MAY MOVIES --5/1/17


May movies: After an anemic April at the boxoffice, Hollywood is looking forward to packed multiplexes in May.

Working in May's favor is that most of its wide releases have nicely familiar roots. It's always helpful when moviegoers already know what to expect after seeing related IP in the past.

May will kick off, as it has for the last 10 years, with a Marvel franchise and will end with a Disney franchise for Memorial Day weekend. If you missed last week's column with a complete history of Marvel's early May blockbusters, you can read it here.

Between now and Memorial Day we'll see a legendary historical action adventure from Warner Bros., a sci-fi horror franchise episode from 20th Century Fox, an animated franchise episode from Fox and an R rated comedy from Paramount based on a classic TV series.

With only eight wide openings in May, there's also a greater opportunity for moviegoers to get to the new films. Overcrowding in the marketplace, as is routine in the summer, typically works against everything but the very biggest of the big titles.

Here's a quick look at what's upcoming in May:



TITLE: "Guardians of the Galaxy 2"

STUDIO: Disney and Marvel


GENRE: sci-fi action adventure/3D

DIRECTOR: James Gunn ("Guardians of the Galaxy")

STARS: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff, Elizabeth Debicki, Chris Sullivan, Sean Gunn, Tommy Flanagan and Laura Haddock, with Sylvester Stallone and Kurt Russell

STORYLINE: The Guardians fight to keep their new family together while solving the mystery of Peter Quill's (Pratt) true parentage.

NOTES: "GG2" is going into 4,200 theatres and Hollywood handicappers are anticipating an opening of around $150 million. It's already a huge hit internationally -- for full details check out the Bottom Line global boxoffice notes at the end of today's column.

The franchise's first episode opened Aug. 1, 2014 to $94.3 million. It did $333.2 million domestically and $440.2 million internationally. That's all the more impressive considering that it wasn't based on a familiar top tier Marvel comic book. Moreover, it revolved around a team of intergalactic criminal misfits rather than the usual superheroes.

Franchise fans can also look forward to "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3," to be written and directed by James Gunn and star Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel.

"GG3," according to Gunn, "will conclude the story of this iteration of the 'Guardians of the Galaxy' and help catapult both old and new Marvel characters into the next 10 years and beyond."


(2) OPENING WEEKEND: May 12-14

TITLE: "King Arthur: Legend of the Sword"

STUDIO: Warner Bros. and Village Roadshow Pictures


GENRE: action adventure/3D

DIRECTOR: Guy Ritchie ("Sherlock Holmes")

STARS: Charlie Hunnam, Jude Law, Annabelle Wallis, Djimon Hounsou, Eric Bana

STORYLINE: When the young Arthur's father is murdered, his uncle (Law as Vortigern) seizes the crown. Robbed of his birthright and not knowing who he truly is, the child grows up the hard way. But when Arthur (Hunnam) pulls the sword from the stone, he's forced to acknowledge his true legacy -- whether he likes it or not.

NOTES: "Sword" is the first episode in a planned six picture franchise based on England's legendary King Arthur. It reportedly cost $102 million to produce.

There were earlier efforts to make "Sword" that never materialized. One would have been directed by David Dobkin ("The Judge") with Kit Harington as Arthur and Joel Kinnamon as Lancelot. Dobkin shares story credit on "Sword" and is one of its executive producers. Another version was being talked about for Colin Farrell as Arthur and Gary Oldman as Merlin.

Although the legend of King Arthur has been tackled by filmmakers over the years, it's been quite a while since the last one was in theatres. That was Disney's "King Arthur," which opened July 7, 2004 to $15.2 million. It did $51.9 million domestically and $151.7 million internationally. Directed by Antoine Fuqua ("Training Day"), it starred Clive Owen as Arthur, Ioan Gruffudd as Lancelot and Keira Knightley as Guinevere.


