Summer Movie Preview: The studios
THE STORY SO FAR: The Mouse house had a solid spring hit with Jungle2Jungle, but its attempts to get hip with Grosse Pointe Blank and Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion have been iffy. THE SURE THING: The animated Hercules should easily surpass the $100 million grossed by last summer’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame. THE BIG QUESTION: Will the $60 million Con Air prove that producer Jerry Bruckheimer can go it alone? YOU’LL KNOW THEY GOOFED IF… neither the Martin Lawrence/Tim Robbins comedy Nothing to Lose nor the heavily hyped George of the Jungle catches on.
THE STORY SO FAR: While Time Warner toyed with selling it, New Line launched the costly flop In Love and War, then endured a quiet spring. THE SURE THING: Between Mortal Kombat: Annihilation and the comic-book adaptation Spawn, the studio will have the teenage-fanboy market cornered. THE BIG QUESTION: Can Seinfeld‘s stars have movie careers? Michael Richards’ dumb-and-dumber comedy Trial and Error and Jason Alexander’s star turn in subsidiary Fine Line’s Love! Valour! Compassion! will tell the tale. YOU’LL KNOW THEY GOOFED IF… nobody remembers any of these movies by Labor Day.
THE STORY SO FAR: Paramount learned a couple of lessons this spring: All the hype in the world can’t create a blockbuster (see Private Parts) and all the bad reviews in the world can’t kill a movie with a good trailer (see The Saint). THE SURE THING: Heavy promotion should guarantee a strong opening for the John Travolta/Nicolas Cage thriller Face/Off. THE BIG QUESTION: Will James Cameron’s Titanic sail or stay in dry dock until Thanksgiving? YOU’LL KNOW THEY GOOFED IF… Titanic‘s reviews have more references to Waterworld than to The Terminator.
THE STORY SO FAR: After years of poor returns, the studio finally had something to smile about: blockbuster grosses for Jerry Maguire, rave reviews for Donnie Brasco, and the promise of stability under new chief John Calley. THE SURE THING: The sci-fi comedy Men in Black should own the Fourth of July weekend. THE BIG QUESTION: Will Julia Roberts’ romantic comedy My Best Friend’s Wedding be effective counterprogramming for action-glutted moviegoers, or will it get lost in the shuffle? YOU’LL KNOW THEY GOOFED IF… Harrison Ford’s good-buzz thriller Air Force One doesn’t at least double the $41 million take of The Devil’s Own.
TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX
THE STORY SO FAR: A so-so opening for the studio’s me-too disaster movie Volcano hurts, but those Star Wars grosses make up for a lot. THE SURE THING: Somebody in that executive suite must like boats: Besides footing the bulk of Titanic‘s huge tab, Fox is also setting sail with Sandra Bullock’s Speed 2: Cruise Control and the Jack Lemmon/ Walter Matthau shipboard comedy Out to Sea. THE BIG QUESTION: Is Speed 2 so seaworthy, even without Keanu Reeves, that its reported $160 million budget is justified? YOU’LL KNOW THEY GOOFED IF… Speed 2 opens big but proves not to have sea legs.