April 2009 Forecast
By David Mumpower
April 3, 2009
1) Fast & Furious
We saw it with Friday the 13th's latest update/abomination, we saw it with Watchmen, and we will see it here. Fast & Furious is going to dominate the box office for one weekend then it will fade from our memories quicker than Sanjaya Malakar. Two and a half years ago, Tokyo Drift was released, and it pretty much confirmed the fact that the franchise had run out of steam. After the original opened to $40.1 million and the sequel brought in a $50.5 million haul with its debut, the redneck-on-foreign soil version of the story failed completely. It opened to only $24.0 million and its $62.6 million final domestic take wasn't even half of the 2 Fast 2 Furious abomination. Fast cars and slutty women is a great film concept; it is also one that had reached a saturation point.
To their credit, the kind people at Universal Studios took a long look at the formula and accepted the truth. There had only been one good film in the franchise and that was the first one, the one that starred Vin Diesel. Since that actor's career hasn't exactly exploded in the days since xXx, he didn't have much choice but to turn to his most popular film, starting with a surprise appearance at the end of Tokyo Drift. The end result is that some excitement has been created for the fourth film in the franchise, but this is the last time Universal will get blood out of this particular stone. After the weekend is over, all that will remain is some scorched tire marks, nitrous oxide fumes, and a solid opening weekend take. But don't worry, Paul Walker. You're still a good driver, bro.
2) Hannah Montana Movie
G-rated films are in. Disney's last two releases from their cable channel division have seen opening weekend box office of $31.1 million and $42.0 million, respectively. The Mouse House has brought in about $320 million in worldwide receipts from a couple of properties that cost a combined $17.5 million to produce. Face it, Disney continues to play on an entirely different playing field from everyone else. The question with Hannah Montana is whether a movie based on the television series is a year too late or 20 years too early for a re-make, depending on perspective. I'm inclined to think that this project is going to "suffer" from the same fate as High School Musical 3: Senior Year, making solid box office but not as much as could have happened last year. The end result is that I project an opening weekend just a bit short of the concert movie and box office receipts somewhere in the same range as it, probably a few million short as well. It's time for Miley Cyrus to begin her slut phase a la Lindsay Lohan or risk following the path of Hilary Duff. Wait, is it better to be remembered as skanky trash or largely forgotten? Hmm, tough call.