Question remains what will be the blockbusters
No one could have predicted “Space Jam: A New Legacy” would sneak a slam dunk past “Black Widow.”
But that’s how the ball has bounced at the box office this summer.
Will “Jungle Cruise” be the hit Disney hopes? Movies based on theme park rides have a mixed record, but this one offers action, comedy and, drum roll please, the back side of water! (Or as Disneyland fans say, “O2H! O2H!”)
Let’s look at movie history. Disneyland’s Pirates of the Caribbean inspired the blockbuster franchise of the same name, which in turn inspired Disney to add star Johnny Depp’s likeness to the rides at Disneyland and Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom. (Disneyland fans got a treat one day when the real-life Johnny Depp showed up one day and pretended to be his animatronic double. One fan yelled, “Are you real?”)
“Pirates” movies have taken their share of buried treasure at the box office, but not every theme park movie is so lucky. Certainly Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion is more memorable than the 2003 Eddie Murphy movie it inspired.
“Jungle Cruise,” though, has an advantage with powerhouse stars Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt. Star power means a lot.
Fans love Margo Robbie as Harley Quinn, but it’s hard to predict how the second try at DC Comics/Warner Bros.’ “Suicide Squad” will do.
But the bigger question might be: What will fans think of “Hotel Transylvania: Transformia?” The animated sequel premieres today but without Adam Sandler as the voice of Count Dracula, which would seem unthinkable. Can fans sink their teeth into that?
Here’s the schedule for the rest of the summer.
• “Black Widow.” Scarlett Johansson is back as the popular Marvel superhero in the long-awaited film. Black Widow, aka Natasha Romanoff, gave her life to save the universe in “Avengers: End Game,” but this film is set between “Captain America: Civil War” and “Avengers: Infinity War” and shows more of Natasha’s background. The director is Cate Shortland.
• “Space Jam: A New Legacy.” The first “Space Jam” movie came out in 1996 and teamed basketball great Michael Jordan with Bugs Bunny and his Looney Tunes friends. This time, athlete LeBron James teams up with Bugs and pals, which vary from Yosemite Sam to Daffy Duck, Elmer Fudd, Marvin the Martian, Tweety and Porky Pig. And that’s not all, folks.
• “Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins.” Here’s the story of assassin Snake Eyes (Henry Golding) before he’s recruited by the forces of G.I. Joe.
• “Hotel Transylvania: Transformia.” Brian Hull, not Adam Sandler, is the voice of Dracula in the fourth “Hotel Transylvania” movie. Curious fans will see how Mr. Hull does. Back for the fun are voice actors from the previous movies, including Andy Samberg and Selena Gomez as Jonathan and Mavis, David Spade as Griffin the Invisible Man and Fran Drescher as Eunice.
• “Old.” Suspense movie legend M. Night Shyamalan produced, directed and wrote this movie inspired by the “Sandcastle” graphic novel. The film starts with a family on a pleasant tropical holiday. What could go wrong?
• “Jungle Cruise.” Emily Blunt stars with Dwayne Johnson in this movie inspired by the popular Disneyland ride. Watch out. The jungle is filled with dangerous animals and reptiles (all of whom work for scale).
• “The Suicide Squad.” Margo Robbie is back as Harley Quinn in this sequel, in which the convicts at a Belle Reve prison join secret Task Force X to save the day. They’re dropped off at the island of enemy-infused Corto Maltese.
• “Free Guy.” Ryan Reynolds stars as Guy, a bank teller who discovers he’s actually part of a brutal video game. There may be more to him than he knows.
• “Respect.” The talented Jennifer Hudson stars as Aretha Franklin in this biopic, which also stars Forest Whitaker and Broadway great Audra McDonald.
• “Don’t Breathe 2.” Directed by Rodo Sayhagues, the sequel is set in the years following the first fatal home invasion. Norman Nordstrom (Stephen Lang) is living the quiet life when his past sins come to haunt him.
• “Candyman.” This movie is considered to be a “spiritual sequel” to the 1992 “Candyman.” The horror story is set in the Chicago neighborhood where the legend began.