Oscar Watch: Capone

Originally scheduled for a theatrical release prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Josh Trank’s Capone hits the VOD circuit tomorrow and reviews are out. The biopic casts Tom Hardy as notorious Chicago gangster Al Capone during the last illness ravaged years of his life. The supporting cast includes Linda Cardellini, Jack Lowden, Kyle MacLachlan, and Matt Dillon.

While it currently sports a 50% Rotten Tomatoes rating, the number does not quite tell the tale. Some critics are simply savaging it while others are far more kind. It’s probably safe to say that Capone will spur much chatter on both sides. The director became known to many moviegoers based on 2012’s well-received sci-fi tale Chronicle before his 2015 Fantastic Four reboot that was a commercial and critical flop.

Much of the review space has centered on Hardy’s work. Similar to his performance in Venom, some writers are calling it an inspired and somewhat bonkers portrayal. Others say it is just plain bonkers. A Supporting Actor nominee for 2015’s The Revenant, don’t expect a second nod here.

In fact, the level of vitriol from some makes you wonder if Capone could be a contender for some Razzie nods at the end of 2020. As for Oscar contention, the enthusiasm is steered in a different direction. My Oscar Watch posts will continue…

Ranking the Superhero Summers

We’re past the midway point of the 2017 summer box office and one thing is clear: it’s been a rather terrific season for the superhero flick genre. In fact, there’s a very good chance the summer’s top 3 earners will belong in that classification. That’s not the first time this has happened (more on that later), but it’s still pretty remarkable.

This got me thinking – what have been the greatest and worst superhero summers of this 21st century? After all, it was the summer of 2000 that got the superhero genre alive and kicking again and it’s never let up. 17 summers ago, it was the release of X-Men that helped revive a genre that had hit a low point three summers earlier with Batman & Robin. In 2002, it would be Spider-Man that would set the opening weekend record and ensure that no summer following would be missing some comic book character headlining. **2001 is the only summer of this century in which there’s no superhero pic.

This leads to my newest list: ranking the superhero summers with explanations provided below. We’re talking 17 summers, so I’m counting down from the worst to the best in my humble opinion.

17. 2009

The Movie: X-Men Origins: Wolverine

Just one flick in this particular summer. The Marvel Cinematic Universe had just kicked off the year before, so there was no follow-up ready. Instead, we got Wolverine’s first spin-off and it’s the worst of the whole bunch by a significant margin.

16. 2007

The Movies: Spider-Man 3, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer

The third Spidey entry closed the Sam Raimi/Tobey Maguire on a very weak note and the Four sequel was none too impressive either (to be expected after a middling at best predecessor).

15. 2010

The Movie: Iron Man 2

Tony Stark’s return to the screen after 2008’s juggernaut suffered from being overstuffed with two many villains, etc… One of the lesser MCU entries.

14. 2006

The Movies: X-Men: The Last Stand, Superman Returns

Two pics that failed to meet expectations – The Last Stand suffered a big quality drop-off after the second X and Superman Returns (the first Supes flick in nearly 20 years) couldn’t live up to the hype.

13. 2015

The Movies: Avengers: Age of Ultron, Ant-Man, Fantastic Four

Disappointing as it featured two of the weaker MCU entries and a seriously misguided Fantastic Four reboot.

12. 2013

The Movies: Iron Man 3, Man of Steel, The Wolverine

IM3 was an improvement over part 2, The Wolverine was an improvement over Origins. Man of Steel? A letdown in many respects, just like Superman Returns.

11. 2004

The Movies: Spider-Man 2, Catwoman

Would probably rank higher because Spidey 2 is arguably the best of the bunch, but loses points due to the catastrophe that is Halle Berry as Catwoman.

10. 2016

The Movies: Captain America: Civil War, Suicide Squad, X-Men: Apocalypse 

A mixed bag. Civil War is one of the finer MCU pics, Squad is that mixed bag, and Apocalypse was a major disappointment.

9. 2003

The Movies: X2: X-Men United, Hulk

X2 is perhaps the strongest X entry, but Ang Lee’s Hulk (while having its moments) was often a pretentious bore.

