Transformers: Dark Of The Moon
There aren't too many people who'd call Michael Bay's giant-robot demolition derbies great cinema - hell, even Bay himself came out against Revenge Of The Fallen earlier this year - but that won't stop Transformers: Dark Of The Moon from stomping the competition flat. Plus, this one's in 3-D, so the action will be even more disorienting!
Tom Hanks co-wrote, directed and stars in this small-scale dramedy about a laid-off Wal-Mart employee who enrols in community college to better himself - and winds up attracted to newbie teacher Julia Roberts. You know how people are always complaining that they don't make movies for grown-ups any more? Here's one.
Andrew W. Walker, Jessica Paré and director Wyeth Clarkson hope you'll be feeling patriotic enough come Canada Day weekend to check out their new northern western, The Mountie ... but if you'd rather catch an import, Janus Metz Pedersen's Armadillo offers a different angle on the war in Afghanistan through the eyes of Danish soldiers on a terrifying six-month tour of duty.
The Transformers movie is pitched to people under 30; Larry Crowne is aimed squarely at moviegoers 40 and over. Optimus Prime will own the weekend, but Tom Hanks will be happy to place second.
Zookeeper casts Kevin James as, well, a zookeeper who's startled to learn that his beloved animals not only can speak (with the voices of Adam Sandler, Cher, Nick Nolte and Sylvester Stallone) but also want to help him win back his ex (Leslie Bibb). Picture a live-action version of Madagascar, but with James falling down a lot.
Horrible Bosses finds vulnerable employees Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis and Charlie Day plotting revenge upon Jennifer Aniston, Colin Farrell and Kevin Spacey in what looks like a gender-neutral spin on 9 To 5.
Conan O'Brien Can't Stop and Cave Of Forgotten Dreams
As documentaries go, Conan O'Brien Can't Stop and Cave Of Forgotten Dreams couldn't be more different - the former's a high-energy celebration of the deposed talk show host's 2010 concert tour, and the other's a contemplative archaeological expedition by Werner Herzog, shot in 3-D. But their distributors are positioning them both as alternatives to the chaos of summer movies.
Check the stats: movies where Kevin James falls down (Hitch, Paul Blart, Mall Cop, Grown Ups) make a lot of money. Movies where James stays upright (The Dilemma) do not. So it looks like Zookeeper will make a lot of money.
Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 2
Eight films and 10 years after Chris Columbus launched the screen adventures of J.K. Rowling's boy wizard, Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 2 wraps it all up, and millions will line up to see it how it all ends - even though they read the book four years ago.
No one would dare program another blockbuster wannabe against Harry Frickin' Potter.
A Better Life
Chris Weitz's illegal-immigrant drama is being positioned as an adult alternative to Pottermania... but the Harry Potter movies have been pretty mature for a while now.
The Boy Who Lived will be The Boy Who Kicks Box-Office Ass this week.
Captain America: The First Avenger
The success of Thor earlier this month bodes well for the next cinematic expansion of the Marvel Universe, which casts Chris Evans as the Second World War superhero and sends him off to battle his Nazi arch-enemy, the Red Skull (Hugo Weaving).
Friends With Benefits
Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis pack some serious credibility after their respective turns in The Social Network and Black Swan. In this rom-com, they play two people trying to keep their relationship strictly sexual. (Hey, if Ashton Kutcher and Natalie Portman can do it, why not?)
James Marsh's documentary got big buzz at Hot Docs, and the stranger-than-fiction tale of Nim, the chimpanzee raised in a New York brownstone by well-meaning but ultimately incompetent academics, should garner great reviews.
What, are you kidding? With the power of a massive ad campaign behind it, Captain America will ride roughshod over everything in its path.
Cowboys & Aliens
Harrison Ford, Daniel Craig, Olivia Wilde and Iron Man director Jon Favreau seem set to conquer the box office with the fanboy-targeted Cowboys & Aliens, which is being pitched as Independence Day in the Old West...
Crazy Stupid Love
... but just as audiences start looking for a break from explosions, Crazy Stupid Love offers a potential rom-com dream team in Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone (see Stars of summer sidebar, page 73), Marisa Tomei and Julianne Moore.
A draw. Harrison Ford doesn't pull in the action crowds these days unless he's playing Indiana Jones, but Cowboys & Aliens could be the package he needs to get back on top. On the other hand, audiences are already going nuts for the Crazy Stupid Love trailer.