(3) OPENING WEEKEND: May 12-14

TITLE: "Snatched"

STUDIO: 20th Century Fox and Chernin Entertainment


GENRE: action comedy

DIRECTOR:  Jonathan Levine ("The Night Before")

STARS: Amy Schumer, Goldie Hawn, Ike Barinholtz, Joan Cusack

STORYLINE: Schumer plays Emily Middleton, an impetuous dreamer whose boyfriend dumps her just as they're about to leave for an exotic adventure vacation in Central America. Emily persuades her very wary mom, Linda (Hawn), to go there with her instead. Before long, these polar opposites must team up to escape being kidnapped in the jungle.

NOTES: "Snatched" is Hawn's first film in 15 years -- since the R rated comedy "The Banger Sisters," in which she starred opposite Susan Sarandon and Geoffrey Rush. Directed by then first time feature director Bob Dolman, who's since done "How to Eat Fried Worms," it opened Sept. 20, 2002 to $10 million. "Sisters" did $30.3 million domestically and $7.8 million internationally.

Hawn reportedly got to make her comeback in "Snatched" thanks to Schumer pushing really hard to make it happen.

Schumer's last movie, the R rated romantic comedy "Trainwreck," from Universal and Apatow Productions, opened July 17, 2015 to $30.1 million. It did $110.2 million domestically and $30.6 million internationally. Directed by Judd Apatow ("This is 40"), it also starred Bill Hader and Brie Larson. It reportedly cost $35 million to produce.


(4) OPENING WEEKEND: May 19-21

TITLE: "Alien: Covenant"

STUDIO: 20th Century Fox and Scott Free Productions


GENRE: sci-fi thriller

DIRECTOR:  Ridley Scott ("Alien," "Prometheus")

STARS: Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup,

STORYLINE: While traveling to a distant planet on the far side of the galaxy, the crew of the colony ship Covenant discovers what they believe to be an uncharted paradise. It turns out to be a dark, dangerous world that may be home to those who created mankind on Earth and from which the space travellers must now attempt a terrifying escape.

NOTES: This is the second (following "Prometheus" in 2012) in a trilogy of "Alien" films from Ridley Scott, leading up to his now classic 1979 original.

"Alien" opened May 25, 1979 to $3.5 million at just 91 theatres. It did $78.9 million domestically, which was big money at the time. In 2003 it added $2 million more from a Director's Cut release, bringing its domestic total to $80.9 million. It also did $24 million internationally in 1979.

"Prometheus" opened June 8, 2012 to $51.1 million and did $126.5 million domestically. It did $276.9 million internationally.

While "Covenant" is Scott's third "Alien' franchise episode, it's actually the series' sixth title. There also have been two "Alien" and  "Predator" mash-up films.

The three non-Scott "Alien" episodes are: "Aliens," written and directed by James Cameron (1986); "Alien 3," directed by David Fincher (1992); and "Alien Resurrection," directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet (1997).

The two mash-ups are: "Alien Vs. Predator," written and directed by Paul W.S. Anderson (2004) and "Alien Vs. Predator – Requiem," directed by Colin Strause & Greg Strause (2007). The seven related titles to date have grossed $515.9 million domestically.


(5) OPENING WEEKEND: May 19-21

TITLE: "Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul"

STUDIO: 20th Century Fox and Color Force


GENRE: family comedy

DIRECTOR: David Bowers ("Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Roderick Rules," "Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days")

STARS: Alicia Silverstone, Tom Everett Scott, Charlie Wright, Jason Drucker

STORYLINE: The Heffley Family's cross-country road trip to attend a 90th birthday party goes way off course when Greg (Drucker) comes up with a scheme to get to a video game convention.

NOTES: This is the fourth episode in the series that began in 2010. The last episode, "Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days," opened Aug. 3, 2012 to $14.6 million and did $49 million domestically. It did $28.1 million internationally.

Zachary Gordon, who played the young title character Greg in the franchise's first three episodes, was born in 1998 and had gotten a little too old to continue in the role with the latest episode. Not all of the adult actors from "Dog Days" were available when "Haul" was to film, so an entirely new cast was assembled.


