Friday, May 1, 2015

Movie Preview: May 2015

Summer doesn't officially start until June 21st according to the calendar, but in Hollywood it begins on the first weekend of May and goes through July, with leftovers coming in the first half of August. Yes, there are movies in the first third of the year that do great business. Just look at Furious 7 from this past month as a great example. But for the most part, studios save what they view as their biggest titles for the Summer. This Summer is loaded with a whole bunch of big titles that will be consistently attracting movie fans to theaters every weekend. I'm not going to look at the whole Summer right now, but instead I will be diving into this first month of the Summer which will be huge mainly because of what's opening in the first weekend, but there's still plenty of noteworthy movies throughout. So without further ado, lets jump in!

May 1st - 3rd-

This here is Marvel's spot. Only twice since 2008 has Marvel Studios not opened the Summer with one of their major films from the Marvel Cinematic Universe and even those two movies that weren't were Marvel comic book characters (The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and X-Men Origins: Wolverine), so you can say it's now a Hollywood tradition to start the Summer off with a major Marvel comic book movie. DC tried to take that spot away from Marvel with Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, but once they found out that Marvel's Summer opener next year was going to be Captain America: Civil War, they immediately retreated to the end of March. Getting to this year's Summer opener, you all knew that Avengers: Age of Ultron is opening this Summer. The critics aren't that ecstatic about this highly anticipated sequel, but movie fans don't care about that and many fans that have already seen it, like those who got it overseas last weekend, have still loved this despite the critic reviews. Will this make as much money as the first? Worldwide it probably will. In the U.S. that is in question as it might fall a bit short, but that's only because the first set a huge bar. Regardless of that though, it does seem very likely that this breaks the opening weekend record that was set by the first back in 2012. I don't need to tell you what this is about. I'm sure you've already gathered the whole idea of Ultron trying to kill off the Avengers. New Avengers characters will be officially introduced in this movie, two of which are Elizabeth Olsen as Scarlet Witch and Aaron Taylor Johnson as Quicksilver.

May 8th - 10th-

Opening the weekend after a huge movie like Avengers: Age of Ultron is usually a really bad idea, which is why studios wait at least two weeks before trying to enter the market after a movie event like this. However, Warner Bros. has decided to see if they can provide a bit of counter programming this week with Hot Pursuit. When I personally think of the title Hot Pursuit, I think of the Need For Speed franchise with video games Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit and Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit 2. In case you are wondering, no this is not a sequel to last year's movie Need For Speed (which is happening, by the way). Even though I hope the eventual Need For Speed sequel is subtitled Hot Pursuit, this month Hot Pursuit is referring to a PG-13-rated comedy starring Reese Witherspoon and Sofia Vergara. Those not interested in the high octane Avengers sequel might be in the mood for a comedy,  which means this could be a decent hit for a movie opening up right after Age of Ultron, especially since this is aimed at a female audience. What immediately comes to mind is last year's The Other Woman which was another PG-13-rated comedy aimed at females that did well for itself around this time last year. The big thing that might hurt this isn't actually Age of Ultron, it's the fact that Pitch Perfect 2 gets released the very next weekend, which is aiming for the same audience.

Hot Pursuit is the only major release that has decided to go up against Avengers: Age of Ultron in this second weekend. However, there is another movie worth mentioning here that is getting a moderate release this weekend and that is The D Train. If you haven't heard of this, it's a film that caused a bit of a stir at the Sundance Film Festival a few months ago. This stars Jack Black as the head of a high school reunion committee who travels to convince the most popular guy in their class, played by James Marsden, to come to their high school reunion. I didn't go to Sundance, so I haven't seen this, but I read a lot about it and let's just say that something happens in the film that caught a lot of people by surprise. If that makes you curious, you can go search this movie and read for yourself. I'm not going to spoil it here. This won't make many ripples in the box office, but those interested in the smaller festival-type movies will be searching this one out.

May 15th - 17th-

By the third weekend of May, Avengers: Age of Ultron will have died down enough for studios to feel comfortable releasing something new and this weekend has two big movies that are sure to split genders this weekend. Aiming at the male population will be Mad Max: Fury Road. This may be a bit too dark and violent to be a real huge hit, but needless to say there is a lot of buzz with this. The Mad Max movies were a fairly popular trilogy of movies back in the 1980's that were written and directed by George Miller and starred Mel Gibson as the character Max. George Miller is back on board as writer and director of this reboot, which stars Tom Hardy as Max and co-stars Charlize Theron and Nicholas Hoult, so it has quite a bit of star power. The trailers have also had positive reaction that have gotten Mad Max fans pretty excited for this.