8. 2000

The Movie: X-Men

Only X-Men in this summer, but it deserves props for kicking off the genre in a major way once again.

7. 2002

The Movie: Spider-Man

Even more than X-Men, Sam Raimi’s first Spidey ensured a heaping of genre entries for years to come.

6. 2014

The Movies: Guardians of the Galaxy, X-Men: Days of Future Past, The Amazing Spider-Man 2

Guardians was pure joy, Past was a solid X pic. Loses points for the mess of a Spidey sequel.

5. 2005

The Movies: Batman Begins, Fantastic Four

OK, so Fantastic Four was not so good. Yet this is in my top 5 because Batman Begins not only kicked off the heralded Nolan trilogy, but it’s my personal fave superhero pic of the century.

4. 2011

The Movies: Thor, Captain America: First Avenger, X-Men: First Class

Though not of these flicks are great, they’re all solid in my view. Thor and Captain helped usher in the MCU era as we know it and First Class rebooted its franchise in a pleasing way.

3. 2012

The Movies: The Avengers, The Dark Knight Rises, The Amazing Spider-Man

Avengers is the granddaddy of MCU, Rises ended up the trilogy in a mostly satisfactory manner while Spidey was a slight letdown (though miles better than its sequel). As referenced earlier, these 3 pictures would mark the highest 3 earners of that season.

2. 2017

The Movies: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Wonder Woman, Spider-Man: Homecoming

Three highly entertaining and well-done entries that marked the first super-heroine success.

1. 2008

The Movies: The Dark Knight, Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Hellboy II: The Golden Army

The Dark Knight is considered by many to be the genre’s artistic peak and Iron Man was a fine start to a franchise that just keeps charging along. Incredible was a more satisfying (though still flawed) Hulk pic than five years earlier and Guillermo del Toro brought his visual splendor and humor once again to the Hellboy series. A rather easy pick for #1.

Or is it? What are your thoughts on the superhero summers?

Box Office Predictions: August 21-23

As we enter the doldrums of late August at the box office, we have three new entries populating the multiplexes: horror sequel Sinister 2, Jesse Eisenberg/Kristen Stewart action comedy American Ultra, and video game inspired Hitman: Agent 47. You can read my detailed prediction posts on each here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2015/08/13/sinister-2-box-office-prediction/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2015/08/13/american-ultra-box-office-prediction/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2015/08/13/hitman-agent-47-box-office-prediction/

I don’t expect any of them to outdo the second weekend of current champ Straight Outta Compton, which made a boatload of cash this weekend (more on that below). Sinister 2 seems to be the only one with a shot, as horror films do often over perform. I expect both Ultra and Hitman to premiere under double digits.

Compton should actually drop precipitously in its sophomore frame considering many moviegoers likely wanted to rush out and see it. For comparison sake, Eminem’s 8 Mile dipped 62% in its second weekend and Compton could drop close to that (which is nothing against it considering it made way more out of the gate than anybody figured it would).

As for other holdovers, I look for Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation to eek out a third place showing over Ultra and The Man from U.N.C.L.E. taking the five spot in weekend #2 after its disappointing opening.

And with that, my predictions for the weekend’s top six:

  1. Straight Outta Compton

Predicted Gross: $24.6 million (representing a drop of 59%)

2. Sinister 2

Predicted Gross: $16.2 million

3. Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation

Predicted Gross: $10.4 million (representing a drop of 41%)

4. American Ultra

Predicted Gross: $9.8 million

5. The Man from U.N.C.L.E.

Predicted Gross: $7.1 million (representing a drop of 47%)

6. Hitman: Agent 47

Predicted Gross: $6 million

Box Office Results (August 14-16)

As mentioned, the NWA biopic Straight Outta Compton capitalized on its great reviews, music, and word of mouth and had a massive opening that exceeded all expectations. The film grossed an astonishing $60.2 million, blasting past my $39.3M estimate. With a reported budget of just $29 million, Compton represents another blockbuster for Universal Pictures in 2015.

Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation dropped to second in weekend #3 with $17.1 million, a bit above my $14.9M projection. The hit fifth entry in Tom Cruise’s franchise stands at $138M so far.

The news was not good for The Man from U.N.C.L.E., which stalled with just a $13.4 million opening, under my $18.6M prediction. Audience attention was clearly elsewhere over the weekend and this planned franchise will likely end here.

Speaking of possibly dead franchises, the news kept getting worse for last weekend’s bomb Fantastic Four. It dropped a dramatic 68% in weekend #2 with just $8.1 million, under my predicted $11.1M. The Fox property has taken in an embarrassing $42M in ten days.

Finally, the Jason Bateman/Joel Edgerton suspense pic The Gift took in $6.5 million in its second weekend, right in line with my $6.3M estimate. The critically applauded film has made a respectable $23M.

And that’s all for now, folks! Until next time…

Box Office Predictions: August 14-16

Two high profile releases open up this weekend as the N.W.A. biopic Straight Outta Compton and Guy Ritchie spy thriller The Man from U.N.C.L.E. debut. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on each right here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2015/08/06/straight-outta-compton-box-office-prediction/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2015/08/06/the-man-from-u-n-c-l-e-box-office-prediction/

As I see it, these two newbies should take the top two spots on the charts. I look for Compton to dominate with U.N.C.L.E. having a rather lackluster premiere in the runner-up position.

When it comes to holdovers, Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation should drop to third after two weekends in the #1 spot. I look for Fantastic Four to fall hard after its disastrous opening this past weekend (more on that below). The Gift should round out the top five in its sophomore frame.

And with that, my top five predictions for the weekend:

  1. Straight Outta Compton

Predicted Gross: $39.3 million

2. The Man from U.N.C.L.E.

Predicted Gross: $18.6 million

3. Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation

Predicted Gross: $14.9 million (representing a drop of 47%)

4. Fantastic Four

Predicted Gross: $11.1 million (representing a drop of 56%)

5. The Gift

Predicted Gross: $6.3 million (representing a drop of 46%)

Box Office Results (August 7-9)

Let’s get what I got right out of the way. Though I didn’t have it at #1, Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation managed to stay on top with $28.5 million, on pace with my $28.1M prediction. In ten days, the Tom Cruise sequel has taken in $107 million.

Now… to the Fantastic Four. Wow. 20th Century Fox’s reboot hoped to start a new franchise but the critically drubbed comic book pic landed with a thud at $25.6 million, way below my $47.7M estimate. This is a truly horrible opening for its genre and its dismal C- Cinemascore average marks the worst ever for a superhero flick. Most of its publicity was negative, including creative differences with the studio and director Josh Trank. That coupled with possible superhero pic fatigue doomed this project and it’s hard to envision a Fantastic Four 2 coming out ever… or at least anytime in the near future until the studio assesses what went so very wrong.

Thriller The Gift debuted third with a reasonable $11.8 million. I incorrectly had it performing better with $16.8M, but this is still a sturdy opening for a low-budget flick with no big box office draws. Solid reviews likely helped.

Holdovers populated the four and five spots and I incorrectly had them both outside the top five. Vacation was fourth in weekend two with $8.9 million for a $37M total so far and Marvel’s Ant-Man was fifth with $7.9 million for a $147M haul.

Two other newcomers fell considerably below my projections. Meryl Streep’s Ricki and the Flash sputtered with just $6.6 million for a seventh place start (I predicted $11.4M). The stop motion animated pic Shaun the Sheep Movie fared worse with only $4 million for an 11th place showing (I said $8.2M).

And that’ll for now, folks! Until next time…

Box Office Predictions: August 7-9

August brings in four new titles for moviegoers to consider this weekend: the big budget reboot of Fantastic Four, psychological thriller The Gift, Meryl Streep’s comedic drama Ricki and the Flash, and British stop motion animated pic Shaun the Sheep Movie. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on each of them here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2015/07/30/fantastic-four-box-office-prediction/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2015/07/31/the-gift-box-office-prediction/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2015/07/31/ricki-and-the-flash-box-office-prediction/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2015/08/01/shaun-the-sheep-movie-box-office-prediction/

I actually expect all four newbies to find themselves in the top five. Fantastic Four should have no trouble opening at #1, though I must say the anticipation for this seems less than your typical comic book movie.

