I Hate Critics Summer Movie Fantasy Draft

The movie fantasy draft is back for the Summer of 2015! This time, it’s all about the box office. Each of your I Hate Critics hosts will draft a team of 10 movies and the winner is the team with the more money in the bank on Monday, August 31st. Play along by getting your friends together to draft your summer movie team and post your results on our Facebook page. If your team beats our winning team we may just have an I Hate Critics prize package for you (Minimum three teams per league to qualify). Box office returns will be determined by BoxOfficeMojo.com. Domestic Box Office only.

Here’s a list of the movies opening in Wide Release, according to Box Office Mojo. Your welcome to go off the board for an indie release you think can still win at the box office or might expand before the summer is over, but remember, it’s all about the box office returns.

(Side note, let’s stop kidding ourselves about release dates, every movie claims to open on Friday but they all really open Thursday night which this list reflects.)

Furious 7 

Opening Thursday, April 2nd

Starring: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, The Rock and Michele Rodriguez

Experts Take: Furious 7 is a number one draft choice with speculation skyrocketing as to the box office potential of the 7 Fast and Furious outing. It’s no Avengers: Age of Ultron but if you don’t get the first pick in the draft Furious 7 is likely the number 2 overall draft pick.

The Longest Ride

Opening Thursday April 9th

Starring (Nicholas Sparks) Scott Eastwood, Britt Robertson and Alan Alda

Experts Take: A true sleeper, The Longest Ride has the benefit of an empty opening weekend and providing counterprogramming to the second weekend of the testosterone fueled Furious 7. The Longest Ride is limited by having zero appeal to male teens, a significant market, but will have the women all to itself for opening and second weekend before Age of Adaline opens in the same niche. Could be a good 3rd or 4th round pick.

Child 44

Opening Thursday April 16th

Starring Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman and Joel Kinnaman

Experts Take: A grim thriller about child murder starring a guy who’s been more hype than hero at the box office? Probably not a good bet even in the late rounds unless you’re really desperate. That’s to say nothing about what looks like a quality movie, but this is about the box office and Child 44 has zero moneymaking momentum.

Paul Blart Mall Cop 2

Opening Thursday April 16th

Starring Kevin James, Raini Rodriguez and Neal McDonough

Experts Take: Tough call. On the one hand, the film has a solid audience base from the first film which grossed nearly 200 million domestic. On the other hand, that was 6 years ago. Kevin James has barely worked since the first Blart and hasn’t headlined a film since Here Comes the Boom in 2012 and that film failed to reach 50 million at the box office. The film does benefit from being the only family movie option in the marketplace, an advantage that could make up for the shortcomings I mentioned. Look at Paul Blart 2 as a solid 4th or 5th round pick.


Opening Thursday April 16th

Starring Cal Barnes, Matthew Bohrer and Courtney Halverson

Experts Take: There is always an audience for a horror movie but this summer is going to tax that niche. 6 horror movies open this summer and each is likely to cannibalize the other. Unfriended has the advantage of being first to the market but it doesn’t have the name recognition of Poltergeist, Insidious Chapter 3 or Sinister 2. Unfriended does have a unique modern social media hook, it takes place entirely via webcams and social media posts, but its not clear yet if that is a good hook or a complete turn off. Me, I trust the reliability of the horror crowd to deliver a 20 plus million dollar opening weekend but I would be surprised if the film got past 50 million domestic. Might be a good last round pick.

The Age of Adaline

Opening Thursday April 26th

Starring Blake Lively, Harrison Ford and Michiel Huisman

Experts Take: Blake Lively has never drawn a dime at the box office. That said, The Age of Adaline has received an extensive trailer push and is a solid niche draw among older, female audiences. The unique premise is memorable and the romance genre is a wasteland after The Longest Ride, opening the field for Adaline. I would not bet big on Age 0f Adaline but a last round pick isn’t a bad bet.