On the female side of things, there is also Pitch Perfect 2 this weekend. It'll be interesting to see which of these movies comes out on top because both have their fair share of fans and thus both should do pretty well. Pitch Perfect was a bit of a surprise hit back in Fall of 2012 and thus became so popular that the sequel has been promoted from a Fall movie to a Summer movie. The Glee-style musical comedy is the type of movie where a sequel is pretty easy to throw together and please fans, so that's what they've done. Pitch Perfect 2 brings back much of the same cast including Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Elizabeth Banks, Brittany Snow, and Alexis Knapp and even has star Elizabeth Banks on board to direct this sequel. It promises the same type of laughs and music that made the first a big hit, so fans of Pitch Perfect are sure to be pleased with this one.

May 22nd - 24th- 

It's a foregone conclusion that Age of Ultron will rule the box office for the first two weekends of May and barring either Age of Ultron plummeting extremely hard or a huge breakout performance from Mad Max: Fury Road or Pitch Perfect 2, Age of Ultron will probably rule for a third weekend. However, this fourth weekend will definitely be the week it gets dethroned from the top and taking that crown will be Disney again with Tomorrowland, making for a pretty good month for the company. There's a lot of good things that this movie has in it's favor. The first is successfully gaining interest from a lot of people without giving away much about the movie. We know that there is a special land called Tomorrowland and we know that Britt Robertson will be taken there by George Clooney, but that's really all we know. The second thing this has going for it is it will give family audiences something to look forward to since they have been neglected recently. Home and Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 are the only two movies in the last couple of months that have actually been directed at family audiences. The third thing this has going for it is that it is directed by Brad Bird, who directed The Incredibles and Mission: Impossibe - Ghost Protocol. With the success of both of these movies, Bird has proven his versatility in both animated and live action, thus making him a very reliable director. Look for Tomorrowland to be a fairly decent hit.

The other movie from the weekend will be providing some good counter-programming to everything else from this month as we have the horror movie Poltergeist. This, of course, isn't just any run of the mill horror movie. Poltergeist was a 1982 horror movie that was written and produced by none other than Steven Spielberg himself and is considered by many a horror classic. So this makes this the second 80's remake of the month alongside Mad Max: Fury Road. Unlike Mad Max, though, Poltergeist doesn't have the same crew on board to do this, so it's in much more tricky territory. Horror movies in general have a very hit-and-miss track record. Either it becomes a huge hit and spawns multiple sequels due to it's low budget or it completely bombs. This could go either way. But if it's not excellent, it'll certainly be labeled as another useless remake and fade away quickly, so they need to bring their A-game here.

May 29th - 31st-

Finishing off the month are a pair of movies with decent potential. The first is the disaster movie San Andreas. The San Andreas Fault is one of the more dangerous faults in the United States at least that has plagued the state of California with many earthquakes throughout the years. If you haven't heard much about this film, you might look at that title and wonder which earthquake in history they are basing this off of. Then all it takes is for you to watch the trailer to realize that the answer is none of them. This is an exaggerated fictional disaster movie based off the infamous violent fault. These types of fictional disaster movies definitely can work out and entertain audiences, but too many of them end up being non-impressive. Immediately what comes to mind is last year's Into the Storm. Thus if there was any big movie this month that has the potential to be destroyed by critics, I would place my money on this. Speaking of money, though, the advertising with this has focused heavily on star Dwayne Johnson, who has proven multiple times to be a big box office draw, so money might be in this movie's future, regardless of how it's received.

Last but certainly not least is Cameron Crowe's latest movie Aloha. Based on the cast and director, this was initially thought to be a potential Oscar contender last year before it got moved to May. Crowe won a best original screenplay Oscar for his work in Almost Famous and also earned two Oscar nominations for Jerry Maguire, which included a best picture nomination. He's only directed three movies since his win in 2001 for Almost Famous, and even though he didn't receive any major Oscar nominations for those, they are still very well liked movies, his most recent outing being We Bought a Zoo. The cast for Aloha? Check this out: Bradley Cooper, Emma Stone, Rachel McAdams, John Krasinski, Bill Murray, Jay Baruchel, Alec Baldwin, and Danny McBride. Yeah. Fans of Cameron Crowe's movies are definitely going to want to check this one out.

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