Will After Earth Be THE Flop Of The Summer?

Will Smith’s First Ever Flop Has Everyone Talking Now, But Don’t Be Shocked If Another Movie Steals It’s Crown

$130 million production budget. A huge marketing tab on top of that. A $27 million opening weekendAfter Earth has throw down the gauntlet, staking its claim for the only title it was realistically going to win this summer… The Flop of the Year. But before M. Night Shyamalan and Will Smith start congratulating themselves and preparing their Razzie acceptance speeches they need to know their are other movies who look like they have no intention of rolling over and just handing the award to them. So if Will and M. Night are serious they better keep an eye on these guys…

The Internship
Release Date: June 7th
Starring: Vince Vaughn & Owen Wilson
Production Budget: $58

What Is It: Two “older” guys get into an internship program at Google, hilarity ensues because “older” guys don’t know anything about the technology that the crazy kids today are using.

Why It May Be A Box Office Dud: Unimaginative story, so-so (if we are being kind) trailers, and reviews that are coming dangerously close to The Hangover Part III territory.

What Might Save It: The same thing that saved The Hangover Part III, memories. This is the first movie that Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson have made together since The Wedding Crashers, and who didn’t love The Wedding Crashers?

International Safety Net*: Not for this movie.

*For many a summer flick the domestic box office is only half the story. Battleship is referenced as a flop because it did really poorly in America. However, it was a hit everywhere else (I know, no accounting for taste) and ended up as a slightly profitable vehicle for the studio. After Earth may be lucky enough to share a similar fate (too early to tell now because it hasn’t opened in most markets yet). Some movies have a good chance to save themselves outside the U.S., some don’t. That is the International Safety Net.

World War Z
Release Date: June 21st
Starring: Brad Pitt
Production Budget: $200 million plus

What Is It: ZOMBIES!!! But not just any zombies, these suckers are fast.

Why It May Be A Box Office Dud: The dreaded “troubled production” rumors (cost overruns, reshoots, etc.), haven’t we seen enough zombies and special effects in the trailers that aren’t blowing anyone away.

What Might Save It: Brad Pitt. Troubled production rumors are generally a death nail for any film, except when Mr. Jolie is involved. Mr. & Mrs. Smith had a famously crazy shoot (affair aside) and ended up being a huge hit. Troy couldn’t be discussed without mentioning it’s ballooned budget and while it may not have been a smash hit it definitely made money. Brad Pitt can save a movie… of course we would have said the same thing about Will Smith until about 1 week ago.

Anything Else: Yup, apparently it is really good. Being really good is sadly nowhere near the “end all be all” when it comes to box office success, but it can’t hurt.

International Safety Net: Definitely. Brad Pitt plays world wide, and so do genre movies.

The Lone Ranger
Release Date: July 3rd
Starring: Johnny Depp 
Production Budget: $250 million plus

What Is It: Johnny Depp plays Tonto.

Why It May Be A Box Office Dud: Everything… The budget is so big that anything short of a smash hit is a loss for the studio, most kids have no idea who the Lone Ranger is and it has been some time since a western was a box office smash.

What Might Save It: Everything I just said about The Lone Ranger was said about Captain Jack and his pirate movies. So while this movie may have the stink of Jonah Hex and Wild Wild West, it has the pedigree of one of the biggest and most unlikely movie franchises in hollywood history.

Anything Else: Yeah, it may not seem like it, but opening the same weekend as Despicable Me 2 is a big risk. They are going after roughly the same audience and they will not beat Despicable Me 2.

International Safety Net: Probably, but the Lone Ranger is an iconically American hero. Will he play everywhere? It’s hard to say.

Release Date: July 19th
Starring: Jeff Bridges and Ryan Reynolds
Production Budget: $130 million

What Is It: Men In Black but with dead people instead of aliens.

Why It May Be A Box Office Dud: Ryan Reynolds, a crowded summer (Pacific Rim opens the week before and RED 2 opens the same day and Wolverine opens the following Friday), so-so first trailer, and did I mention Ryan Reynolds.

What Might Save It: Ryan Reynolds. The man has two bonafide hits to his name, The Proposal and Safe House. What is the same about those two movies? He co-stars with a likable movie veteran who he plays off of. Who doesn’t like Jeff Bridges? No one. If this movie hits the “buddy cop” formula right and adds enough fun CGI to make it feel like something new, it’s conceivable this movie will do ok.

Anything Else: Not really, except I should say that I actually like Ryan Reynolds and Jeff Bridges is one of my all time favorites, so I will be rooting for R.I.P.D.

International Safety Net: Possibly, if it is well reviewed and doesn’t get as lost overseas as it may get in the U.S.


The beautiful thing about a real flop is when you don’t really see it coming. Maybe Monsters University will be PIXAR’s first dud. Maybe Grown Ups 2 will bomb in ways we can’t imagine. There are always plenty of possibilities for failure, particularly in a summer this stuffed with would be blockbusters. But my best guess is, the only movie that has a real chance to take down After Earth is The Lone Ranger.

But hey, what do I know? I’m fat and I haven’t written about movies for over a month because I was busy finishing a novel (writing, not reading).