June 2007 Forecast
By David Mumpower
June 1, 2007
8) Hostel: Part II
The hip new term these days is gorno. It indicates a disturbing trend in cinema wherein explicit horror sequences have become a form of gory pornography. Perhaps no movie in recent memory demonstrates this more effectively than Hostel. The 2005 release was a surprise box office hit, opening to $19.6 million (exemplary for the first week of January) on its way to domestic revenue of $47.2 million. A sequel was inevitable from the moment Friday box office numbers came in for the first day of Hostel's release. Even better, it was naturally set up by the storyline in which only one American tourist survives his run-in with Elite Hunting. At the end of the first film, he uses a (fatal) distraction to board a train and make his escape. The sequel begins at exactly this moment, but introduces a trio of new characters, women who will presumably endure all sorts of scantily clad horrors on their way to either dying or learning some important life lessons. It is what it is, folks. Hostel: Part II has been slotted in the summer in hopes of improving upon its already strong opening while also capitalizing upon the additional revenue summer vacation provides for its target demographic. Like it or not, this is a clever move on the part of Lionsgate, the little studio that has become the go-to distributor for shock value horror titles.
9) Nancy Drew
If there is one niche Hollywood consistently fails to target, it's tweeners. The shocking success of High School Musical demonstrates that this group is a financial windfall waiting to happen for studios, yet we almost never see quality movies targeted to them. Instead, garbage such as Catch That Kid, Sleepover, and New York Minute. When the rare film is released that is respectable in quality, it consistently does well. The Lizzie Maguire Movie, Ice Princess, Because of Winn-Dixie and Stick It were all profitable endeavors that reached this niche. Nancy Drew has a chance to be the first film in recent memory to not only effectively target this demographic but also turn into a franchise. Warner Bros. even showed foresight in casting the character, choosing the niece of Julia Roberts, Emma Roberts. Nancy Drew is a title I expect to open okay, then show impressive staying power by current box office standards these days.
Don't let the title fool you. No, this is not a historical drama. Instead, it's the latest theatrical adaptation of a Stephen King story. The premise is that a grieving father (played by BOP fave John Cusack) chooses an unusual way to deal with the death of his daughter. He sets out to disprove the notion of the afterlife, writing a series of books that refute supernatural hoaxes. Upon receiving word that The Dolphin Hotel has a haunted suite, room #1408 to be exact, the writer immediately packs his bags and goes there. The manager there (the living embodiment of cool, Samuel L. Jackson) attempts to dissuade him from his goal, stating that his disbelief might be misguided in this particular instance. Of course, the author is undeterred and of course the moment he checks into the room, unexplainable phenomena begin to occur. 1408 promises to be another film in the vein of February's The Number 23. Given the fact that Jim Carrey couldn't draw in enough consumers to do more than $33.9 million, it's har to imagine 1408 breaking out much beyond that. Even so, it's a fun premise that should prove for respectable summer counter-programming.