Saturday, April 6, 2013

Movie Preview: April 2013

So far 2013 has been a down year for movies. Thanks to Oz the Great and Powerful, The Croods, and GI Joe: Retaliation, this past March did decent business, but yet still followed the downward trend as it wasn't as big as 2012 or 2010. May of this year could be the month that finally gets the movie business going with such hits like Iron Man 3, Star Trek Into Darkness, and Fast and Furious 6, but in the meantime we have to trudge through what should be another down month in April. Now April isn't quite a dumping ground for movies, but it is typically a quiet month as the world begins to prepare for the beginning of Hollywood's summer months via the month of May. This April will continue that trend due to the sole fact that there are only seven new movies out, one being a 3D re-release. Also the fact that only one of the seven  looks to be a big hit doesn't really help this month's case. However, there usually is a few sleeper movies in months like these that some don't catch, so lets begin.

April 5th - 7th - 

As I just mentioned, one of the seven movies to open this month is actually an old movie that is coming back to theaters after being converted to 3D. That movie would be 1993's Jurassic Park in this first weekend of April. In terms of live action movies being re-released in 3D, Jurassic Park follows Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace and Titanic to get the honor. Neither of those two did great business, unless you are counting international totals that is, but honestly in my opinion it didn't really make much sense to re-release those two movies. Star Wars did it because the franchise loves milking as much money as possible and Titanic did it because James Cameron's other huge movie Avatar was the pioneer in modern-day 3D movies. But yet in terms of the actual movies, seeing those movies in 3D wasn't that special. Jurassic Park on the other hand seems like a fantastic idea. First off, despite being a favorite movie with a lot of people, most people under the age of 30 never got to experience the first Jurassic Park in theaters. More importantly, though, it just seems like a great idea to go watch dinosaurs jump out and scare/eat people in 3D. I'm normally opposed to 3D movies, I don't see the point, but this one I am excited for and I know if I'm excited for this it means that a lot of other people should be excited for this and so this will most likely be the best of the three live action 3D re-releases of late.

Challenging the Jurassic Park crowd will be yet another horror movie. Horror movies are a dime a dozen and usually have practically the same plot so their ceiling as far as the box office goes isn't very high, but occasionally there will be one that breaks out as a minor hit and that could actually be the case with Evil Dead. This is actually a horror remake of Sam Raimi's Evil Dead movies from the 80's. Yes, the same Sam Raimi that just did the family movie Oz the Great and Powerful. Those two Evil Dead movies are known as one of the more graphic movies ever made as the first earned an NC-17 rating while the second earned the now extinct X rating. This month's remake isn't quite at that level as it earned the R rating and not the NC-17, but it is being advertised as the scariest movie you'll ever see. That's a bold claim and probably not true, although technically that's all opinion-based, but that tagline will attract a good crowd and so far the film is well liked as it currently has a 7.7 on IMDb and an 83% fresh rating on rottentomatoes, both of which are extremely high for a horror movie, so if you are a fan of horror movies, this is probably one worth checking out.

April 12th - 14th -

Coming to us in the second weekend of April is the story of one of the greatest sports legends of all time, that being Jackie Robinson. Now the movie is titled 42, which I think is somewhat of a lame title. Out of all things to name Jackie Robinson's movie after, I don't know why they decided to name it after  his jersey number. I think the casual movie goer will look at that movie title and have no idea what it's about and thus skip it. Had it been named something like "The Legend of Jackie Robinson" it might've been able to attract a greater audience, but it is what it is. I don't actually think the advertising for this movie has been strong, so it may not be a huge box office hit, but when they have advertised it they do know the audience they are going for as it has been all over ESPN and similar channels. Now as you know by glancing over my blog posts, I am a big sports fan and thus I usually enjoy sports movie, as long as they are done well. There are too many sports movies that are not necessarily unique stories in the sports world and there are also too many that change the actual story too much. Want examples of these? Ok. Moneyball is the story of the Oakland A's team that uses statistics to find baseball gems and the movie makes it seem like that was a groundbreaking idea for that A's team in that year when it fact that strategy was and still is a fairly common. My other example I'll give is the popular movie Blindside. Offensive tackle Michael Oher, who the movie is based on, didn't actually like the way the movie portrayed him. They portrayed him as a big, dumb, black kid who had never heard of football before when in fact he was a pretty bright student in school and had played football for quite sometime when he was taken in by that family in the movie. However, I think 42 can avoid these two things as Jackie Robinson's story is very unique as he was the first black baseball player to play in the MLB. I see this as a Remember the Titans esque movie and thus it should be interested. The actor who plays Jackie Robinson is an unknown actor, which I think is a good idea, but in terms of cast the movie also includes Harrison Ford and Alan Tudyk which should be great.

