Aug 6, 2020
Hit or Bomb? June 2018 movie predictions
For being smack-dab in the middle of blockbuster season, this month gets off to a pretty slow start. Guess everybody assumed Solo: A Star Wars Story would be dominating the box office for at least a little while, huh? Oops.
Nevertheless, we’re back to play box office oracles and guess which of June’s releases will be domestic HITs or BOMBs, based solely on watching the trailers. Our team of cinematic soothsayers this time around consists of: Jonathan Campbell, Tyler Peterson, Julie Kushner, Susan Velazquez, Thomas Stockel, and Jordon Davis.
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Ocean’s 8 (June 8)
In this all-female spin-off of Ocean’s 11/12/13, Sandra Bullock is Debbie Ocean, Danny’s estranged sister, who’s just out of prison and is now organizing a team of lady thieves (including Cate Blanchett, Mindy Kaling, Sarah Paulson, and Battleship’s Rihanna) to steal 150 million dollars worth of jewelry off the neck of a celeb (Anne Hathaway) at New York’s annual Met Gala.
Jonathan: The all-female Ghostbusters reboot was a blunder and the all-female Expendables spin-off seems to be in development hell, so we wait with bated breath to find out if this gender-flipped caper flick does the trick. The trailer makes it look like it has potential and hey, can’t be worse than the last two Ocean’s movies, so I’ll cautiously call it a HIT.
Tyler: If there’s one thing we know about gender-swapped reboots, it’s that everyone loves them. This one, however, seems not to have considered that many of the conventions of the heist movie are uniquely vulnerable to gendered double standards. We’re socialized to root for male characters who con and rob people, so long as they’re charming. Women who do the same are conniving and two-faced. The conspicuous wealth on display in your typical Ocean’s movie is going to work against it, too; a woman who wears expensive clothes to an expensive place to steal expensive things is frivolous and materialistic, whereas her male counterpart simply has a taste for the finer things. Ocean’s 8 thinks representation is just different faces in the same stories with no heed paid to theme and cultural context. It’s lazy cosmetic woke-ness, too slipshod and tone-deaf to satisfy anyone but the most uncritical Oprah feminists. BOMB.
Julie: Though the plots and characters tend to have a sort of paint-by-numbers feel (like a game of Mad-Libs in which the only blanks are the ones that say “insert name of actress/actor”), and the second and third installments were nowhere near as good as the first, the Ocean’s movies are always a good time. The cast is inevitably all-star. The soundtrack is popping. The dialogue is quippy, and has the rat-a-tat-tat cadence of an old timey noir movie mixed with a late ’90s sitcom. The crime caper high-jinks keep you continuously entertained, no matter how many times you’ve seen it all before. This one is going to do just fine, folks. I have one complaint, though: that promotional shot featuring the entire cast, all impeccably dressed, and spread out inside an otherwise empty NYC subway car? Would never happen. Any real New Yorker knows that if a subway car is empty, there’s a good reason. And that reason tends to either be dead or just really, really smelly… HIT.
Susan: I wonder how the pitch meeting for this went. “Imagine Ocean’s 11 but with ladies!” “Oh, yeah, let’s do Ocean’s 11 but with ladies!” “No, I meant that it’s going to be like Ocean’s 11—there’ll be a bunch of cool thieves, an impossible heist—but it’s going to be its own original thing.” “Too late, we got the plans for a crossover with George Clooney already planned out!” Jokes about Hollywood’s lack of originality aside, I think this will be a HIT. The star-studded cast (who knew Cate Blanchett would one day co-star with Rhianna?) looks like they’re having fun with the material and Gary Ross’ track record (four-time Academy Award nominee, people!) indicates that the film should have no trouble stealing and holding the audience’s attention.
Thomas S: It’s sad that when you have a movie like Ocean’s 11, with an all-male crew, people take it for granted, and when you have an all female crew in this new film it feels, well, sociopoltical. It feels like a gimmick, especially in the wake of the divisive Ghostbusters remake. It’s hard to look past the elephant in the room and look at the movie based purely on its merits but I’ll try. The cast looks strong and I’m a sucker for heist films (although Ocean’s 12 and 13 left me cold), and with the strong cast I’m hopeful Ocean’s 8 does well. With people being rather cold in regards to Solo, I’m thinking moviegoers might opt to give this movie a chance. So, modest HIT.