Little Boy

Opening Thursday April 26th

Starring Kevin James, Ben Chaplin, and Emily Watson

Experts Take: We are still waiting for the first religious movie blockbuster. The church going crowd has proven thus far to be reliable but limited. The latest example, Do You Believe, had buzz from church groups planning screenings  but still hasn’t cracked 10 million domestic in 3 weeks of release. Little Boy has a slightly bigger draw in Kevin James but anyone who’s seen the trailer knows that an unknown little boy is at the front of the movie and James is a minor supporting player, and even then we’ve already discussed James’ limited appeal (See Blart 2)

Avengers: Age of Ultron

Opening Thursday April 30th

Starring Robert Downey Jr, Chris Evans and Scarlett Johannson (Among others)

Experts Take: The consensus number one overall pick in the draft. Do you need to know why?

She’s Funny That Way

Opening Thursday April 30

Starring Owen Wilson, Jennifer Aniston, and Imogen Poots

Experts Take: Counter-programming Avengers isn’t a bad idea but She’s Funny That Way remains an odd choice. Directed by the legendary Peter Bogdanovich, the film feels like it should have been made and released several years ago when the idea of a romantic comedy with Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston still had an appeal. The involvement of Bogdanovich makes the film seem like an indie movie dressed up for a wide release. It says something that films being released after She’s Funny That Way have already released trailers and are at least beginning national marketing campaigns while She’s Funny That Way sits waiting. Unless you are in a big draft with lots of teams, don’t waste the draft pick.

Before I Wake

Opening Thursday May 7th

Starring Thomas Jane, Scottie Thompson and Kate Bosworth

Experts Take: The trailer for Before I Wake is getting good reactions even as the title is far to benign to stay in people’s heads. Neither Tom Jane or Kate Bosworth is much of a draw but if Unfriended fails and Mad Max under-performs there could be room for Before I Wake, especially if the studio continues to get the trailer in front of audiences. The film’s nightmares come to life premise is a good hook for the horror loyalists that could give the film a solid opening weekend and in larger leagues it could be a sleeper of a late round pick.

Hot Pursuit

Opening Thursday May 7th

Starring Reese Witherspoon and Sophia Vergar

Experts Take: Despite a not so great title, stolen from the 1987 John Cusack/Robert Loggia flick, Hot Pursuit could be a strong mid round pick. It’s a female driven comedy from the director of The Proposal and 27 Dresses opening among testosterone driven action movies. Reese Witherspoon is a solid draw and Vergara seems ready to make the leap to being a solid second banana. The film does have the drawback of a second week match up against fellow female centered flick Pitch Perfect 2 but, if it reaches an older female audience there could be room for the film to run toward 70 to 80 million dollars.

Mad Max: Fury Road

Opening Thursday May 14th

Starring Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron and Nicholas Hoult

Experts Take: Has the potential to be a blockbuster but I am staying away from it. While the film has name recognition and a terrifically talented cast, it has limited appeal beyond fanboys. Women aren’t exactly lining up for post-apocalyptic sci-fi and, as mentioned earlier, in our Child 44 conversation, Tom Hardy has not proven to be a box office draw. Fanboys pretty much make or break this one and, even as I am keeping my distance, it still warrants a third or fourth round look in the draft.

Pitch Perfect 2

Opening Thursday May 14th

Starring Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson and Hailee Steinfeld

Experts Take: A strong 3rd round pick, Pitch Perfect 2 is a niche blockbuster with young women ready to line up around the block. The first film opened to an OK 20 million on the way to nearly 65 million domestic but the DVD exploded and that makes the sequel a hot property this summer. Bet high on Pitch Perfect to cross 100 million domestic.


Opening Thursday May 21st

Starring Sam Rockwell, Rosemarie Dewitt, and Jared Harris

Experts Take: Another high round pick, I will be looking hard at Poltergeist in the 4th or 5th round. The film has strong name recognition and the horror movie audience is already  in anticipation. The creepy trailer is selling the new cast while retaining the nostalgia for the original and the tricky marketing is only beginning to catch on. Can it crack 100 million in a somewhat crowded summer horror market? Maybe, maybe not, but 80 million is a good bet and makes it more than worth a mid-round draft pick after the surefire blockbusters are gone.