Combating 42 this weekend is yet another sequel in a franchise that should've been finished a long time ago and this movie would be Scary Movie 5. Now the Scary Movies have always done a decent job of attracting a crowd. Three of the four opened above $40. Scary Movie 2 was the oddball that only opened to $20M, but it still more than tripled that total by ending at $70M. Two of the four crossed the $100M mark in their final total. The first one was obviously the biggest by opening to $150M back in 2000 (equivalent to $230M in 2013), but even the second and fourth ones who didn't cross $100M managed decent totals with $70M and $90M respectively. However, Scary Movie 5 looks to be a franchise killer. First off, it's been seven years since number four and that's enough time for the hype of this series to die down. If they had wanted to bring the excitement back with this new one, they aren't doing a very good job. The Wayans are long gone and have nothing to do with this movie and so are most of the original writers and original cast. Instead, the main writers are some of the minor writers from the other ones and we get a cast that includes Lindsey Lohan and Charlie Sheen. Not quite the recipe for success. Moreover, the trailer doesn't even make you laugh when you watch it. Yikes?

April 19th - 21st - 

There is only one movie coming out this weekend and that one should be the biggest movie of the month in Oblivion. The end of the Mayan Calendar was an event that some people thought would end the world. While that didn't happen, what did happen is the anticipation of the event sparked many movie makers to make movies about either the White House being taken over or the world ending / nearly ending. Already this year we have had Warm Bodies, The Croods, Olympus Has Fallen, and GI Joe: Retaliation that all somehow fall into one of these categories. Perhaps people will be tired of these movies as several more come out in the next few months, but Oblivion should be pretty popular and will have at least two weeks to dominate before Iron Man 3 sweeps the Box Office to start the Hollywood summer. Oblivion stars Tom Cruise and Morgan Freeman, both of which are two of the more popular actors in Hollywood. Tom Cruise is coming fresh off of Jack Reacher, which started slow but strong word of mouth caused it to be a pretty big hit, Cruise himself getting praise for the role. Also working in his favor was the recent Mission Impossible 4 from a year ago that also gave Cruise praise, so his fortunes for Oblivion is looking up.

April 26th - 28th - 

Last and honestly probably least we get the two movies that are daring enough to open in the shadow of Iron Man 3. First up is Michael Bay's Pain & Gain. This movie is actually based on a true story about a body builder gym in Miami, Florida in the 90's. Before writing this paragraph, I came upon the article containing this story and it is a rather interesting and very lengthy story and if you want to check it out, you can do so here. Basically, the leaders of this gym are rogue and form a gang that kidnaps and tortures a man to get his money. This movie is currently not rated, but is expected to be R and if you read the article you can definitely see why. It's possible, though, that they are trying to fight that R rating, but I doubt they win if they are. It will certainly be interesting to see what Michael Bay does with this story because he is typically known for his action which oftentimes includes poor stories. When you watch the trailer, it appears to be trying to be a comedic action movie where you like the gang trio which includes Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne Johnson and that makes me believe that this movie will fail because the story is super crazy and serious where you are really hating the gang with a passion, not enjoying their comedic jokes and action. Also, it is going to have to be really good if it wants box office success, because if it ends up as a mediocre action movie, it is going to be swallowed up by Iron Man 3 in it's second week of business.

Final movie of the month is The Big Wedding, a romantic comedy starring Robert De Niro, Robin Williams, Amanda Seyfried, Katherine Heigl, Diane Keaton, Topher Grace, Susan Sarandon, and others, so it's quite the star studded cast. The R rating also indicates that this will be a raunchy comedy and for those who like that style, Identity thief business is over and so fans of that style will be eager for another movie to watch, thus meaning that despite opening in the shadow of Iron Man 3, if this movie is liked enough, then it has potential to do good business despite the busy May because of the targeted audience for it. Now I don't really need to tell you what it's about, just go read the title again, but once you do you may be reminded of another raunchy wedding comedy that made huge business in the middle of May two years ago and I am of course talking about Bridesmaids. This movie is obviously shooting to attract that crowd so it can make a similar total of $170M, but if it is not well liked it has the potential of doing the same type of business as The Five-Year Engagement. That movie is another raunchy wedding comedy that also opened up in the last weekend of April, just like The Big Wedding. However, that movie only made $30M total domestically last year opening up in the shadow of The Avengers, so anything could happen with it. If it follows the trend of disappointing movies this year, it will be the latter rather than the former, but we will see. 

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