Jordon: Should they have made an all-female version of Ocean’s 11? Let me ask you a related question: Should they have made a movie with Rihanna in it? Hell yes, they should. The fact that Anne Hathaway beat her out for an Oscar for Battleship was a crime against cinema. Wait, Anne Hathaway is in this, too? Don’t take the red pill; this will be a date-night HIT.
The Incredibles 2 (June 15)
14 years after the release of the original Incredibles, the Parrs are back. Elastigirl (voiced by Holly Hunter) is now the primary hero of the family, while husband Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson) stays at home and takes care of the kids. But when new villain Screenslaver tries to take over the world, the whole family plus old friend Frozone (Samuel L. Jackson) once again jump into action.
Jonathan: The one and only Pixar sequel fans truly ever wanted finally arrives, and thus far it looks… well, incredible. (Rimshot!) I’ve waited a decade for this bloody thing and I truly want it to be good and successful, and I do want to see at least one more. It’s a lot to live up to, but I have faith it will pull it off. HIT.
Tyler: Pixar has a pretty good record of not resting on its laurels where franchises are concerned. These guys have a knack for mining fresh, resonant thematic material from the same set of characters. And their movies have long shelf lives too, so even when there’s a long break between entries, you never feel like they’re banking too hard on audience goodwill. The Incredibles 2 is what I wish every sequel could be: not a retread or a cash-grab, but a genuine story that puts old characters through new challenges and conflicts. HIT.
Julie: I actually liked the family high-jinks and Mr. Mom aspects of the trailer way better than the action stuff. The supervillain’s MO is mind-controlling the population to do his bidding via TV and computer screens, which was pretty much the plotline of every Saturday morning superhero cartoon I ever watched growing up. At least update it to smartphones and iPads! And man, am I tired of hearing the James Bond theme song every time a character in a movie has to go on a quest to “fight evil.” Do kids today even recognize the Bond theme? Probably not, which means they could easily replace it with say, a Drake song, and it would have as much meaning. But I’m just being a grump. Hey, it’s a kid’s movie. It’s colorful. It looks kind of funny. It won’t be too scary. Parents can take their kids to it, without any fear of them inadvertently hearing a dirty joke or seeing a boob. HIT.
Susan: The adults have been waiting for this for fourteen years. The parents have been waiting for something good to take the kids to since Show Dogs. Everyone wins here. HIT.
Thomas S: Honestly, this movie is just a decade too late for me; sorry, Incredibles, but I’ve moved on. Still, it’s a family film and it has superheroes, so I’m thinking it’s going to be a HIT.
Jordon: This movie does not have Rihanna in it. I find that insulting. It does have Holly Hunter, and you know who does a great Holly Hunter impression? Sarah Paulson. And you know what Sarah Paulson is in? Ocean’s goddamned 8. A family-friendly HIT.
Tag (June 15)
Somehow based on a true story, Tag features a group of five former classmates (Ed Helms, Jeremy Renner, Jon Hamm, Jake Johnson, Hannibal Buress) who have been playing the same game of tag since the first grade. On the occasion of the wedding of their only undefeated player, the other four pull out all the stops to make sure he’s finally “it”.
Jonathan: That’s actually an interesting if kind of childish premise, but the trailer is so-so and I honestly don’t see it being super-funny or people showing up in droves to see it. BOMB.
Tyler: How is this even a movie? There’s barely enough plot here for an episode of Caillou. BOMB.
Julie: So, the trailer for this movie kind of reminded me of The Hangover, except instead of doing ecstasy, and getting chased by tigers, the Chinese mafia, and Mike Tyson, and having lots of raunchy sex, and getting their teeth punched out, the old male friends just kind of run around pinching each other’s asses for two hours. But I mean, I guess it could be kind of funny. Plus, apart from a few big salaries, I can’t imagine this movie cost all that much to make, which should set a low bar, profit-wise. And let’s face it, the guys need something to see while the women are watching Ocean’s 8 and the kids are seeing Incredibles 2. And did I mention that I find Jake Johnson, Jeremy Renner, and Jon Hamm incredibly attractive? Not that it influences my vote or anything. HIT.