Opening Thursday May 21st

Starring George Clooney, Britt Robertson, and Hugh Laurie

Experts Take: Never doubt the Disney marketing machine. I doubted that they could sell audiences on Pirates of the Carribean and that seems to have gone their way. Tomorrowland has box office blockbuster potential even as the marketing campaign has yet to find its feet. Bet on Disney and draft high.


Opening Thursday May 28th

Starring Bradley Cooper, Emma Stone and Rachel McAdams

Experts Take: Bradley Cooper is as hot and bankable as any star working today, aside from Serena anyway. Placed alongside the adorable Emma Stone and Bill Murray in a Cameron Crowe romance we should have a hit movie here. So why doesn’t Aloha feel like a hit? My guess is because the appeal of Cameron Crowe has waned signficantly and he wasn’t exactly a blockbuster guy to begin with. The question is: Is Aloha the next Jerry Maguire or the next Elizabethtown? Unfortunately for our purposes the answer likely lies somewhere in the middle which makes Aloha a good bet to be drafted but could be a case of being taken too high.

San Andreas

Opening Thursday May 28th

Starring Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, Alexanda Daddario, and Carla Gugino

Experts Take: Despite looking like a blockbuster, big star, big effects, et cetera, San Andreas has a very small window in which to make serious money. Arriving in the wake of Disney’s Tomorrowland and leading into the release of niche flicks Entourage, Insidious 3 and Spy, each ready to carve a healthy slice of the box office pie, San Andreas will need a huge opening weekend to make it worthy of a high draft choice. I wouldn’t be surprised to see San Andreas make something in the 50 million dollar range on the opening weekend but it will be dead in the water by the time Jurassic World arrives. San Andreas is worth a mid-round pick at best.


Opening Thursday June 4th

Starring Adrien Grenier, Jeremy Piven and Mark Wahlberg

Experts Take: Do not draft this movie. Sure, there was a cult that clamored for an Entourage movie but there is a grave difference between people loyal to a TV show and the grand stage of the summer movie box office. Entourage is attempting to play in the big leagues without a big name star (Mark Wahlberg cameo aside) and against better known properties that don’t require an HBO binge watch for backstory. Be sure to mock the guy in your league who picks Entourage.

Insidious Chapter 3

Opening Thursday June 4th

Starring Dermot Mulroney, Stefanie Scott and Lin Shaye

Experts Take: The first Insidious grossed over 50 million dollars and then found a whole new loyal audience on DVD. That led to Insidious Chapter 2 which went over 80 million domestic. Now comes Insidious Chapter 3 and arriving as it does with the horror field all to itself and a number of older skewing movies opening alongside it, Insidious Chapter 3 has the potential to be just as big a hit as the previous chapter. Don’t be mistaken, that 80 plus million for chapter 2 is unquestionably this series’ ceiling but a Chapter 3 gross in the 80 million dollar range makes this a worthy middle round draft pick.


Opening Thursday June 4th

Starring Melissa McCarty, Jude Law, and Jason Statham

Experts Take: Taking Tammy as the guidepost for Melissa McCarthy vehicles we don’t want to get to excited about the prospects for Spy. Tammy opened on 4th of July weekend last year and went on to a solid but unspectactular 84+ million dollars. That’s probably where Spy will land as well making it not quite a high draft choice but rather, like Insidious 3, a solid mid-round pick.

Jurassic World 

Opening Thursday June 11th

Starring Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, and Judy Greer

Experts Take: Jurassic World stands right behind Avengers Age of Ultron and alongside Furious 7 as one of the top draft picks of the summer. Take it with the 2nd or 3 pick in the draft.


Opening Thursday June 18th

Experts Take: I was more than a little surprised to see Dope is opening nationwide. The film has a whole lot of festival buzz but that has rarely translated to blockbuster success. Unless the buzz builds in a big way between now and June 18th Dope is probably not worth a draft pick.

