Summer Predictions

Let's see if we can beat "Premiere" to the punch...  Here are my 
(quick) predictions for the top movies of the summer.  I've heard 
the buzz on some, seen the trailers for others, and just plain 
guessed on the rest.  The crop is certainly better-looking than 
last year at this time, though I've hedged my bets about box-
office.  (My estimates are probably lower than they should be.)  
The dates for May and June should be good, though watch for 
changes to the line-up in July and August.  You never can tell 
with these things.

As expected, the usual suspects are all present and accounted for.  
Summer '96 means, again, more sex (STRIPTEASE), slapstick (SPY 
HARD), Schwarzenegger (ERASER), and Stallone (DAYLIGHT).  There's 
friendly animals (FLIPPER), fat guys (THE NUTTY PROFESSOR), and 
fire-breathing dragons (DRAGONHEART); science (MULTIPLICITY), 
stalkers (THE FAN), and show downs (LAST MAN STANDING).  Some 
comedy (THE CABLE GUY, TIN CUP), some drama (A TIME TO KILL, 
RANSOM), and, of course, action! action! action! (TWISTER, 

Let the madness begin...


The plot:  aliens attack Earth and destroy major cities.
The buzz:  big, slammo sci-fi that STARGATE director Roland    
           Emmerich is working feverishly to finish.  The 
           trailer looks great, but will it be a rush job?  
           Large ensemble stars Bill Pullman as the President.
The date:  July 3  
The prediction:  $225M

#2 - TWISTER (Warner Brothers)

The plot:  tornado chasers (Helen Hunt, Bill Paxton) chasing 
The buzz:  FX may be less-than-perfect; the presence of SPEED 
           director Jan DuBont means that any thrill is possible.
           The trailer is spectacular.  Warner just moved it up a 
           week.  Do they know something that we don't? 
The date:  May 10
The prediction:  $150M

#3 - MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE (Paramount)

The plot:  another TV show.
The buzz:  UNTOUCHABLES director Brian DePalma put this one in 
           the can months ago.  The trailer looks great, though 
           some are still giggling at Tom Cruise's action hero.
           And is that Jon Voight as Mr. Phelps?
The date:  May 22
The prediction: $140M


The plot:  Victor Hugo a go-go.
The buzz:  the ending is unhappy, a la POCAHONTAS.  The trailer   
           shows an animated Demi Moore.  Huh?  Makes you wonder 
           what Andrew Lloyd Weber would do with this material...  
           HUNCHBACK!  The musical!
The date:  June 21
The prediction:  $120M

#5 - A TIME TO KILL (Warner Brothers)

The plot:  adaptation of John Grisham's first novel.
The buzz:  the director is Joel Schumacher (hand-picked by 
           the author); the cast includes Samuel L. Jackson, 
           Kevin Spacey, Sandra Bullock, and Brenda Fricker.
           But how will near-unknown Matthew McConaughey fare?
The date:  July 
The prediction:  $110M

#6 - DRAGONHEART (Universal)

The plot:  dragonslayer (Dennis Quaid) teams up with dragon.
The buzz:  been in production for, what, two years?  Sean Connery 
           is the voice of the computer-generated creature.  The 
           trailer looks better than it should, with fantastic
           fire-breathing effects.
The date:  May 30
The prediction:  $100M

#7 - ERASER (Warner Brothers)

The plot:  U.S. Marshall (Arnold Schwarzenegger) battles bad guys. 
The buzz:  long shoot for director Chuck Russell, whose last film 
           was the considerably smaller-budgeted THE MASK.  The 
           trailer is all explosions, but the presence of James 
           Caan is intriguing.
The date:  June 21
The prediction:  $100M

#8 - RANSOM (Universal)

The plot:  rich man (Mel Gibson) hires hitmen to kill his kid's 
The buzz:  Mel had an appendectomy during the filming, which is 
           still underway.  Ron Howard directs, so will there be 
           an edge?  Possibly.  The script is by Richard Price.
The date:  August 2
The prediction:  $100M

#9 - FLIPPER (Universal)

The plot:  another TV show.
The buzz:  we haven't seen Paul Hogan in a while.  He co-stars 
           with Elijah Wood and an animatronic mammal.  Mid-May 
           is a good time for family fare, and the young ones
           need something that isn't scary.
The date:  May 12
The prediction:  $90M

#10 - THE NUTTY PROFESSOR (Universal)

