignores the two sequels and is essentially a direct sequel to the original. So if you are one of the people that didn't like Jurassic Park III (I'd be raising my hand at that) and were worried about the fourth because of that, that could possibly ease your mind. The idea behind Jurassic World is that the initial goal in the first movie of having a dinosaur theme park open to the world is finally fulfilled. By now we as an audience know that this is in fact a bad idea, especially when they decide to create a hybrid dinosaur, but it sure does make for an entertaining movie. Chris Pratt will continue to make a huge name for himself as he goes from starring as Star Lord in Guardians of the Galaxy last year to starring as some sort of raptor trainer in this.

June 19th - 21st-

After seeing the return of the Jurassic Park franchise in the second weekend of June, the third weekend of June sees another return. The return of Pixar with Inside Out! The absence of Pixar was obviously a much shorter absence, but due to production issues with The Good Dinosaur they took 2014 off, making it the first year in several years without a Pixar movie. Early reviews on Inside Out are making it look like this will be another type of Pixar return. A return to the days when they were the king of animation. Back in 2010, Pixar had phenomenal success on about every level with Toy Story 3, but their next three outings weren't quite the same. Cars 2, Brave, and Monsters University do have their fair share of fans, but neither were quite as universally loved as most other Pixar films. The premise of Inside Out did have a few people questioning it as it's about the emotions inside a little girl's head, but early reviews suggest this is a return to form. As of now it stands at a perfect 100 percent on the tomato meter as well as at a 9.1 on IMDb. Those will obviously change when more reviews come out, but that is a very good early sign.

The other movie from this weekend is much less known, but like it's release companion, it also has a perfect score of 100 percent on the tomato meter. This movie is Dope. Initially released at the Sundance Film Festival in January, Dope was picked up by Open Road Films and is a coming of age comedy/drama about the post hip-hop generation. Open Road Films aren't known for their huge releases as their highest grossing movie is 2014's The Nut Job with $64 million domestically, so I imagine they are planning on a smaller release with Dope and will rely on word of mouth to propel it forward, but given the reviews it's definitely something to look out for. As far as a draw, the big name actor in this is Forest Whitaker. Outside him, much of the cast is full of younger stars, the biggest of which is Zoe Kravitz, the daughter of singer/actor Lenny Kravitz. Zoe has made a decent name for herself recently as she's picked up supporting roles in major films such as X-Men: First Class, The Divergent Series, and the most recent hit Mad Max: Fury Road.

June 26th - 28th-

The final weekend of June ends a bit like it began - with an R-rated comedy that has the potential to be a huge hit. This time the foul-mouthed teddy bear is back in Ted 2. This exact weekend three years ago, Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane debuted his first feature-length film with Ted. The idea was a bit of a novelty in that everyone's always imagined their childhood teddy bear coming to life. It was also evident that this was Seth MacFarlane's first chance to completely unleash all his foul jokes and gags that he wasn't able to on a TV show and thus this childhood teddy bear because quite the potty mouth. Audiences worldwide completely bought into it and Ted was a massive success, earning a humongous $549 million worldwide, $218 million coming here in the states. MacFarlane's second movie showed his comedic mortality, though, as A Million Ways to Die in the West was an absolute disaster in multiple ways. So now MacFarlane is hoping to recover by bring the foul-mouthed teddy bear for a second go around. This should work quite well as fans of the teddy bear are sure to show up again, although it might be unfair to expect the movie to replicate the huge success of the first as that's a pretty high standard that most R-rated movies in general don't come close to.

The last movie of the month is the one that I'm going to call the biggest sleeper candidate and that is Max. I say sleepeer because it could possibly stay asleep if the advertising doesn't kick in a bit, but it's also the type of feel good movie that could go over very well with audiences and thus hold well at the box office. Max is a dog. But not just any dog. Max is a war dog and a war hero at that who has saved the lives of many marines in Afghanistan. But just like a lot of soldiers, Max has gone through a traumatic experience that has caused him to suffer from PTSD after he is home. So this is a war drama. A war drama surrounding a dog. I haven't quite been able to tell if this exact plot is based on a true story about an actual dog, but I do know that these types of dogs do exist. The movie is directed by Boaz Yakin, the director of  Remember the Titans and the writer of Now You See Me, and stars Robbie Amell and Thomas Haden Church among others.

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