Inside Out

Opening Thursday June 18th

Starring: Amy Poehler, Mindy Kaling and Bill Hader

Experts Take: Other than Marvel superheroes, Furious drivers, and giant dinosaurs, there is no more surefire blockbuster than a Pixar animated feature. Take Inside Out in the second round.


Opening Thursday June 25th

Starring Robbie Arnell, Lauren Graham and Jay Hernandez

Experts Take: Tough call. This film has a heart tugging trailer that may just strike right at the heart of the Marley & Me audience. That dog starring movie was a significant blockbuster, though it was during a far less competitive winter weekend. Max also doesn’t have a recognizable pair of stars like Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston, back when they were relatively big stars. A lot depends on your willingness to gamble, Max could be the the underdog pick of the summer or the biggest loser on your fantasy team.

The Outskirts

Opening Thursday June 25th

Starring Eden Sher, Victoria Justice, and Peyton List

Experts Take: We’ve heard nothing of this teen-centric comedy thus far but just knowing that it is opening opposite comedy blockbuster Ted 2 is enough to tell me to avoid drafting The Outskirts.

Ted 2

Opening Thursday June 25th

Starring Seth MacFarlane, Mark Wahlberg and Amanda Seyfried

Experts Take: Despite weak returns for MacFarlane’s 1000 Ways to Die in the West, Ted 2 is still tracking like a potential blockbuster. The trailer has been greeted with the same gales of laughter that met the original and barring any major marketing missteps between now and June 25th, Ted 2 is set to be one of the few 100 million grossers of the summer.

Magic Mike XXL

Opening Thursday June 30th

Starring Channing Tatum, Amber Heard and Elizabeth Banks

Experts Take: Unique counter-programming happening here. Magic Mike XXL is opening opposite Terminator Genisys and playing on the most obvious gender divide we’ve seen on a major holiday weekend. Given that July 4th weekend is so massive there should be plenty of box office to go around but are both Magic Mike and Genisys capable or reaching major box office without reaching across the gender divide? For our purposes, both should draw enough of one gender to be worth drafting though don’t draft too early, anything before round three on either film is a stretch.

Terminator Genisys

Opening Thursday June 30th

Starring Emilia Clarke, Jai Courtney and Arnold Schwarzenegger

Experts Take: Yes, Terminator Genisys looks and acts like a blockbuster but much like the Terminator robots made to look human, its supposed to look that way. The often unspoken reality of the Terminator series is that even at its best, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, the domestic gross barely crossed 200 million. The last Terminator outing, which featured legit star Christian Bale, only managed 125 million domestic. My point is merely that there is a ceiling to consider when drafting Genisys and as I said in our Magic Mike conversation, anything earlier than the 3rd round is a stretch or fairly considered a waste of a pick.

The Gallows

Opening Thursday July 9th

Starring Cassidy Gifford, Reese Mishler, and Pfeifer Brown

Experts Take: Counter-programming the kiddie blockbuster Minions with a horror film isn’t a bad idea but the buzz should already be building for Gallows and thus far there is no trailer or poster on IMDB. That said, if the horror audience is loyal enough to make Before I Wake worthy of a loyal round pick then surely the same could be said of The Gallows.


Opening Thursday July 9th

Starring Sandra Bullock

Experts Take: A legit, surefire blockbuster right alongside Inside Out. In fact, based on the Minions marketing push, which is going on two years now, Minions may be a better fantasy play than the Pixar flick. Take Minions in the second round and you will have made a smart choice.


Opening Thursday July 9th

Starring Ryan Reynolds, Ben Kingsley and Matthew Goode

Experts Take: Ryan Reynolds is working hard to rekindle his star power. Unfortunately for Self/Less, all that work is on behalf of Deadpool. Self/Less is a September release dressed up for Summer and likely to come away burned. Don’t waste the draft pick here when you could better spend it on one of the half dozen horror movies guaranteed to out-bank Self/Less this Summer.