After its strong debut, Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation should drop to second, losing about half its audience. My predictions have The Gift having a robust opening at third with Ricki and the Flash and Shaun the Sheep Movie rounding out the top five. Due to its less than anticipated roll out over the weekend, Vacation should fall out of the top five in only its second frame.

And with that, my top five predictions for the weekend:

1. Fantastic Four

Predicted Gross: $47.7 million

2. Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation

Predicted Gross: $28.1 million (representing a drop of 49%)

3. The Gift

Predicted Gross: $16.8 million

4. Ricki and the Flash

Predicted Gross: $11.4 million

5. Shaun the Sheep Movie

Predicted Gross: $8.2 million

Box Office Results (July 31-August 2)

Tom Cruise’s fifth appearance as super agent Ethan Hunt in Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation posted positive results as the critically acclaimed sequel earned $55.5 million, a bit above my $52.3M. This finds the franchise in very good shape and a sixth flick has already been confirmed.

Meanwhile, the critically drubbed Vacation reboot got off to a shaky start with $14.6 million from Friday to Sunday and $21 million since its Wednesday premiere. This is below my respective estimates of $17.1M and $24.7M. With a middling B score from Cinemascore, I don’t see this holding up well as moviegoers mostly rejected a return to Wally World.

As for holdovers, Ant-Man dropped to third after two weeks on top with $12.8 million compared to my $11.4M projection. The Marvel pic has amassed $132 million so far. Minions took fourth with $12.3 million, in line with my $11.8M prediction and its total stands at $287 million. The Adam Sandler dud Pixels was fifth with $10.5 million in weekend two, right on target with my $10.3M estimate. Its weak cume is $45 million. Trainwreck was sixth with $9.6 million (I said $10.2M) and it’s made $79 million in three weeks. Southpaw dipped a bit further in its sophomore weekend than I foresaw with $7.6 million compared to my $9.5M projection for a $31 million total so far.

And that’ll do it for now! Until next time…

Fantastic Four Box Office Prediction

Chronicle director Josh Trank spearheads 20th Century Fox’s reboot of the Fantastic Four franchise, some eight years after the last entry in the series. The big question is: how much of a clamoring is there for these heroes return to the silver screen?

Miles Teller, Michael B. Jordan, Kate Mara and Jamie Bell headline the cast in this reported $122 million tentpole that marks the third and final superhero flick of the summer, after Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron and Ant-Man. Fantastic Four has no hope of reaching Ultron numbers and may be lucky to even be in Ant-Man’s territory.

2005’s original Fantastic Four debuted to $56 million on its way to a $154 million domestic gross while its 2007 sequel Rise of the Silver Surfer opened slightly higher with $58 million. The follow-up did end up earning less overall with $134 million. Both premieres are right in line with Ant-Man’s $57 million first take some three weeks ago.

While any major league comic book film should have no problem making over $40 million out of the gate, this one’s ceiling may not be significantly higher. I’m not convinced audiences are overly eager for this series to come back and early word of mouth has been mixed, at best. I don’t see this making what Ant-Man or the first two Four pics made and a debut in the high 40s seems likely.

Fantastic Four opening weekend prediction: $47.7 million

For my prediction on The Gift, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2015/07/31/the-gift-box-office-prediction/

For my Ricki and the Flash prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2015/07/31/ricki-and-the-flash-box-office-prediction/

For my Shaun the Sheep Movie prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2015/08/01/shaun-the-sheep-movie-box-office-prediction/

Summer 2005: The Top Ten Hits and More

Last week on the blog, we took a trip down nostalgia lane recounting the top ten summer movies from 20 years ago and other notable pictures and flops from that season. This evening, we go back a decade and have a look at what had moviegoers buzzing way back in 2005.

That summer’s top hit was the one we expected it to be as it marked the end of one trilogy that was considered disappointing. Yet it’s a performer in the middle of the pack that started one of the most beloved recent trilogies in recent film history.

