This month was particularly tricky for me to put my top 10 films in an order I liked. And I'm still not thrilled with my final results. We're definitely seeing a group of films that should bring in more dollars overall. However, I think the bottom of the list will increase more than the top of the list.
April 2006 Forecast
By Marty Doskins
April 4, 2006
Let's move on to my (not very confident) top 10 for April 2006.
1. Lucky Number Slevin
It's not a good way to start off the top 10 to say this, but I'm not very confident about my top pick for April. There's been a big marketing push from the studio for the release of this film and I'm thinking it'll pay off at the box office. The ads have shown a lot of good action shots and built up curiosity about the story. We should also see a jump in Josh Hartnett's star power with this release. There's also a very strong supporting cast with Lucy Liu, Ben Kingsley, Bruce Willis, and Morgan Freeman. Any combination of these thespians could easily pull off a blockbuster on their own. But again, I'm not sure about the overall strength of the public's interest in this movie.
2. United 93
The time has come for us to look back at those events of September 11, 2001 from a historical perspective. This is the story of the plane that was brought down in Pennsylvania, allegedly by its own passengers. However, there are still a lot of people that haven't or can't put this tragedy behind them. And I think this release may see the effects from this. As I write this, there has already been one theater that has pulled this film's trailer. And I don't expect that this will be the last bit of controversy surrounding this film. With that being said, I think there will be enough curiosity about this movie that will bring it toward the top of this month's releases.
3. Take the Lead
Usually you don't see TV advertising for a film until a few weeks before release. This film has been one of the exceptions. I've been seeing ads for a couple months now and they have been pretty constant. Not overwhelming, but enough to keep the film in the public's minds without them tiring of it. We have the addition of a big star, Antonio Banderas. Plus, there is the recent popularity of the TV show Dancing with the Stars. I'm sure there'll be some effect from that audience. All of these factors will really help this film open well and stay up on the charts.
4. Scary Movie 4
Opens fairly well. Drops like a stone. Theaters remove it before the summer season starts at the end of May.
5. The Wild
This film is definitely playing off the success of Madagascar. Zoo animals trying to make it in the "jungle" of New York City. While you will get the usual audience of kids and their parents, this film won't come anywhere near the success of Madagascar. It will still make a solid showing, but don't expect it to last too long. As usual with children's movies, it should find a fulfilling second life on home video in a few months.
6. The Sentinel
I guess Kiefer Sutherland had some time off from filming 24 to make a couple movies that are being released this month (he's also a voice in The Wild). He's really built a following with his television work for 5 seasons of 24. And it looks like he's going to try to carry it over to movies. Plus, the rest of the main cast isn't too shabby either - Michael Douglas, Kim Basinger, and another TV star, Eva Longoria.
Looks like the studio is trying to get the public's buy-in for this film by having Robin Williams as the star attraction. I think it will work to some extent, but I don't think it will take it to the heights that studios try to shoot for. Having a big name star doesn't usually save a bad movie. It seems to usually hurt the start in the long run, but I think this will be an exception for Mr. Williams. The film will do well enough to stay in the bottom part of the list.
8. The Benchwarmers
The Bad News Bears all grown up? Not really. You hear a lot of complaints from people that Hollywood doesn't put out quality films. But if people keep going to see stuff like this, why should they bother? They can churn out movies of this caliber much than they can real quality offerings. This film will be toward the bottom of the list, but it will still send a message to the studios that they can keep putting this stuff out and get those big year-end bonuses.
9. Silent Hill
This is a horror film for the horror fans. And they'll answer the call, like usual. But it could easily end up farther up the list than number 9.
10. Stick It
Here's a film that appeals to the all-important teen demographic. They spend all of their parents' money! The teens have bee given films about cheerleading, ice-skating, and now gymnastics. There's usually not much star power at all with these films so that's not a factor. It's all about the teens parting their parents with their money.
Michael Bentley's April 2006 Forecast