Opening Thursday July 16th

Starring Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas and Evangeline Lilly

Experts Take: It’s a legit blockbuster even if Paul Rudd doesn’t exactly have a blockbuster track record. Rudd is not the draw here, Marvel is and nothing beats a Marvel hero at the box office. Is Ant-Man a first round pick? No, but after Minions and Inside Out, it’s a solid second round pick.


Opening Thursday July 16

Starring Amy Schumer, Bill Hader and LeBron James

Experts Take: A terrific late round sleeper, Trainwreck brings to mind 40 Year Old Virgin and Knocked Up comparisons. Will it make 100 million dollars? I don’t think so, opening opposite of Ant-Man will hold down the opening weekend a little too much, but it’s a solid mid-to late round pick with the potential to be a breakout hit that could give you the win in your Fantasy League.


Opening Thursday July 23rd

Starring Hugh Jackman, Levi Miller and Rooney Mara

Experts Take: Is it a kids movie? Is it action adventure? Why is Hugh Jackman so pale? Pan has disaster written all over it. The trailer is abysmal, no one seems to know what the hook (pun intended) of the film is, and Hugh Jackman as the bad guy didn’t do much for Chappie and that film opened in the wasteland of February. That said, trainwreck fascination and a major marketing campaign could drive the movie to enough box office to be worth a late round pick. It’s not like you lose box office dollars just because the film fails. If Pan climbs to 50 to 60 million it would have been worth the late round draft pick.

Paper Towns

Opening Thursday July 23rd

Starring Nat Wolff, Cara Delevigne and Halston Sage

Experts Take: John Green could be the next Nicholas Sparks and for Fantasy Draft purposes, that’s value. Sparks’ wheelhouse is in the 60 to 80 million range and if Green fans are as loyal as Sparks fans then Paper Towns could be that late round pick that carries you to Summer Movie Fantasy Box Office Draft Glory.


Opening Thursday July 23rd

Starring Adam Sandler, Kevin James and Michelle Monaghan

Experts Take: I’ve been writing off Adam Sandler for a while and I’ve already explained twice my take on Kevin James’ growing irrelevancy. That said, they aren’t the draw of Pixels. Pac-Man, Donkey Kong and Space Invaders are the stars here and if the film is successfully sold as a family adventure and Pan fails to pan out (Ha!) Pixels has a shot to be a significant hit. I’d wait till round 4 at the earliest for Pixels.

The Gift

Opening Thursday July 30th

Starring Jason Bateman, Joel Edgerton and Rebecca Hall

Experts Take: Countering Mission Impossible with an older skewing thriller isn’t a bad idea but is The Gift the right play in that market? Bateman is best known for his comedic work and doesn’t exactly draw the older crowd The Gift will need. Best bet would be to skip The Gift as Mission Impossible steamrolls it.

Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation

Opening Thursday July 3oth

Experts Take: If you are wondering why Mission  Impossible: Rogue Nation is getting such a late start on the Summer box office it’s likely because filming started later and finished later than other Summer 2015 movies leaving the film to either go head to head with Terminator on July 4th and cannibalize the box office of both, or bide its time and clean up at the end of the season. It’s a smart play and it should pay off with big money as the film has zero opening weekend competition. Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation falls right into that battle with Ant-Man, Minions, and Inside Out for a second round pick.


Opening Thursday July 30th

Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Rachel McAdams and Forrest Whitaker

Experts Take: Complex family drama set against the backdrop of championship boxing doesn’t exactly scream box office blockbuster. Sure, The Fighter managed to earn over 93 million dollars domestic but that film opened in December and hung around through Awards season while garnering Oscar nominations. Southpaw looks like it belongs in December as well and that’s why its likely not a strong fantasy pick. Rank it somewhere among the season’s horror movies and maybe take it if the horror movies are already off the board.


