Summer Movie Guide: June

Sci-fi, folk tales take a front seat.

Fanboys are salivating for Ridley Scott's Prometheus, headlining Noomi Rapace and Michael Fassbender. The Fox release isn't intended as a prequel, per se, to Scott's 1979 classic Alien, but there is a definite connection -- though the filmmakers are trying to keep a lid on it. Prometheus, opening June 8, should have more than enough room to maneuver. There's not another action tentpole for three weeks, when Paramount sends its sequel G.I. Joe: Retaliation into the field. (G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra grossed $302.5 million worldwide in August 2009, good enough to launch a franchise.) This time, G.I. Joe features Dwayne Johnson, who has morphed into a worldwide star and should boost the pic's potential, as well as Bruce Willis. Returning castmembers include Channing Tatum, who will compete with himself because his male-stripper flick Magic Mike opens on the same date. The action movies don't just belong to the guys, though. On June 1, Universal serves up Snow White and the Huntsman, starring Charlize Theron and Kristen Stewart, who in this retelling becomes a woman warrior. The studio is determined to make the film acces-sible to males as well as females, but Hollywood has had a hard time turning fairy tales into four-quadrant hits, as evidenced by the poor performances of Red Riding Hood and Mirror Mirror.

June's comedy spotlight will go to That's My Boy, starring Adam Sandler opposite Andy Samberg and Leighton Meester. Opening June 15, it features Sandler as a derelict dad who tries to reunite with his son on the eve of the son's wedding. Sandler's most recent film, Jack and Jill, was a disappointment for the usually Teflon-coated comedian, grossing $74.2 million domestically and $148.8 million worldwide. Sony is counting on That's My Boy to reverse Sandler's mild slump, while the studio's specialty division, Sony Pictures Classics, will see if its June release, Woody Allen's To Rome With Love, can duplicate some of the success of Allen's Midnight in Paris.

JUNE AT A GLANCE

June 1:

  • Battlefield America (Cinedigm)
  • Snow White and the Huntsman (Universal)

June 8:

  • Prometheus (Fox)
  • Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted (DWA/paramount)

June 15:

  • Rock of Ages (Warner Bros./New Line)
  • That's My Boy (Sony)

June 22:

  • Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (Fox)
  • Brave (Disney/Pixar)
  • Seeking a Friend for the End of the World (Focus)

June 29:

  • G.I. Joe: Retaliation (Paramount)
  • Magic Mike (Warner Bros./New Line)
  • People Like Us (Disney/DreamWorks)

JUNE 15: Lots of Skin

This month, plenty of male flesh will be on display in New Line's big-screen adaptation of the raucous Broadway musical Rock of Ages and Steven Soderbergh's Magic Mike, based on Channing Tatum's days as a stripper (Warner Bros. is releasing both movies). Rock, which opens June 15 opposite Sony's Adam Sandler/Andy Samberg comedy That's My Boy, headlines singer Julianne Hough and Diego Boneta with an ensemble cast including Tom Cruise as a heavy-metal rocker, Russell Brand, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Alec Baldwin and Mary J. Blige. Opening two weeks later, Mike stars Tatum as a veteran stripper who shows the ropes to a newcomer, played by Alex Pettyfer. Matthew McConaughey plays their boss, a former stripper who owns the club Xquisite.

JUNE 22: Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

The Fox release might be the most unusual film on the summer calendar. It definitely isn't your usual history lesson. Based on the novel by Seth Grahame-Smith -- who also wrote the book Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, which Lionsgate is making into a film -- the genre mash-up reimagines a young Abe Lincoln as a vampire hunter. (Turns out in this telling, vampires are responsible for the Civil War and all sorts of other strife.) Wanted's Timur Bekmambetov directed from a script by Grahame-Smith and Simon Kinberg. Benjamin Walker plays Lincoln, Mary Elizabeth Winstead is Mary Todd Lincoln and Dominic Cooper appears to school the future president in the art of vampire-fighting. Steven Spielberg's upcoming Lincoln could have a hard act to follow.

ALL MONTH LONG: Madagascar 3 vs. Brave: DreamWorks, Pixar Duke It Out

This year, rivals Pixar and DreamWorks Animation both chose June releases for their summer offerings. After it premieres at the Cannes Film Festival in May, DWA's Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted hits theaters in North America on June 8. It has only two weeks of play before Brave opens June 22. Brave is the first title in Pixar history to be built around a female heroine. The story, set in Scotland, centers on the determined Merida, voiced by Boardwalk Empire's Kelly Macdonald. A skilled archer, she vows to chart her own course in life, much to the horror of her royal parents, King Fergus and Queen Elinor, played by Billy Connolly and Emma Thompson.

Indies to Watch

  • Lots of Skin Bel Ami (June 8, Magnolia)
  • Lola Versus (June 8, Fox Searchlight)
  • Peace, Love & Misunderstanding (June 8, IFC)
  • To Rome With Love (June 22, Sony Pictures Classics)
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