The plot:  remake with Eddie Murphy in the Jerry Lewis role.
The buzz:  hilarious trailer.  The FX-- of a dangerously obese 
           Murphy-- are great.  Lewis is one of the producers.  
           No word on a cameo, though.  
The date:  June 28
The prediction:  $90M

#11 - CABLE GUY (Columbia)

The plot:  overeager installer (Jim Carrey) incites customer 
           (Matthew Broderick).
The buzz:  REALITY BITES auteur Ben Stiller directs this dark
           comedy.  Mr. Carrey was paid $20M to get a little 
           serious.  Will the Western World ever be safe again?
The date:  June 14
The prediction:  $80M


The plot:  high-tech weapons expert (Keanu Reeves) flees Uncle 
The buzz:  FUGITIVE director Andrew Davis is back in his element, 
           after the disastrous STEAL BIG, STEAL LITTLE.  As for
           Keanu, we last saw him in the back-to-back howlers 
           JOHNNY MNEMONIC and WALK IN THE CLOUDS.  It can only 
           get better, dude.
The date:  August
The prediction:  $80M

#13 - THE ROCK (Buena Vista)

The plot:  terrorist takeover Alcatraz.
The buzz:  Nicholas Cage and Sean Connery as good guys; Ed Harris 
           as the villain.  BAD BOYS director Michael Bay has   
           demonstrated an eye for action.  The amber-tinted 
           trailer looks good, too.
The date:  July 12
The prediction:  $80M

#14 - SPY HARD (Hollywood)

The plot:  spy-movie spoof starring Leslie Nielsen.
The buzz:  footage tested well at an exhibitor's trade show.  The 
           trailer is funny, but erratic.  Andy Griffith is the
           villain.  Opens early, which could be a boost.
The date:  May 17
The prediction:  $80M

#15 - LAST MAN STANDING (New Line)

The plot:  prohibition-era remake of YOJIMBO.
The buzz:  Walter Hill directs Bruce Willis, Christopher Walken, 
           and Bruce Dern.  End of story.
The date:  June 28
The prediction:  $60M

#16 - DAYLIGHT (Universal)

The plot:  emergency worker (Stallone) is trapped with others in 
           the Holland Tunnel.
The buzz:  Stallone got $15-20M for this one.  Filmed in Rome, 
           which may be fitting if it shines better overseas.  
           DRAGONHEART director Rob Cohen directs.  
The date:  August?
The prediction:  $60M

#17 - TIN CUP (Warner Brothers)

The plot:  Kevin Costner, Rene Russo, and Don Johnson play golf.
The buzz:  BULL DURHAM director Ron Shelton knows sports.  Don 
           Johnson can be funny when he wants to be.  Did GET 
           SHORTY turn Rene Russo into a bonafide leading lady?  
The date:  July 3
The prediction:  $60M

#18 - MULTIPLICITY (Columbia)

The plot:  busy businessman (Michael Keaton) makes a clone of 
The buzz:  five credited writers?  GROUNDHOG DAY director Harold 
           Ramis is at bat.  Andie MacDowell is the love interest.  
           The trailer is cute enough...
The date:  July 12
The prediction:  $60M

#19 - STRIPTEASE (Columbia)

The plot:  single mom (Demi Moore) strips to make ends meet.
The buzz:  Demi *does* dance.  Burt Reynolds costars.  The press 
           kit says "drama," but I heard "comedy."  HONEYMOON
           IN VEGAS gambler Andrew Bergman directs.  No word if 
           the Flying Elvises (Elvii?) make an appearance.
The date:  May 25
The prediction:  $60

#20 - THE FAN (Columbia)

The plot:  obsessed baseball fan (Robert De Niro) does *anything* 
           for his idol (Wesley Snipes)
The buzz:  nobody stalks like De Niro does.  CRIMSON TIDE captain 
           Tony Scott directs.  Benicio Del Toro and Ellen Barkin 
The date:  July 26
The prediction:  $60M

As for the rest?  Some of the other entries that I'm looking 
forward to include John Landis' THE STUPIDS, John Carpenter's 
ESCAPE FROM L.A., Danny DeVito's MATLIDA, Stephen Hopkins' THE 
GHOST IN THE DARKNESS, John Sayles' LONE STAR, the long-delayed 
HEAVEN'S PRISONERS, a live-action PICNOCCHIO, the blaxploitation 
reunion ORIGINAL GANGSTAS, the comic-book hero THE PHANTOM, and, 
yes, A VERY BRADY SEQUEL.   Welcome to Summer Hell.

Copyright 1996 by Michael J. Legeros

Originally posted to triangle.movies.

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