Friday, May 3, 2013

Movie Preview: May 2013

April is over and once again it followed this terrible downward trend from this year. Now I have to be fair to March because that performed decently even though it still was down from 2011, but April removed any positive effect that March had on this year. The biggest movie of the month was March holdover The Croods, while baseball movie 42 took the honors of being the biggest wide release. Oblivion will pass 42 here soon, but in terms of pure April money, 42 wins after having the advantage of being out a week longer. Evil Dead did decent money for a horror movie and Jurassic Park 3D was about on par with the other two 3D re-releases in Phantom Menace and Titanic. Meanwhile, Scary Movie 5, Pain and Gain, and The Big Wedding all disappointed. To be fair, Pain and Gain did have a decent opening weekend, but with poor reviews and Iron Man 3 coming out, it will disappear quickly. 42 and Oblivion ended the month with $70M and will both sneak their way towards $100M, but both will probably fall short and leave this April without a $100M movie. With this downward spiraling trend this year, if there is a month that can stop that and reverse the fortunes of 2013, this May should do the trick as this month has a huge title every weekend. Last May had The Avengers bank in over $600M but outside that it only produced one other movie that broke $100M. The May record belongs to 2011 and that month brought in five movies that passed the $100M mark. This May has seven movies that have realistic potential of passing that mark, four of which are guaranteed while the three others have the possibility of succumbing under intense competition. So lets check all of them out and get you excited as the Summer movie season will be officially underway.

May 3rd - 5th - 

Starting Summer off with a huge bang will be none other than Iron Man 3. Oftentimes when big box office hits have somewhat lackluster sequels, as was the case with Iron Man, you might expect a drop off in the box office, but as is already shown by the huge overseas total thus far, Iron Man will buck that trend with the third installment because it will instead be playing off Avengers instead of Iron Man 2. This installment is going for the darker tone as Tony Stark is apparently having PTSD-like symptoms after dealing with the events of the Avengers. On top of that, Tony has to deal with the Mandarin, who currently is looking like the best villain of the trilogy. This movie will definitely be the highest grossing movie of the trilogy and while it won't be as big as The Avengers, look for it to earn somewhere between last year's hits The Hunger Games and The Dark Knight Rises.

May 10th - 12th - 

This spot right here is always a tough one for new movies and that is especially the case this year as there are two new movies that are daring enough to sandwich themselves in between Iron Man 3 and Star Trek Into Darkness. However, the first of those two movies, The Great Gatsby, has a good chance of doing solid business. The Great Gatsby has been a long awaited movie as it was originally scheduled for Christmas of this past year but opted to reschedule for May in a somewhat perplexing move. Yes, it did have intense competition for Django Unchained, Les Mis, and The Hobbit, but trying to compete with Iron Man 3 and Star Trek Into Darkness doesn't seem like much of an upgrade. It does have it's own weekend to lure crowds, but if it turns out disappointing, it will easily get swallowed up in a busy May. Also, opening in December it had some Oscar buzz swirling around it and I don't know if that will be the case with it opening in May because for some reason when it's Oscar time, the Academy seems to forget that there were movies that opened up in the first two thirds of the year. If you don't know much about the Great Gatsby, it's a classic novel written by F Scott Fitzgerald. This movie adaption of it is written and directed by Baz Luhrmann, the director of Moulin Rouge and Romeo + Juliet (1996). The movie stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Toby McGuire, and Carey Mulligan.

Also coming out this week is Tyler Perry's Peeples. It seems like there are 500 of these movies released every year (2-4 being realistic) and they all do pretty decent business regardless of what other movies come out along with it so Tyler Perry has a pretty faithful fan base that will watch anything and everything he does regardless of quality, so look for this to be similar to his other movies.