Let’s go back in time, my friends:

10. The 40-Year-Old Virgin

Domestic Gross: $109 million

As Judd Apatow prepares to release his fifth feature with Trainwreck on Friday, this is where it started with him as this critically acclaimed comedy rocketed Steve Carell into movie stardom.

9. Fantastic Four

Domestic Gross: $154 million

Critics may not have dug it (27% on Rotten Tomatoes) but the adaptation of the famed Marvel Comic with Jessica Alba and Michael Chiklis scored with audiences enough to warrant a 2007 sequel. A new franchise reboot hits theaters this August.

8. The Longest Yard

Domestic Gross: $158 million

Adam Sandler took over the Burt Reynolds role in this remake of the 1974 prison football comedy with Chris Rock and Reynolds himself costarring.

7. Mr. & Mrs. Smith

Domestic Gross: $186 million

The action comedy from director Doug Liman earned plenty of headlines due to the real life romance between stars Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie and hefty box office came along with it. The couple will reunite onscreen again in this fall’s By the Sea. 

6. Madagascar

Domestic Gross: $193 million

With no Pixar film on the docket, Dreamworks Madagascar was the top animated feature of the summer and has since spawned two sequels and a spin-off.

5. Batman Begins

Domestic Gross: $205 million

It’s hard to remember now, but Chris Nolan’s reboot of the Dark Knight’s world did quite well, but wasn’t a mega ton blockbuster like its 2008 and 2012 sequels would be. Still, it immediately wiped the bad taste out of the mouth of audiences left by Joel Schumacher’s Batman and Robin from eight summers ago. Of course, this began the trilogy that has become the gold standard in superhero flicks.

4. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Domestic Gross: $206 million

Tim Burton’s retelling of Roald Dahl’s classic book starred Johnny Depp as Willy Wonka. It may not have the beloved status as 1971’s offering with Gene Wilder, but it made the studio very happy with its massive earnings.

3. Wedding Crashers

Domestic Gross: $209 million

The sleeper hit of the season paired Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson and helped invigorate (along with #10 Virgin) the R-rated comedy. The two would appear again in the considerably less successful The Internship eight years later.

2. War of the Worlds

Domestic Gross: $234 million

Steven Spielberg directed Tom Cruise in this version of H.G. Wells renowned sci-fi novel and crowds turned out in droves so much that it’s Mr. Cruise’s highest grossing domestic earner of all time.

1. Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

Domestic Gross: $380 million

Sith easily took the crown for the summer’s champion and it concluded George Lucas’s second trilogy that received mixed reactions from critics and audiences… and that’s putting it kindly. This third episode is widely considered an improvement over Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones. Of course, we’ll see what JJ Abrams manages to do this December when Episode 7 is released… in case you hadn’t heard.

And now, some other notable pictures outside the top ten:

13. March of the Penguins

Domestic Gross: $77 million

This little French documentary that could astonished box office watchers with its magnificent stateside gross. Bottom line: people dig penguins.

18. Cinderella Man

Domestic Gross: $61 million

Critics mostly lauded Ron Howard’s Depression era boxing tale with Russell Crowe and Renee Zellwegger, but it under performed at the box office at the time of its release (not quite enough to put it in the total flop column though).

20. Crash

Domestic Gross: $54 million

Paul Haggis’s L.A. set racial drama came out of nowhere to score solid business. It went on to win Best Picture, which was a surprise over front runner Brokeback Mountain, which came out in the fall.

And now for the flops…

Nicole Kidman and Will Ferrell headlined Nora Ephron’s Bewitched, based on the 1960s TV comedy. Audiences and critics reacted with ambivalence and the $85 million budgeted pic managed just $63 million domestically.

Ridley Scott’s Kingdom of Heaven with Orlando Bloom captured none of the director’s Gladiator magic and it earned $47 million against its reported $130 million budget.

Michael Bay had found huge success with the Bad Boys movies, The Rock, and Armageddon, but his science fiction tale The Island with Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johannson sputtered with a mere $35 million (rumored budget: $126M).