(6) OPENING WEEKEND: May 19-21

TITLE: "Everything, Everything"

STUDIO: Warner Bros. and MGM


GENRE: romantic drama

DIRECTOR: Stella Meghie ("Jean of the Joneses")

STARS: Amandla Stenberg, Nick Robinson, Anika Noni Rose

STORYLINE: Stenberg plays 18 year old Madeline Whittier, who because of a rare disease must always be indoors breathing filtered air. Her entire life revolves around her books, her mom (Rose) and her nurse (Ana de la Reguera).

When a new neighbor, Olly (Robinson), moves in next door, they begin sending texts. After they wind up falling in love, a new life begins for Maddy.

NOTES: The film is based on the bestselling book of the same name by Nicola Yoon.

In "The Hunger Games" (2012) Stenberg played Rue, the youngest player from District 11.

Rose is best known for playing Lorrell Robinson in "Dreamgirls" (2006).



(7) OPENING WEEKEND: May 26-29

TITLE: "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales"

STUDIO: Disney and Jerry Bruckheimer Films


GENRE: fantasy action adventure/3D

DIRECTOR: Joachim Ronning ("Kon-Tiki") & Espen Sandberg ("Kon-Tiki")

STARS: Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush, Javier Bardem, Orlando Bloom

STORYLINE: Captain Jack Sparrow (Depp) finds the winds of ill-fortune blowing stronger than ever when deadly ghost pirates led by his nemesis, Captain Salazar (Bardem), escape from the Devil's Triangle, determined to kill all pirates -- including Sparrow. Captain Jack's only hope is to find the legendary Trident of Poseidon, which gives its possessor total control over the seas.

NOTES: This is the fifth episode in the franchise that began in 2003 and has since grossed $1.3 billion domestically. The last episode, "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides" opened May 20, 2011 to $90.2 million and did $241.1 million domestically. It did $804.6 million internationally.

"Tales" reportedly cost $350 million to produce and had been budgeted at $250 million. One factor contributing to the cost overrun was production time lost after Depp suffered a hand injury while shooting in Australia and had to fly back to the U.S.

The Captain Salazar character was originally going to be called Captain Brand and was to have been played by Christoph Waltz. When Waltz couldn't do it because of schedule conflicts, Bardem was cast instead and a name change for his character followed.

At one point, "Tales" was going to open this July 7. That would have mirrored the opening dates for the series' first two episodes -- "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl" (July 9, 2003) and "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest" (July 7, 2006). The switch of release dates to May 26 mirrors the openings for "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End" (May 25, 2007) and "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides" (May 20, 2011).


(8) OPENING WEEKEND: May 26-29

TITLE: "Baywatch"

STUDIO: Paramount, The Montecito Picture Company and Skydance Media


GENRE: comedy

DIRECTOR: Seth Gordon ("Horrible Bosses")

STARS: Dwayne Johnson, Zac Efron, Priyanka Chopra, Alexandra Daddario, Pamela Anderson, David Hasselhoff

STORYLINE: Dwayne Johnson as lifeguard Mitch Buchanan clashes with Matt Brody (Efron), a new hothead recruit. Together, they uncover a criminal plot that threatens the Bay's future.

NOTES: The movie's roots are in the now legendary TV action drama series "Baywatch" starring David Hasselhoff, which premiered on NBC in 1989 and was canceled after just one season.

Hasselhoff and executive producers Michael Berk, Douglas Schwartz and Gregory J. Bonann managed to re-launch it in syndication in 1991, where it became a huge hit and ran through 1999. After a format overhaul, there were plans to cut production costs by moving from California to Australia, but there was opposition Down Under to having the series film there.

Instead, the new location became Hawaii, which was delighted to have the production spend money to shoot there. The new series ran in syndication as "Baywatch Hawaii" from 1999 – 2001.

Among the many "Baywatch" stars over the years were: David Hasselhoff, Pamela Anderson, Parker Stevenson, Carmen Electra, David Charvet, Yasmine Bleeth, Brooke Burns and Jason Momoa.

While this is the first "Baywatch" theatrical movie, the series did spawn three made-for-video films starring David Hasselhoff: "Baywatch the Movie: Forbidden Paradise" (1995); "Baywatch: White Thunder at Glacier Bay" (1998); and "Baywatch: Hawaiian Wedding" (2003). A spin-off series, "Baywatch Nights," starred David Hasselhoff, Angie Harmon and Eddie Cibrian and ran from 1995-97.

