Martin Grove’s Hollywood Report 06-25-12

“The Dark Knight Rises” – In Theaters July 20th

“The Dark Knight Rises” – In Theaters July 20th

Spider-Man in action

Spider-Man in action

IA4-048 Diego (Denis Leary) and Shira (Jennifer Lopez) in Ice Age: Continental Drift. CR:Blue Sky Studios ICE AGE CONTINENTAL DRIFT TM & ©2012 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved. Not for sale or duplication.

IA4-048 Diego (Denis Leary) and Shira (Jennifer Lopez) in Ice Age: Continental Drift. CR:Blue Sky Studios ICE AGE CONTINENTAL DRIFT TM & ©2012 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved. Not for sale or duplication.

July jolt: The summer movie season, which explodes in early May, can start dragging by mid-June. But, no worries – July’s known for jolting the boxoffice back to life.

This time around July is jam-packed with popcorn pictures that should keep the multiplexes sizzling hot. In particular, there's a one-two comic book punch coming from Columbia and Marvel's Spidey reboot “The Amazing Spider-Man” and Warner Bros.' concluding Batman trilogy episode “The Dark Knight Rises.”

The first week in July is always driven by the July Fourth holiday, but its impact varies depending on what day of the week the Fourth falls. This year it's a Wednesday, which is why Tuesday, July 3 is when Spidey will swing into theatres.

Next week's column will focus on the dynamics of July Fourth moviegoing and will recall some of the holiday's boxoffice history. For now, let's just say that moviegoing's as much a part of celebrating July Fourth as hotdogs and fireworks.

It's a safe bet that those July Fourth skies will be glittering thanks to "Spider-Man." Directed by Marc Webb (“500 Days of Summer”), the PG-13 rated 3D fantasy action adventure stars Andrew Garfield as Spidey/Peter Parker, Rhys Ifans and Emma Stone.

The film's tracking nicely in double digits. At this point, it's doing best and scoring equally well with men under and over 25.

Paramount and Insurge Pictures' 3D documentary “Katy Perry: Part of Me” hits theatres Thursday, July 5, two days after Spidey arrives. Directed by Dan Cutforth and Jane Lipsitz, producers of “Justin Bieber: Never Say Never,” it stars Katy Perry, Shannon Woodward and Lucas Kerr.

"Katy's" tracking best with under-25 females, so it's good counterprogramming to the male appeal "Spider-Man."

Rounding out July Fourth's wide releases is Universal and Relativity Media's crime thriller “Savages,” directed by Oliver Stone (“Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps”) and starring Aaron Johnson, Taylor Kitsch and Blake Lively.

"Savages" opens Friday, July 6, by which time Spidey's initial holiday boxoffice shockwave will have already hit – but the regular three day weekend will still be ahead. The film's tracking best with 25-plus males, which makes sense given its R rating and violent drug cartel storyline.

July 13 will belong to 20th Century Fox and Blue Sky Studios' PG rated 3D animated comedy adventure “Ice Age: Continental Drift.”

Directed by Steve Martino (“Horton Hears a Who!”) and Mike Thurmeier (“Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs”), "Ice's" voice stars include Ray Romano, Denis Leary and John Leguizamo.

This is the fourth episode of a family franchise that's already grossed $568.3 million in domestic theatres. This time around Manny (Romano), Diego (Leary) and Sid (Leguizamo) are on a continent that's drifting. Sailing on an iceberg they encounter sea creatures and wind up fighting pirates.

"Ice" is tracking best and, at this point, scoring equally well with over-25 men and women. That should translate into strong family business.

July 20 is Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures' launch pad for “The Dark Knight Rises,” the concluding episode in director Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy. Christian Bale returns as Batman/Bruce Wayne opposite returning stars Michael Caine, Gary Oldman and Morgan Freeman. Among the all-star cast's newcomers are: Anne Hathaway, Tom Hardy, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Marion Cotillard.

“The Dark Knight” grossed $533.3 million in domestic theatres after opening July 18, 2008 to $158.4 million. As we've seen with the “Twilight Saga” and “Harry Potter” franchises, concluding episodes are big must-see movies. Warner Bros.' marketing is hammering that point home with its tagline "the legend ends" and it's a safe bet that multiplexes will be packed with moviegoers eager to find out what happens.

At this point, it's too early to have tracking scores for "Rises," but it's widely expected to echo the phenomenal boxoffice success of Disney and Marvel's “The Avengers.” That superhero action adventure fantasy kicked off this summer May 4 with $207.4 million for its three-day opening weekend. After eight weeks, "Avengers'" domestic theatrical cume is $598.3 million. Its international cume is $837.9 million, from 56 territories representing about 95 percent of the international market. Together, that's an enviable global cume of $1.44 billion.

If "Rises" rises to the occasion with the same kind of ticket sales, that July jolt will certainly put this summer in the record books.

The previous Batman franchise episode, “The Dark Knight,” opened July 18, 2008 to $158.4 million at 4,366 theatres. It did $533.3 million domestically and $468.6 million in international theatres for a worldwide cume of $1 billion.

Two wide releases will round out the month on July 27.

20th Century Fox's R rated sci-fi comedy “The Watch” is directed by “Saturday Night Live” director Akiva Schaffer. It stars Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughan, Jonah Hill and Richard Ayoade as suburban dads looking to enliven their predicable lives through a neighborhood watch group -- that winds up defending Earth from an alien attack.

Lionsgate and Summit Entertainment's PG-13 rated romantic music drama “Step Up Revolution” is directed by Scott Speer (“The LXD 2: Secrets of the Ra”) and stars Kathryn McCormick, Ryan Guzman and Adam G. Sevani.

The first three episodes in the low budget "Step Up" franchise were distributed domestically by Disney and grossed $165.7 million. The last episode to open, “Step Up 3D,” arrived Aug. 6, 2010 to $15.8 million and went on to gross $42.4 million domestically.

Bottom line: With new Batman and Spider-Man episodes upcoming, we can count on boxoffice fireworks in July!