And, finally, Jamie Foxx was coming off Oscar glory in Ray but his action thriller Stealth was grounded with a $32 million gross against its $76M budget.

And that’ll do it, ladies and gentlemen, for our look back at the summer offerings of 2005. I hope you enjoyed and rest assured you’ll see posts next summer tapping our nostalgia for 1996 and 2006!

Summer 2015 Movies: The Predicted Century Club

The 2015 Summer Movie Season officially kicks off two weeks from today when Avengers: Age of Ultron blasts into theaters. It will compete for the largest domestic opening of all time (where it needs to beat its predecessor) and is highly likely to be the season’s highest earner. That got me to thinking – while Ultron is poised to gross $500 million or higher, it’s been the $100 million mark that studios still like to brag about. This prompted me to look at the past five summer flick seasons and how many pictures reached that milestone.

In 2010, it was 13 movies that reached the mark: Toy Story 3, Iron Man 2, Twilight Saga: Eclipse, Inception, Despicable Me, Shrek Forever After, The Karate Kid, Grown Ups, The Last Airbender, The Other Guys, Salt, Robin Hood, and The Expendables.

Things improved in 2011 with 18 films reaching the century club: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, The Hangover Part II, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Cars 2, Thor, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Captain America: First Avenger, The Help, Bridesmaids, Kung Fu Panda 2, X-Men: First Class, The Smurfs, Super 8, Horrible Bosses, Green Lantern, Bad Teacher, and Cowboys and Aliens.

The low mark was the following year in 2012 with just 12: The Avengers, The Dark Knight Rises, The Amazing Spider-Man, Brave, Ted, Madagascar 3, Men in Black 3, Ice Age: Continental Drift, Snow White and the Huntsman, Prometheus, Magic Mike, and The Bourne Legacy.

Yet the high mark came the following summer in 2013 with 19: Iron Man 3, Despicable Me 2, Man of Steel, Monsters University, Fast and Furious 6, Star Trek Into Darkness, World War Z, The Heat, We’re the Millers, The Great Gatsby, The Conjuring, Grown Ups 2, The Wolverine, Now You See Me, Lee Daniels’ The Butler, The Hangover Part III, Epic, Pacific Rim, and This is the End.

2014 dipped with 14: Guardians of the Galaxy, Transformers: Age of Extinction, Maleficent, X-Men: Days of Future Past, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Godzilla, 22 Jump Street, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, How to Train Your Dragon 2, Neighbors, Lucy, The Fault in Our Stars, and Edge of Tomorrow. 

That averages out to 15 pictures earning $100M plus per summer over this decade.

So where do I have 2015 matching up? Not breaking records, but in good shape. My predictions for the year’s $100M earners is 16 and they are as follows (in order of release date): Avengers: Age of Ultron, Mad Max: Fury Road, Pitch Perfect 2, Tomorrowland, San Andreas, Spy, Jurassic World, Inside Out, Ted 2, Magic Mike XXL, Terminator: Genisys, Minions, Ant-Man, Trainwreck, Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, and Fantastic Four. 

Of course, there’s always sleepers. And there’s others that I could have predicted but think will fall short: the Reese Witherspoon/Sofia Vergara comedy Hot Pursuit, horror remake Poltergeist, the film version of Entourage, the Adam Sandler video game inspired action comedy Pixels, the Vacation reboot, and the NWA biopic Straight Outta Compton are among them.

As predicted, summer 2015 should see its number of century club inductees on the slightly high end without reaching the heights of 2013. And as always, you’ll see box office predictions every Saturday from me on each and every one of ’em!

Todd’s 15 Most Anticipated 2015 Summer Movies: Nos. 15-11

In less than one month, the Summer 2015 Movie Season will be upon us! That means studios will be bringing out their big wannabe blockbusters with sequels, reboots, animated tales, comic book heroes, and a surprisingly robust group of potentially intriguing comedies.