Susan: This has a funny cast but considering what it’s up against this month, it’s going to BOMB. We’ll probably catch the edited for TV version on Comedy Central and like it just the same there.
Thomas S: …Seriously? BOMB.
Jordon: This looks like a funny cast. Best of all, it has Rashida Jones and Ed Helms, who were both on The Office with Mindy Kaling, who’s in Ocean’s frakking 8! A reasonable date night movie that might get lost in the shuffle. With a low enough production budget, I’ll call it a minor HIT.
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (June 22)
Three years after the destruction of the Jurassic World theme park, a rescue organization sends Owen (Chris Pratt) and Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) back to Isla Nublar to save the dinosaurs from a volcanic eruption and bring them to an American sanctuary. Alas, the organization is really a front for selling the dangerous creatures to the highest bidder, because what could possibly go wrong there?
Jonathan: While this franchise should have gone extinct a long time ago (and I’m sure I’ll be the one and only person on the internet to make that play on words), it seems to have an audience. Marketing is in full swing for this one and the studio seems determined to continue this series, so it’ll probably be at least a moderate success. I’ll say HIT, albeit likely one of middling quality.
Tyler: Jurassic Park is a franchise built upon people refusing to ever learn a thing. Star Lord and the Lady in the Water decide to save the dinosaurs from the exploding island because the previous movies’ lessons about not playing God and letting nature take its course weren’t, y’know, intended literally. They are of course double-crossed because they somehow forgot that corporations in these movies are never up to any good. Said corporation wants to weaponize dinosaurs, because that worked out so well before, and to that end they breed an even scarier dinosaur than the one that singlehandedly made everything go to shit in the last movie. How many contrived reiterations of the same conflicts will audiences put up with before conceding that this series doesn’t have much else up its sleeve? At least one more, I’m guessing. HIT.
Susan: It’s a shallow summer thriller that will make a boatload of money. It’ll be a HIT but the story won’t be very good—as if that’s ever stopped Hollywood.
Thomas S: God, I am so tired of this franchise. But not everyone else is, so I’m guessing it’s going to be a HIT.
Jordon: This movie cost almost as much as it would take to actually clone a dinosaur. It’s a sequel, which usually means it’ll make less than the original. There’s also some degree of blockbuster fatigue. But then I found out that the second assistant director was Ryan Robert Howard and that may not sound impressive, but Ryan Robert Howard was also the second assistant director on a little movie called Ocean’s Smurfing 8! This will underperform, but its domestic box office will exceed its production budget. It’s the worldwide box office where it’ll make its money because dinosaurs don’t need subtitles. It won’t be Ocean’s 8, but it’ll be a HIT.
And here’s how we did on last month’s predictions:
Budget: $110M | Earnings to date: $219M | Projected total earnings: $300-330M
Prediction: 100% said HIT (6 of 6)
Reality: MEGA HIT
Solo: A Star Wars Story
Budget: $250M (unconfirmed) | Earnings to date: $103M | Projected total earnings: $250-275M
Prediction: 83% said HIT (5 of 6)
Reality: A bit early to call, but looking like a minor BOMB
Life of the Party
Budget: $30 | Earnings to date: $41M | Projected total earnings: $50-55M
Prediction: 50% said HIT (3 of 6)
Budget: $12M | Earnings to date: $43M | Projected total earnings: $50M
Prediction: 0% said HIT (0 of 6)
Final Score: 1 Right, 2 Wrong, 1 Even Split
How movies are judged:
- The Agony Booth judges a movie to be a HIT if we project that it will significantly exceed its production budget in domestic (U.S and Canada) box office earnings. Our rule of thumb is +20%, but this may slide up or down based on the marketing budget.
- The Agony Booth only considers domestic box office total, because the share of international ticket sales that ends up with the studio varies not just from studio to studio, but often from movie to movie (although this is less true than it used to be).