Summer 2014: Breaking down the blockbusters pt. 2

By Karsten Burgstahler

And now, the continuation of the summer movie preview…


Tammy (July 2)


Melissa McCarthy reprises the role she’s played at least four times now under different names: the loud-mouthed, vulgar woman with a heart of gold buried deep within. It hasn’t failed her yet, and last Fourth of July she ruled the box office with “The Heat.” This Fourth she plays the title character in “Tammy,” a movie about a woman who quits her job and joins her grandma (Susan Sarandon) for a cross-country road trip. Whether it mirrors “Thelma and Louise” remains to be seen. But there’s a good chance this will fall in the same category as McCarthy’s other films: If you love her, you’ll love it. If you can’t stand her, you won’t be able to stand it. Seems America votes much more on the “love her” side.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (July 11)

Three years back Fox struck box office gold with the prequel to “Planet of the Apes,” giving the studio a brand new franchise driven by impressive CGI. This new film takes places years later after a virus has wiped out much of humanity and the apes have taken control. “Dawn” features a new cast, with Gary Oldman and “Zero Dark Thirty”’s Jason Clarke leading up the human resistance. The 2011 remake rode heavily on the coattails of WETA Digital’s impressive apes, and it seems like they’ve outdone themselves here: the teasers feature some incredible CGI shots.

Jupiter Ascending (July 18)

The Wachowski Siblings haven’t had much luck beyond the “Matrix” franchise. “V for Vendetta” was successful but “Speed Racer” tanked and “Cloud Atlas” was too polarizing to reach much of an audience. “Jupiter Ascending,” which follows an earthling (Mila Kunis) who discovers she’s actually the princess of a vast planet, seems to be a bit more on the “Cloud Atlas” side of sci-fi than “The Matrix,” and neither Kunis nor Channing Tatum has really proved they can open a movie on their star power alone. Warner Bros. is betting big putting this one out in the summer rather than burying it in October, ala “Cloud Atlas,” so they must be confident it’ll find an audience.

Also in July: Teenagers find an alien crashed on Earth in a found footage version of “E.T.” called “Earth to Echo,” July 2; The sequel to last summer’s sleeper hit horror movie takes the action to the streets as several couples try to survive “The Purge: Anarchy,” July 18; Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel make a “Sex Tape” that ends up on their friends’ iPads, causing a frantic search to find and delete the videos, July 25.



Guardians of the Galaxy (Aug. 1)

Marvel gets on the space bandwagon with their next Phase Two film. “Guardians” follows space outcasts such as Star Lord (Chris Pratt) and Rocket Raccon (Voiced by Bradley Cooper) as they protect the galaxy. “Guardians” doesn’t have the name recognition Marvel’s “Iron Man” or “Captain America” franchises, so it’ll be an uphill battle to make the movie a hit. But don’t count Marvel out; by connecting the movie to later “Avengers” flicks and casting some big names to play the leads, they’ve given the movie the support it needs. Whether it will be a success remains to be seen.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Aug. 8)

There’s been some controversy over the Michael Bay produced “Turtles,” especially when it leaked a few years back the turtles would be aliens rather than mutants. Bay denied it and backed off, but Paramount pushed the movie out of its prime release in June to mid-August, not a good sign. Megan Fox plays reporter April O’Neil and William Fitchner plays the turtles’ arch nemesis Shredder; Fitchner is good but he seems out of place, and Fox never really proved herself. The turtles are making a comeback on Nickelodeon but reviews might drive away nostalgic twentysomethings weary of their classic toys being turned into subpar movies.

The Expendables 3 (Aug. 15)

The finale to Sylvester Stallone’s trilogy of classic action star comebacks expands the cast to include “Mad Max” Mel Gibson and “Indiana Jones” Harrison Ford. “Expendables 2” didn’t have the same draw as the original but it was still profitable. With the recent flop of ‘80s throwbacks like “Bullet to the Head” and “The Last Stand,” it’s very possible this finale is also the end of this revival genre, at least until Schwarzenegger shows up in “Terminator: Genesis.”  Either way “Expendables 3” is sure to go out with a bang.

Also in August: “Lucy,” played by Scarlett Johansson, is a drug mule who discovers how to activate her entire brain, giving her superpowers, Aug. 8; Jeff Bridges and Meryl Streep star in the adaptation of Lois Lowry’s young adult novel “The Giver,” Aug. 15; Robert Rodriguez returns to his neo-noir cult classic ten years later with the sequel  “Sin City: A Dame to Kill For,” Aug. 22.

Karsten Burgstahler can be reached at [email protected], on Twitter @kburgstahler_DE or by phone at 536-3311 ext. 254.