August 2007 Forecast
By David Mumpower
August 3, 2007
We have seen new movies involving Spider-Man, Shrek, the Fantastic Four, Harry Potter and the Transformers, yet the breakout star to date is one Seth Rogen. The man who wasn't TV-pretty enough to be the star of Undeclared finds that he can succeed as a lead actor in Knocked Up to the tune of $145.2 million. He is now prepared to break out as a film scribe, writing three titles scheduled for release in the next 18 months. The first of these is Superbad, and the buzz on it is deafening. Sony has cleverly found a positive in the premise of the red band trailer (a trailer deemed unfit for people under 17), showing it on the Internet to kids who have eaten it up. The end result is that "McLovin" is the message board nickname of choice and Superbad is poised to low-budgeted comedy to break out to the tune of $80 million or more.
4) The Invasion
BOP staff's has lovingly referred to this as The Disaster Project for a while now. How a title headlined by Nicole Kidman and the new James Bond, Daniel Craig, could have required so many re-shoots is a mystery. Originally intended for release last summer, this project was basically white-washed. The Wachowski Brothers were brought on-board to re-write the script (of an already finished film, no less) while their buddy, James McTeigue (V for Vendetta) was authorized to shoot $10 million worth of new scenes. In one of the biggest surprises in the industry since Mel Gibson's Payback was salvaged, this bold strategy has apparently worked. Warner Bros. seems to feel that this production has gone from a joke to a potential hit. Color me impressed if they have pulled off that feat.
Oh, how I wish I had more hope than this for one of my favorite books of all time. I've read Stardust three times now and I have long wished for a movie adaptation that did justice to the wonderful story of a boy's quest to catch a fallen star. Neil Gaiman's work is a timeless piece of fantasy that I look forward to reading to my children one day, but the trailer shown for this release looks...let's be honest...awful. I wish it were not true. I gain no satisfaction from stating the point, but that's where we stand. This makes me wonder how a person less inclined to watch the film will feel given that someone as passionate about it as myself sees the commercials and thinks, "Oh ye gods." I desperately want to believe that this is a Galaxy Quest situation, one where the ads suck but the movie itself is sheer genius. I will maintain this illusion until I go see Stardust, but I think all of us die hard Gaiman fans are braced for the inevitable disappointment here. Stardust looks like a miss, both in terms of quality and in box office performance. Then again, it's August, so a $50 million miss still should be good enough for top five performance.
I might be completely wrong about this, but I am of the opinion that this is the rare horror movie in 2007 to do well. In point of fact, I expect it to do very well, delivering a sensational opening weekend before falling off the table like so many horror films do. The presence of Rob Zombie has created awareness for this project that would have been otherwise missing, the end result being a project that could do Texas Chainsaw Massacre re-make numbers.