Director: Joss Whedon
Cast: Amy Acker, Alexis Denisof, Nathan Fillion, Clark Gregg, Reed Diamond, Fran Kranz, Sean Maher, Spencer Treat Clark
Distributor: Roadside Attractions
Box Office Outlook: Joss Whedon's follow-up to "The Avengers" will be lucky to manage what that film made in its first few hours of release, and probably happy with that number. Shot over 12 days at his Los Angeles home, the film, shot in black and white and starring many of his close friends, this reworking of The Bard's classic comedy in modern day is about as far away from the excess of Marvel's multiple-film master plan as possible. And it doesn't come with anything close to that film's financial risk. Our bet is it will do quite nicely within its own expectations, using strong reviews and Whedon's appeal to gross $10 million or more.
The Way, Way Back (July 5)
Director: Jim Rash, Nat Faxon
Cast: Sam Rockwell, Steve Carell, AnnaSophia Robb, Amanda Peet, Toni Collette, Allison Janney, Maya Rudolph, Liam James
Distributor: Fox Searchlight
Box Office Outlook: Possibly the indie release with the biggest risk coming with it this summer, Fox Searchlight paid nearly $10 million for Jim Rash and Nat Faxon's directorial debut "The Way, Way Back" at Sundance, by far the most of any film at the festival. But the summer vacation family portrait should fit nicely as some midsummer counter-programming, though it's hard to say just how nicely. Our cautious bet is the film will make back the $10 million, though there's loads of potential for it to go farther.
Blue Jasmine (July 26)
Director: Woody Allen
Cast: Cate Blanchett, Alec Baldwin, Sally Hawkins, Louis CK, Bobby Cannavale, Andrew Dice Clay, Peter Sarsgaard
Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics
Box Office Outlook: Woody Allen is generally as inconsistent creatively as he is at the box office, though his last two films -- "Midnight in Paris" and "To Rome With Love" -- were definite hits, grossing $57 million and $17 million respectively. Both were released by Sony Classics, and the distributor seems to have figured out summer is best time for Allen films to find their widest audiences. Will that continue with "Blue Jasmine," which features an extremely promising cast (though don't they all?), though is perhaps less sexy from a marketing perspective (though we don't really know much about it yet. Our bet? Cautiously suggesting it will fall somewhere below Allen's last two efforts, at least grossing a solid $9 million.
Director: Ryan Coogler
Cast: Michael B. Jordan, Octavia Spencer, Melonie Diaz, Ahna O'Reilly, Kevin Durand, Chad Michael Murray
Distributor: The Weinstein Company
Box Office Outlook: Following a very similar trajectory to last year's "Beasts of the Southern Wild," The Weinstein Company's newly re-named "Fruitvale Station" is going from Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner to international premiere in Cannes to summer release in a strategy the Weinsteins surely want to end -- like it did with "Beasts" -- with some Oscar noms early next year. It's all very possible, as is a gross close to the $10 million "Beasts" managed last summer (before adding a few more million in awards season re-release). Our bet? The Ryan Coogler-directed film grosses at least $8 million, and indeed sets itself up as one of the summer's biggest award season hopefuls.
The Spectacular Now (August 2)
Director: James Ponsoldt
Cast: Miles Teller, Shailene Woodley, Brie Larson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Kyle Chandler
Box Office Outlook: A24's other youth-focused summer release is Sundance pickup "The Spectacular Now," with up-and-comers Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley (who won acting prizes at Sundance for the film) as a freewheeling high school senior and the nice-girl female introvert he attempts to "save." This film should tap into the audience that made "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" a hit last fall, and help continue the rise of its young actors. Our bet is a gross of $8 million or more.