Therefore, I am bringing you my personal 15 most anticipated summer movies for the year. Let me talk briefly about some pictures that didn’t quite make the cut. I left off animated fare such as Pixar’s Inside Out and Despicable Me spin-off Minions. Same goes for Pitch Perfect 2, Magic Mike XXL and the film version of HBO’s Entourage. And then there’s a film I figured would make the cut: Terminator: Genisys that marks Arnold Schwarzenegger’s return to his iconic role after 12 years. Why? Quite frankly, I wasn’t crazy about the trailer. Don’t get me wrong – I’m still highly curious to watch it.

I will be breaking up my list in three installments and we begin this evening with numbers 15-11. Subsequent posts covering the top ten will arrive Friday and Saturday.

Let’s get to it, shall we?

15. Spy

Release Date: June 5

Originally, I probably wouldn’t have figured Melissa McCarthy’s new comedy would make the cut. That’s until reviews from screenings at South by Southwest came out and they indicate this is the star’s best feature so far. It doesn’t hurt that Paul Feig, director of McCarthy’s Bridesmaids and The Heat is behind the camera. Jude Law, Rose Byrne, and Jason Statham co-star.

14. Masterminds

Release Date: August 14

From the director of Napoleon Dynamite comes this heist comedy with a killer cast: Zach Galifianakis, Kristin Wiig, Owen Wilson, and Jason Sudeikis. The trailer inspires hope.

13. Vacation

Release Date: July 31

Yes, they’re rebooting the Vacation franchise with Ed Helms and Leslie Mann as grown-up Rusty and Audrey and Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo back as Clark and Ellen. Christina Applegate, Chris Hemsworth, and Charlie Day round out the cast. Here’s to hoping this is more like the original and Christmas Vacation than Vegas Vacation. No trailer has been released at press time.

12. Southpaw

Release Date: July 24

Jake Gyllenhall has been on a roll lately choosing his projects, including last year’s terrific Nightcrawler. This sports drama sees him playing a boxer with serious family issues. It also sees him heavily bulked up in a pic that could get awards attention, like 2010’s The Fighter. Antoine Fuqua directs (he made Training Day and The Equalizer) and Rachel McAdams and Forest Whitaker co-star.

11. Fantastic Four

Released Date: August 7

The first two installments of the famed Marvel comic books (the ones with Jessica Alba and Michael Chiklis) were decent size hits, however critics didn’t approve. This reboot comes from Chronicle director Josh Trank with a cast that includes Miles Teller, Kate Mara, and Michael B. Jordan and it will attempt to begin the franchise anew.

And that’s all for now! Numbers 10-6 coming at you tomorrow…

Ghostbusters and Superheroes

Four was the magic number today in movie news. Four as in this morning, the first trailer for the reboot of this summer’s The Fantastic Four was unveiled. You may recall when 20th Century Fox released two movies based on the iconic comic book in 2005 and 2007 with a cast that included Jessica Alba and Michael Chiklis. They did decent business at the box office but critics and fans mostly disapproved. The reboot’s cast includes Miles Teller, Kate Mara, Michael B. Jordan and Jamie Bell. Josh Trank, who burst upon the scene with his sleeper hit Chronicle, handles directing duties. The trailer certainly indicates a more serious tone than what we saw a decade ago. The picture is out August 7.

Four is also a significant number based on news we’ve been waiting to hear for some time. Ghostbusters is finally working its way back to the big screen with a highly comedically talented group of women being the ones who got the call. Paul Feig, maker of Bridesmaids and The Heat, directs and he’s enlisted previous collaborators Kristin Wiig and Melissa McCarthy as part of the quartet. Obviously this marks a Wiig-McCarthy reunion and Feig’s fourth pic with McCarthy (their third feature Spy is out this summer). The other two Busters are current SNL cast members: Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones.

At one time it was thought that a traditional third pic in the franchise would eventually see the light of day. However it never materialized partly due to Bill Murray’s reported reluctance to return. By the time of Harold Ramis’s untimely passing year, director of the original two Ivan Reitman made it clear he had no interest in exploring a continuation. The new Ghostbusters is expected for release in summer 2016.

It will certainly be fascinating to watch how these two new rebooted foursomes resonate with moviegoers in the near future.