Opening July 30th

Starring Chris Hemsworth, Ed Helms and Chevy Chase

Experts Take: What a strange opening. Vacation belongs deeper into August and not up against Mission Impossible. That’s not to say that they have the exact same audience but Mission Impossible is the wider play. This only works if Vacation is somehow morphed into a family movie, something the original and its sequel most surely were not. Even as a family movie Vacation is still a weak play opposite a monster like Mission Impossible and in the wake of Pixels and Minions. My guess is it could land in that 40 to 50 million dollar range making it a late round pick at best.

Fantastic Four

Opening Thursday August 6th

Starring Miles Teller, Kate Mara and Michael B. Jordan

Experts Take: Tough call. It’s unquestionably a draft choice but where do you take it without over-valuing it? Bad buzz has attached itself to this franchise reboot but there is time to turn things around. If this were a Marvel release I would rank it next to Ant-Man and Mission Impossible as a surefire second round pick. But this isn’t Marvel, it’s Fox, the company that botched Fantastic Four the first time around. The casting is better here but none of these young stars has proven bankable yet. I’d wait on Fantastic Four in the 5th round and let someone else take a fourth round flyer on it.


Opening Thursday August 6th

Starring Zach Galifianakis, Kristen Wiig, and Owen Wilson

Experts Take: The first trailer has arrived and it’s only OK. That said, Zach Galifianakis helped the similarly weak The Campaign to nearly 90 million domestic opening on this same weekend three years ago. Much of your decision on taking Masterminds rests on your confidence in Vacation. Best bet is to take one or the other in a late round. Don’t get stuck with both.

Ricki and the Flash

Opening Thursday August 6th

Starring Meryl Streep, Sebastian Stan and Kevin Kline

Experts Take: This is a strong play for the older crowd. Meryl Streep in a movie that looks like fun is a good draw. It’s Complicated, Julie and Julia, Mamma Mia and The Devil Wears Prada, were each minor blockbusters that either topped or came close to 100 million dollars without having to go beyond Meryl’s older audience base. Yes, Hope Springs, her most recent entry in this genre struggled to just over 60 million but even if Ricki and the Flash falls into that range it’s worth a late round pick with the potential to be a late summer game changer.

The Man from UNCLE

Opening Thursday August 13th

Starring Henry Cavill, Armie Hammer and Alicia Vikander

Experts Take: The teaser trailer was really strong but despite starring Superman and The Lone Ranger, Man From UNCLE still doesn’t feel like a potential blockbuster. Anyone who remembers the TV show is too old to be relied upon to buy a ticket and if the stars don’t increase their appeal I can’t recommend picking UNCLE especially since the film will need a major opening weekend to be relevant so late in the season, box office totals cut off on August 30th.

Straight Outta Compton

Opening Thursday August 13th

Starring O’Shea Jackson Jr, Jason Mitchell and Paul Giamatti

Experts Take: The reaction to this trailer playing before Furious Seven was electric. That said, Furious Seven was PG-13 and Straight Outta Compton will be a hard R. There is nothing wrong with the hard R rating but it will keep teens away making it a slightly limited play. However, its not so limited as to be undraftable. In fact, don’t be surprised to see Straight Outta Compton in the 60 to 70 million domestic range by the end of the season, making it a more than solid mid to late round draft pick.


Opening Thursday August 13th

Starring Matthew Morrison

Experts Take: Ugh! Stay away from this stinker. Animation generally does well at the box office but not when it has been left to fester on a shelf for two years and is dumped into late August. Do not bother.


Opening Thursday August 20th

Starring Gal Gadot, Ryan Reynolds and Gary Oldman

Experts Take: It’s way too late in the season for this movie. Likely won’t make it to 30 million domestic by the end of the season. Not worth a draft pick.

Me Before You

Opening Thursday August 20th

Starring Emilia Clarke and Sam Claflin

Experts Take: Don’t waste the draft pick on a late summer, non-Nicholas Sparks romantic drama.

Sinister 2, Hitman: Agent 47, and Regression

Each of these films is opening far too late in the Fantasy season to be relevant.

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