Not everything will survive the proving ground that is the summer movie season. Almost by necessity, some films will bomb and fade away, later to be fondly celebrated as camp classics. Other, more ambitious material might not initially hit, but can find a new life with audiences on cable or DVD (contemporary translation: streaming services and, I guess, Blu-ray?). What are today's cult films of tomorrow?
Step Up: All In
Director: Trish Sie
Starring: Ryan Guzman, Briana Evigan, Alyson Stoner, Adam Sevani, Christopher Scott
The Step Up film series had humble beginnings, helping launch Channing Tatum to fame in 2006. He even made a cameo appearance in 2008's Step Up 2: The Streets, which introduced us to Briana Evigan's character Andie and Adam Sevani's Moose. For the third film, obviously, a 3D installment was required, bringing back Sevani and Alyson Stoner, who was in the first movie. By the fourth film, Step Up Revolution, this near-plotless street-dancing anthology had turned into such a convoluted mishmash of story that an entirely new tale, focused around an Occupy Wall Street-esque dance crew called the "MOB," was crafted. That was a relative bomb, so Step Up All In looks to return to its roots and original cast for THE ULTIMATE BATTLE. Try to keep track—an increasingly loyal band of followers is.
Release Date: July 25
Director: The Wachowskis
Starring: Mila Kunis, Channing Tatum, Sean Bean, Eddie Redmayne
This thing just screams "box office bomb that critics will discover five years from now." That's pretty much the definition of a Wachowski movie these days. Speed Racer is just now being properly appreciated for its unique and inventive visuals (its inane acting and plotting should, of course, just be ignored). Cloud Atlas is just beginning to build up a drumbeat of devoted fans who can see past the awkward cross-racial makeup and Hugh Grant's performance. People are even coming around on the Matrix sequels! No? No. Maybe that's just me. Anyway, Jupiter Ascending is being poorly advertised and will certainly not make its budget back domestically. It's likely crammed full of insane ideas, bumping up against a lot of awkward dialogue.
Release Date: July 18
Director: Philip Noyce
Starring: Jeff Bridges, Brenton Thwaites, Meryl Streep, Katie Holmes, Alexander Skarsgard, Taylor Swift
Anyone who read Lois Lowry's masterpiece of young adult dystopian fiction, released in 1993, will likely rush to theaters to see The Giver and proclaim it a poor adaptation, if the action-packed trailer is any indication. Everyone else will likely not be paying to see this movie, despite Taylor Swift's involvement and Katie Holmes' alluring return to the big screen. It's not intense or sexy enough for the Hunger Games/Divergent crowd, but too teen-y for the grownups. The Giver will have to take some time to find its audience, and if it flops, it may scare studios away from tougher YA adaptations.
Release Date: August 15
Director: Jon Favreau
Starring: Jon Favreau, Scarlett Johansson, Sofia Vergara, John Leguizamo, Oliver Platt, Bobby Cannavale, Dustin Hoffman, Robert Downey Jr., Amy Sedaris, Garry Shandling
Jon Favreau was a blockbuster director on the rise: after Elf was a surprise smash and Zathura basked in critical success, he surprised everyone, even Marvel, with Iron Man's huge opening weekend and pulled in even more dough for Iron Man 2, despite abysmal reviews. But after Cowboys & Aliens bombed with everyone, Favreau took a step back to direct a script he actually wrote, also taking the lead role as a chef who opens a food truck to bounce back from a failed restaurant. Laughs and delicious food ensue! Chef opened South By Southwest and is chock-a-block with cameos from Favreau's buddies. Its best case scenario: it becomes the next Big Night. It should be noted: that is an amazing scenario that any film should dream of.
Release Date: May 9
Director: Bong Joon-ho
Starring: Chris Evans, Jamie Bell, Alison Pill, Tilda Swinton, Jon Hurt, Octavia Spencer, Ed Harris, Kang-ho Song, Go Ah-Sung
The story of Snowpiercer's release should be enough to qualify it for this category. Joon-ho's English-language debut, after making crossover Korean hits Memories of Murder, The Host and Mother, was released in his home country last August. Its American distribution rights are in the hands of The Weinstein Company, and maybe you can guess what happens next. Harvey Weinstein made some "light" cuts to the consternation of film fans, and Joon-ho was reportedly furious about the 20-odd minutes his producer removed. One might have to wait until this thing hits Blu-ray to get an approved director's version in this country, but either way, some form of Snowpiercer (an adaptation of a French graphic novel set on a colossal train in the future powered by perpetual motion) will hit cinemas in June.
Release Date: June 27