MOVIE MAN

The annual summertime top 10 movie guesses

By Movie Man | Published Wednesday, April 30, 2014

This is a rare week (that happens every year) when the Movie Man skips a film, puts on his prognosticating hat, and tries to ascertain what the top 10 movies of the upcoming summer season will be.

It’s never perfect. There’s always some movie that seems to come out of nowhere and is a big hit. Like “Ted” (2012, a 3). That film went on to land in the rarefied air of last summer’s top 10.

This time, the Movie Man is factoring in the Seth McFarland effect (formerly the Adam Sandler effect).

THIS SUMMER’S BIGGIES

10. “A Million Ways to Die in the West”

This is McFarland’s latest comedy, a Western with his usual cultural references and juvenile humor. Still, there’s no denying the Family Guy’s clout and appeal.

He stars in this one. Expect the usual – lots of gross-out, sophomoric gags with an occasional home run. It arrives May 30.

9. “Guardians of the Galaxy”

So far, Marvel’s successful streak remains unbroken. This is a very weird, offbeat choice to continue the company’s domination. But the fanboys will still support it – especially since the alien “heroes” are rumored to become part of “Avengers 3.”

Plus, “Guardians’” coming attraction is funny. It hits theaters Aug. 1.

8. “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”

There’s a huge fan base for the Turtles, too. Megan Fox (remember her?) returns as April and this time around, the Turtles are all computer generated.

Michael Bay (we’ll talk about him more in a minute) is producing, so look for some gigantic set pieces. Expect a big opening on Aug. 8.

7. “Maleficent”

This Disney movie sounded goofy, even with a great casting of Angelina Jolie. Then the Movie Man saw the trailer which is pretty impressive.

He expects the film to tread the line between scary and fun – something Disney has perfected through the years. Enough tweens and Mommies will show up to make this a hit. It arrives May 30 like “A Million Ways to Die in the West” – it’s unusual for the Movie Man to choose a pair of Top 10ers from the same date, but it’ll likely happen.

6. “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes”

The Movie Man’s a little concerned about the time between this sequel and the original reboot (2011, a 7). But, again, the coming attraction is superior and the buzz remains.

Of all the Movie Man’s Top 10 guesses, this one’s chanciest; it could open big then fade. But there’s little else around it (see Possible Breakthroughs), and “Dawn” could have some substantial staying power after its July 11 opening.

5. “Godzilla”

This is the summer movie the Movie Man is most looking forward to. The effects appear top-notch, and Bryan Cranston gives the picture a bit of star power.

The Movie Man is well versed in the creature, from its rubber-suit beginnings to its oft-disdained big-screen remakes. This one looks upper tier. It arrives May 10.

4. “The Amazing Spider-Man 2″

The movie that officially kicks off the summer blockbuster season should stay around for a couple of months. This one looks more light-hearted and boasts a couple of popular villains (aside from the ever-present Green Goblin) in Rhino (Paul Giamatti) and Electro (Jamie Foxx).

It’s hard to believe that “Spidey 2″ won’t be a giant hit right off the bat when it hits theaters May 2.

3. “How to Train Your Dragon 2″

The first one (2010, a 7) was fun, unique and, most of all, utilized the 3-D process as well as any movie ever.

Judging from previews, that will occur again. Combined with a lack of any sort of animated competition this summer means that after “Dragon 2″ opens June 13, it should remain the rest of the summer.

2. “X-Men: Days of Future Past”

The merging of the X-Men universes is a great idea. And, wisely, fan favorite Wolverine has a major role; he time travels so appears in both ends of the action.

Even with the bad publicity surrounding its director – Bryan Singer is accused of a crime – once it begins, nothing will stop this Marvel juggernaut. (See what the Movie Man did there? Juggernaut was a Spider-Man foe. Oh, Movie Man!)

Well, only one thing could stop it

1. “Transformers: Age of Extinction”

The Movie Man learned long ago to not bet against Michael Bay’s “Transformers.” The trio before this June 27 release made $319 million, $402 million and $342 million, respectively, in the U.S. – and that’s with openings of $70.5 million, $109 million and $98 million.

With what the Movie Man perceives as a weaker than usual summer, “Age of Extinction” could reach $400 million.

POSSIBLE BREAKTHROUGHS

It’s often comedies that manage to upset the prediction apple cart. The Movie Man’s choices to break through are a trio of funny ones.

Most likely, the top comedy (after McFarland’s Western) will be “Tammy” (July 2). It’s a road movie with the popular Melissa McCarthy and there’s zero competition for a female-slanted movie this summer. Susan Sarandon also stars.

A second possible top 10 hit is another juvenile comedy, the frat house vs. adults-next-door battle of “Neighbors” (May 9) with Seth Rogen. Twentysomethings might eat this one up.

“22 Jump Street” (June 13) comes off a popular original (2012, a 5), but it might get overwhelmed by the competition; it opens with “How to Train Your Dragon 2.”

Other movies that might surprise: “The Fault in Our Stars” (a popular young adult book adaptation here June 6); the Tom Cruise sci-fi biggie “Edge of Tomorrow” (also June 6); “Hercules” (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has a bevy of fans; how many will show starting July 25?); Frank Miller’s “Sin City: A Dame to Die For,” the long-awaited (due Aug. 22) follow-up to “Sin City” (2005, a 5); and “The Expendables 3,” the macho manfest coming Aug. 15.

NEXT UP

It all begins with “Amazing Spider-Man 2″ next week.

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