March 2004 Forecast
By Tim Briody
Once again, it's time to fill out those brackets for your office pool.
Just make sure your athletic director doesn't know about it.
Forget Bennifer. Forget Gigli. This is Kevin Smith. This is Ben Affleck at
his most motivated and therefore his best. It's Smith's first film for
grown-ups and even without Jay and Silent Bob, his established fanbase
will follow. Welcome to the big time, Kevin. Took you long enough.
Starsky and Hutch
Okay, I admit it. After the Super Bowl commercial, I was stunned
speechless. Owen Wilson is funny. Ben Stiller can be funny. Zoolander was
funny. Why, then, did they produce this monster turkey? But as the
commercials started airing regularly, they somehow started to get better
and funnier. While the duo may have been trying a little too hard to
promote the movie at the Academy Awards, they should still be rewarded
with a decent run during the month.
The Passion of The Christ
Yeah, you heard me. It earned $125 million in the last five days of
February and it will be the highest grossing film in the month of March,
too. This is what happens when you have a film that targets a massive
untapped audience. Once the church groups clear out, look for the idly
curious to finally check out the film, thus adding to its already hefty
Dawn of the Dead
At the very least, it'll be the most money a movie with Sarah Polley has
ever earned. At the very best, we have a new classic horror film and more
George Romero remakes get greenlighted. Aren't win/win situations the
Hey, it worked for Spider Man with Seabiscuit, so why not with Aragorn?
Westerns and horses are somewhat en vogue now, so it could pay off, but
really, the biggest thing this has going for it is Viggo Mortensen. If he
gained enough of a fanbase that will follow him to another film not called
The Lord of the Rings, then Disney will have a hit on their hands. If they
don't, Michael Eisner might agree with Foxtrot when they said Orlando
Bloom ruined everything.
The Johnny Depp film has a leg up on a couple of other releases this month
due to 1) the fact that it stars Depp, who is fresh off an Oscar
nomination and 2) it's a week ahead of the other thrillers to hit theaters
in March, Dawn of the Dead and Taking Lives. Being based on something
written by Stephen King doesn't hurt, either.
First Round Upsets
Despite the star power of George Clooney and Catherine Zeta-Jones, the
Joel and Ethan Coen's Intolerable Cruelty ended up with only $35.1 million
last fall. The words "box office disappointment" and "Tom Hanks" have not
been used together since That Thing You Do! This is a classic case of
irresistible force meets immovable object. With The Ladykillers, the Coens
will have their highest grossing film ever and Hanks will have his lowest
earning film in a very long time.
Scooby Doo 2
As much as it sucked, you don't take the sequel to a film that opened to
$54 million lightly. That said, witness last year as multiple high profile
sequels crashed and burned, with some not even coming close to the
earnings of the original films. We can only hope for something similar to
happen here. Remember kids, only you can prevent Freddie Prinze, Jr.
Somehow, I can buy Angelina Jolie as a British treasure hunter over
Angelina Jolie as an FBI agent. In either case, she hasn't quite
solidified herself as a box office draw yet and the previews just aren't
doing it for me. Most audiences might go for Depp's Secret Window or Dawn
of the Dead over this one.
Play In Game
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
I'll be there. But no one else will. Charlie Kaufman films are just far
too bizarre for the average moviegoer to fathom. Even with Jim Carrey,
viewers are just going to stay far away from this one.
Agent Cody Banks 2
It wasn't another Spy Kids like MGM hoped, but dammit, that doesn't mean
they're not going to spare us from a sequel. The now-too-old-for-this-crap
Frankie Muniz returns as the kid spy. Hilary Duff, the co-star from the
first film, is now too famous to do the sequel. That's not a good sign
either. MGM will be lucky to get even half of the take of the first film
the second time around.
Never Die Alone
The pairing of DMX with untalented white guys worked in 2001 with Exit
Wounds, and Fox Searchlight looks for similar success here by pairing the
rapper/actor with untalented white guy David Arquette. The results won't
be as spectacular, but DMX is still a name to watch in the future. Call it
a decent opening and a quick death.
It's David Mamet. While it may very well be a good movie, this is all you
really need to know when debating its box office prospects.
Read Marty Doskins's March Forecast
Read Walid Habboub's March Forecast
Read Kim Hollis's March Forecast
Read Zach Kolkin's March Forecast
Read David Mumpower's March Forecast