May 17th - 19th - 

As was the case in week one of May, no one dares challenge the second guaranteed hit of the month in Star Trek Into Darkness. Now Star Trek is something that will never really die, so I don't know if revive is the right word, but JJ Abrams definitely awoke the franchise from hibernation with his 2009 Star Trek reboot. Despite being less Star Trekkie then Star Trek movies should be, the movie was a huge hit and extremely well liked and that led it to be the biggest Star Trek movie ever in terms of box office gross, even when you adjust for ticket price inflation and the fact that it was well liked means that this second one should be in for a similar haul. Some people get mad at movie franchises for doing excessive sequels, but Star Trek is a franchise that is definitely immune to that. Personally I have never been a fan of the name of this sequel and I'm nervous that I may be cheering for the villain in this because Benedict Cumberbatch is just that awesome, but hey. It still should be really fun.

May 24th - 27th - 

Just like it does every year, Memorial Day will be coming to a Monday near you on the fourth Monday this month, thus extending the fourth weekend and making for a popular movie weekend. This Memorial Day Weekend has the mixings to be either one of the biggest Memorial Day weekends ever or one of the more self-destructive Memorial Day weekends ever as it features three new movies, two of which are trying to attract similar crowds. The ultimate winner of the duel should be Fast and Furious 6. The Fast and Furious franchise has been a very unique one to say the least. First off, there are not many franchises that get a part 6 and out of the ones that do, few of them are this highly anticipated. This is because Fast Five surprised many people and was the best movie of the franchise both financially and in terms how well it was received. The ending of Fast Five also left you a pretty big cliff hanger and so fans of that movie have been looking forward to number 6 ever since the end of 5. Dwayne Johnson, Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster and the rest of the crew all will return in this one.

The movie competing with Fast and Furious 6 in the potentially self-destructing battle is The Hangover Part III. The Hangover Franchise is one of the most successful comedy franchises and definitely the most successful R-rated raunchy comedy franchise as the original Hangover was a huge breakout with $277M and was popular enough to propel Part II to $254M. The issue with Part II was that it was poorly received and thus Part III has very little chance to make to the level of the first two. Nevertheless it should still have no problem making it to at least $100M by the end of its run.

Unaffected by those two movies this weekend will be our third potential hit of the weekend in Epic. This is a family friendly animated movie and thus family audiences will flock to it throughout Memorial Day weekend. Epic comes from Blue Sky, which is the animation studio that made Ice Age. Despite their huge international success with the Ice Age franchise internationally, they have yet to make a movie that crosses the $200M mark domestically, but yet all seven of their animated movies have crossed the $100M mark and with the lack of animated movies thus far this year, a decent, yet not "epic" total should be expected.

May 31st - June 2nd - 

The last weekend of May is really mostly in June and only one day in May, but I am counting it as May because it starts in May. Sue me. This should a busy weekend with all the holdovers from Memorial Day, but in terms of new releases it may be the weakest. First up we have our next movie in a long string of post apocalyptic movies in After Earth. The most recent movie in this string this year was Oblivion and it did decent business in April, but ultimately will get swallowed up in May and fall short of $100M. After Earth was recently scheduled for June 7th, but it made the smart decision to avoid Man of Steel as much as possible and move back a week to this weekend so that it can have two weeks before it gets killed instead of one week. After Earth does star Will Smith and he usually always huge at the box office. Starting with the monster hit Independence Day in 1996, he has been in 17 movies and 14 of those have earned more than $100M, so history would say he follows that trend, but in a busy Summer it's hard to see that there will be enough interest to take it too far. It does have Will's son Jaden Smith in it, which should help a little more as we see the father/son relationship drama between Will and Jaden as they do play father and son in the movie. This movie could cross $100M, but if it does, it will be by the skin of its teeth.

Last but not least we have one of the more intriguing movies of the month that will also probably be the most ignored movie. That would be Now You See Me. What this movie is is a magician heist movie. The FBI is investigating an illusionist group who perform bank robberies as a part of their performances and award the audience with the money. This has quite the loaded cast as it includes Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Woody Harrelson, and Isla Fisher. The immediate movie I think of when trying to compare it is The Prestige. Is it going to be as mind blowing as that? I don't know. Probably not. But point is that The Prestige was another magician movie with a loaded cast and despite the fact that many people include it in their list of favorite movies, it actually didn't attract much in terms of box office as it topped out around $50M. At this point in May, people may be burned out with all the money they have spent on major movies and may be saving their money for the continued onslaught of big movies in June and July and skip over this one.

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