         Bottom line: April faded out quietly last weekend with  

Universal and Original Films' PG-13 rated action crime thriller "Fate of the Furious" finishing first for the third straight weekend. It did $19.4 million at 4,077 theatres, bringing its domestic cume to $192.7 million.

         "The international weekend estimate is $68.4 million in 66 territories for an international total of $867.6 million," comScore reported Sunday. "The worldwide total is $1.06 billion. It is the fourth highest grossing Universal film worldwide after 'Jurassic World'

($1.67 billion); 'Furious 7' ($1.52 billion); and 'Minions' ($1.16 billion)."

         The PG-13 rated comedy "How to be a Latin Lover" from Lionsgate's Hispanic distribution unit Pantelion Films opened in second place to a sexy $12 million at just 1,118 theatres. It's being released in a Spanish dubbed version as well as in English.

         "This is the biggest opening in Pantelion Films' history," comScore noted.       

         Great India Films' unrated action adventure "Baahubali 2: The Conclusion" opened third to a hefty $10.1 million at only 420 theatres. Its performance is all the more impressive considering that the film is from South India and is in the Telugu language.

         IMAX said Sunday that "B2" smashed IMAX records globally "with the biggest IMAX opening weekend ever in India, the biggest global IMAX opening ever for an Indian film, and the all-time biggest domestic IMAX opening for a foreign language film.

         "'Baahubali 2' earns $2.34 million in IMAX box office globally from only 66 IMAX screens, an ambitious per screen average of US$35,500! 45 domestic IMAX screens account for $1.8 million of the global cume, showing the appeal of the IMAX experience to the Indian diaspora in North America for homegrown fare. 

         "The domestic per screen average reaches a lofty $40,000 over the weekend, with 5 domestic IMAX locations setting new 3-day weekend records!"

         The franchise's first episode, "Baahubali: The Beginning," opened July 9, 2015 to $3.6 million at just 236 theatres. It did $6.7 million domestically and had a global cume of about $100 million. Nearly $80 million of that came from ticket sales in India where it's the country's third biggest grossing film ever.

         The two episodes reportedly cost about $40 million to produce and were shot back-to-back.

         STX Entertainment's PG-13 rated sci-fi thriller "The Circle" opened in fourth place to a soft $9.3 million at 3,163 theatres despite its star power pairing of Tom Hanks and Emma Watson.

         STX won't be hurt by "Circle," but will earn a distribution fee for releasing it for EuropaCorp, which had picked it up for about $8 million from Image Nation Abu Dhabi.

         Last weekend's $96 million in domestic ticket sales was down, per comScore, 12.3 percent from $109.4 million this time last year when "The Jungle Book" was number one (for the third straight weekend) with $43.7 million and a domestic cume of $253.4 million.

         2017's $3.723 billion boxoffice to date, according to comScore, is up percent 4.2 percent vs. $3.572 billion a year ago. A week earlier, 2017 was up 5.2 percent and the week before that it was ahead by 6.1 percent in comScore's tracking.

         A quick reversal of April's boxoffice downturn is expected next weekend with Disney and Marvel's "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2" opening at 4,200 theatres. A $150 million kick-off is being buzzed about around Hollywood.

         "GG2" is already brightening the international boxoffice. Disney said Sunday that, "Peter Quill and his fellow Guardians returned as two-time galaxy savers around the international marketplace to produce an impressive estimated $101 million opening weekend. 

         "We estimate that this opening is 57 percent ahead of the original 'Guardians of the Galaxy,' 50 percent ahead of 'Captain America: The Winter Soldier' and 19 percent ahead of 'Thor: The Dark World' when comparing the same suite of territories and all at today's exchange rates. Many markets have a holiday in the upcoming week for May Day.

         "Next weekend sees openings in Korea, Russia and China along with Israel, Croatia, Czech Rep, Greece, Hungary, Lebanon, Slovakia, Slovenia, Ukraine, Poland, South Africa, India and Argentina." The film opens in Japan May 12.