It happens every year. We spent months on this site covering a movie that looks good, smells good, and has the potential to be the next big classic, only to see it belly flop when its placed in front of a paying audience. Sometimes the movie is bad, as was the case with Green Lantern. Sometimes, the marketing doesn't work in favor of a small masterpiece, like Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World. And sometimes, a movie just gets buried by the bigger movies around it in a crowded marketplace. Then, on that very odd occasion, there's the rare misfortune of having Taylor Kitsch as your leading man.
Last year we watched movies like Rock of Ages, Total Recall, Dark Shadows, Battleship and John Carter whiff it at the plate. 2013 won't be any different. Except that we're entering into May with a completely Kitsch free line-up.
We already know that Iron Man 3 is going to be a giant smash, and everything is aligning for Man of Steel to possibly be the biggest slam-dunk of the summer (as it looks to avoids the fate of 2011's Green Lantern). Pixar's Monsters University has nothing to worry about, and we're feeling pretty good about The Wolverine. But there are five other movies we're not so sure about.
We're not saying these are going to be bad movies. Just from what we've seen, we don't think they'll be able to attract the summer heat. And there is no possible way at least one of them is making all of their money back. Here are the five movies we think will bomb this summer.
1World War Z (June 21)
Six years in the making and plagued with problems, this Brad Pitt zombie thriller has only stirred up a mountain of bad press. From the leading man fighting with his director, to Alex Jones declaring it New World Order propaganda, to the massive reshoots that had to be done, this extremely loose "adaptation" of Max Brooks' zombie survival manual from director Marc Forster has all the earmarks of a true summer disaster. Not too mention, zombies are a little played out here, in 2013. Sure, The Walking Dead is one of the biggest shows on cable television, but why spend money to see what you're getting at home for free? The trailers have done little to stir up excitement, and even the hardcore horror fans seem nonplused. With a $170 million price tag, this is being touted as the biggest budgeted living dead movie ever made. Maybe zombies are a low budget affair? There's no way this potential mess is going to make its money back. Right now, it's not even clear if people are going to make an effort to go on opening weekend. Perhaps it could pull a Titanic (that movie faced similar problems on its way to the box office). But as this PG-13 rated thriller about a virus is opening against Disney Pixar's cute, sunny, and most importantly, family friendly Monsters University, we don't think it stands a chance.
2The Lone Ranger (July 3)
The Lone Ranger is another movie that's had its fair share of problems on the way to the big screen. Its bloated budget saw the Western reboot stalled numerous times, despite the presence of Johnny Depp. And the story, which originally involved mystical Native American Skinwalkers (werewolves) had to be altered quite a bit. The kids don't seem too excited about it, and why should they be? The Lone Ranger has been away from any kind of screen, big or small, for a very long time. And 1981's The Legend of the Lone Ranger was a substantial bomb that no one really remembers. The trailers sell the film as a 30-minute origin story followed by a 90-minute train chase. Sorry, Disney. No one seems to be all that excited about trains. It's a movie tailor-made for Bubbles and Sheldon, and Gary Coleman. And that's your audience. Not to mention, Westerns have never fared well during the summer. While 1992's Unforgiven is the exception, let us not forget the spanking both Wild Wild West and Cowboys & Aliens took at the hands of paying customers. Not to mention, no one is really sure yet if Johnny Depp's performance is a racist caricature that will prove to be embarrassing. People love the actor, and they don't want to see him fall on his face. They might turn away because of that. Disney thought Pirates of The Caribbean: The Curse of The Black Pearl was going to be a bomb, and prepared for the worst. It was one of the biggest hits of 2003, and it spawned a never-ending franchise. The Lone Ranger might just prove to be the opposite of that.
3After Earth (June 7)
Will Smith used to be the king of 4th of July, and the crowned prince of summer. Those years are behind him, but he still knows how to make a decent living at the box office. And his son, who appears with him here, had a good run with The Karate Kid remake. But the Smith name is no stranger to disaster at the box office. Just see the above mentioned Wild Wild West, which tarnished the Fresh Prince's July reputation forever. With After Earth, the Smiths are teaming up with M. Night Shyamalan, who hasn't had a hit in over a decade. Every new movie for the director, once hailed as the next Steven Spielberg, seems to be worse than the last. And now he is going back the 'green theme' that did in his horror spoof The Happening. No one cares what M. Night has to say about the environment, and this has the potential to be just as hokey as that Mark Wahlberg horror movie that saw people running from the wind and talking to houseplants. After Earth shares themes with Oblivion, which didn't tank. But it wasn't a massive hit either. Problem here is, the first movie out of the gate always does better numbers at the box office. And no one seems all that interested in After Earth . If anything, Will Smith and M. Night Shyamalan have the potential to make something beautifully awful. But if that's the case, only hipsters will be around to hear it fall. Seven Pounds and The Last Airbender cannot make a pretty baby together. There's just no way.
4The Internship (June 7)
While Wedding Crashers was a huge hit in 2005, no one wants to pay to watch a Google commercial in 2013. This is the worst kind of product placement. Its story of two middle-aged men becoming interns is timely, but no one wants to be reminded of a down-turned economy in the middle of a heat wave. The trailer provides zero jokes, and the chemistry between Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn seems a little forced this time around. They even go for a dismal Professor X joke that hurts to watch. There's not much to say about The Internship, its that vanilla. But its undoing will be the same thing that made The Watch a dreadful experience. And that's the lack of a decent script, which instead relies on two people improving for hours upon hours in hope of a good take. As The Watch proved, sometimes the funniest people just aren't that funny.
5Epic (May 24)
Don't get us wrong. The environment is a worthy cause, and we should protect mother earth. Kids need to be taught this, but they don't want to be preached at while soaking up the air conditioning at the local Cineplex. Kiddie movies usually do big business during the summer months, because true family films are few and far between. This just doesn't look like it's going to appeal to anyone. Case in point, Rise of the Guardians had Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny in its favor, and no one wanted to see that either. It was one of the biggest bombs of last year. All this movie has is a couple of slugs. And coming from Blue Sky through 20th Century Fox, the movie doesn't carry the marquee weight of Pixar, DreamWorks, or Sony Animation. This action-adventure yarn about leaf men and insects is very likely to get lost in the dust.