It still feels weird to not even be at Memorial Day and yet we’ve already had five films gross over $300 million, with Civil War likely to top $400 million at the very least before all is said and done. The wisdom used to be that you simply couldn’t make that kind of money outside of summer proper. But first November/December fell, then early May, then April, and now there’s pretty much no time of the year when a $100 million opening is out of the question. While I do miss the concentrated rush of stuff of summers past, it is nice to have some variety spread out over the year. And the studios must like knowing the summer isn’t the be-all end-all of the money-making year for them. Still, it’s not like they’re ignoring summer, and we’re in the midst of the ramp up right now.
But please, do the world a favor and don’t make The Angry Birds Movie a hit. I beg you. It’s bad enough we had a movie based on Battleship. The last thing we need is a for a movie based on a mobile app to do well. Because then it’s just a small leap over to Instagram: The Movie, and then we’re talking Excel: The Motion Picture. For the love of god, someone’s actually making Tetris into a movie. The avalanche is starting. Think of the children!
However, do NOT think of the children if you’re planning on seeing Neighbors 2 (and no, I am not adding Sorority Rising in there because no, enough of things rising in movie subtitles), because this one is definitely not for the kiddies. The original Neighbors was a surprise hit two years ago, and these days, “surprise hit” means “sequel whether we wanted one or not.” Fortunately — and maybe even more surprisingly — early word on Neighbors 2 has been astonishingly good. Like “best comedy of the year” good. But I’m still not giving it a pass on the whole “rising” thing.
The Nice Guys probably deserves to win the weekend. Shane Black’s last film was the blockbuster Iron Man 3, and he’s scripted some of the most memorable action movies of all time. But his directorial debut, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, only grossed $4 million back in 2005, and while his scripts were key to the success of the first two Lethal Weapon movies, his wasn’t the name most people took away from those films. Throw in a couple of leads in Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe who aren’t exactly known for pushing films to big openings and we’ve got a recipe for a critically beloved movie that audiences just don’t make the time for. Which is pretty much what happened with Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, now that I think about it. Still, if Black is reading this, he’s probably doing so still rolling around on piles of money from Iron Man 3 and not sweating it in the slightest. Nor should he.
Unless he throws a “rising” in the title of his new Predator movie. Then all bets are off.