April 2007 Forecast

By Michael Bentley

April 6, 2007

Bentley didn't pick this, but we don't care. We love the picture.

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Spring is in full bloom and that means another exciting month at the box office. What will you be seeing?

1) Grindhouse

Grindhouse is one of the more anticipated "fanboy"-type films of the year (after 300, and of course the upcoming Spider-Man 3). The project is a dual effort from friends Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez, with both directors piloting feature length movies that have been combined into one three hour movie along with a couple fake trailers (by other well-known directors including Eli Roth and Rob Zombie) thrown in for good measure. It is an ode to 1970s era exploitation B-movies. Tarantino did Death Proof, a sort of horror movie about a psychotic driver (Kurt Russell), and Rodriguez filmed Planet Terror, a zombie movie which features a woman with a gun for a leg (Rose McGowan).

Sounds like a lot of fun. But I don't expect it to perform anywhere near as well as the blockbuster 300 or any of the upcoming summer sequels. As loyal as the audiences are for QT and RR, they don't have nearly the mass appeal. Tarantino's last two films, the Kill Bill duo, opened to $22 and $25 million, respectively. This should be able to do about the same.

Opening weekend prediction: $27 million.

2) Next

Nicolas Cage has made a career by bouncing back and forth between mindless Hollywood action blockbusters and small awards bait (though mostly the former). And he's generally pretty good at it. Beyond his Oscar win (plus another nomination), he's starred in a total of six $100 million domestic earners, including his still-in-theaters Ghost Rider. Next is another one that could put its name on that lucrative list. Cage plays a Las Vegas entertainer who can see briefly into the future. He's lived with this ability all his life and now, with a possible terrorist threat in the city, government agents (including Julianne Moore) are trying to get his help. Jessica Biel also stars. The explosive thriller is directed by Lee Tamahori, whose repertoire includes the Bond flick Die Another Day and XXX: State of the Union. The story is actually based on a novel by legendary sci-fi author Philip K. Dick, whose visions have resulted in a number of very memorable adventures including Blade Runner, Total Recall and Minority Report. This doesn't exactly look like it will fit into that pantheon, but I still see a bright future.

Opening weekend: $25 million.

3) Are We Done Yet?


Former hardcore rapper, now generic family movie guy, Ice Cube stars in the sequel to Are We There Yet? The family-oriented comedy is about a newly married couple (Cube and Nia Long) and kids who move into a nice home in the suburbs. But the dream house is actually a "money pit" and they must deal with a wacky contractor (John C. McGinley, one of the "Bobs" in Office Space) who they hire to fix some things. There opened to more than $18 million in January 2005, before settling in with over $80 million domestically. Of course that was in the doldrums of early winter when there aren't a whole lot of other choices, but I can't think of any good reasons why this won't do just as well.

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