Tom Cruise couldn’t do it.
Neither could Captain Underpants.
Poor Megan Leavey never had a chance.
But maybe cars, brides, sharks and hip-hop all will be able to knock Wonder Woman off her box-office perch this weekend. MaraMovies breaks down the contenders, all out June 16:
Stars Voices of Owen Wilson, Cristela Alonzo, Chris Cooper, Larry the Cable Guy
Two-minute plot Lightning McQueen (Wilson) sets out to prove that he’s still the best dang race car driver in the world.
Back story: Inside Out, The Incredibles, Ratatouille, Wall-E. . . . The brilliant minds over at Disney’s Pixar Studios are gifted at churning out wildly imaginative original stories. But the latest offering is the first three-quel since Toy Story (and, curiously, one of few franchises to never win the Best Animated Feature Oscar). Get used to the familiarity: follow-ups to The Incredibles and Toy Story are in the pipeline as well.
Heat index Surprisingly high. I didn’t get a chance to catch a screening, but I keep reading positive headlines such as “Lightning (McQueen) Strikes for Pixar.” Shockingly, I think kids might be into it???
Stars Scarlett Johansson, Kate McKinnon, Jillian Bell, Zoe Kravitz, Ilana Glazer
Two-minute plot ScarJo’s bachelorette party with her friends in Miami goes awry after a stripper accidentally dies on her watch.
Back story Bad Moms was a surprise sleeper hit, proving for the zillionth time that superhero-loving dudes aren’t the only ones who will line up for a movie. The way-raunchier Rough Night is determined to keep the good times rolling. I went to the premiere on Monday night in New York City, where, upon my arrival, I was offered a bright pink boa and four different kinds of fruity cocktails. None of this mattered after I saw Molly Ringwald talk to Demi Moore.
Heat index Fair. Emmy winner McKinnon is en fuego, but Johansson has never successfully carried a hit comedy. Also, the movie itself is lukewarm.
47 Meters Down
Stars Mandy Moore, Claire Holt, Matthew Modine
Two-minute plot Two sisters traveling in Mexico get trapped in a shark tank at the bottom of an ocean. But were they wearing the right amount of SPF????
Back story Hey, the shark thing worked for Jaws. And Sharknado. And The Shallows. Three is a trend! Fact is, a cheap and effectively scary thriller is precisely what escapist-loving audiences crave in a summer flick. Blake Lively’s The Shallows was a bona fide hit last year despite meh reviews and, ahem, zero screenings for weekly critics.
Heat index Comfortable. Moore is on a roll thanks to This is Us. The girl knows how to wail on cue. Plus, sharks! Let’s go.
All Eyez on Me
Stars Demetrius Shipp Jr., Jada Pinkett, Danai Guirra, Hill Harper
Two-minute plot This is a straight biopic of groundbreaking rapper and activist (played here by Shipp) Tupac Shakur, who was mysteriously shot down in 1996. The release date coincides with what would have been his 46th birthday.
Back story Wise move to choose an unknown in the role of Shakur, who remains a towering figure in the music industry and community two decades after his death. (Shipp’s only credits on IMDB are as “Self” on The Wendy Williams Show and The Tonight Show.) Nonetheless, the long-gestating film had an arduous journey to the big screen — including a revolving door of writers and directors and two lawsuits. Director John Singleton, once attached to helm the drama, voiced his frustration on Instagram post pull-out and noted “the people involved aren’t really respectful of the legacy of Tupac Amaru Shakur.”
Heat index Simmering. A little controversy could drum up interest. Straight Outta Compton proved that a hip-hop biopic can be a hit — if it’s done right.
Also published on Medium.