April 2017 Box Office Forecast
By Michael Lynderey
April 6, 2017
6. Phoenix Forgotten (April 21st)
One of those movies about a spunky group of teenagers who venture in the dark of night into the haunting unknown, never to be seen again, except in shaky-cam found footage timed and photographed precisely perfectly to elicit the same reaction as an early 1980s teen slasher film (oh, how I miss those!). This film's vanished are investigating an alien space landing (so, yet again, the creature wasn't nice), and the setting is the mountainous/cavernous Southwest USA terrain so beloved by fans of alien invasion conspiracies (and how wrong they are - everyone knows your average alien monster lands down in Angel Grove). I write in generalities because I have no particular insights into the film or its box office chances, other than that it is the month's only strictly horror release, and should by virtue of its very existence perform somewhere along the lines of its genre siblings and cousins.
Opening weekend: $8 million / Total gross: $22 million
7. Unforgettable (April 21st)
A sort of modern-day update of the legendary 2009 film Obsessed posits Katherine Heigl in the Ali Larter role of the scorned and possessive femme fatale, with Rosario Dawson sort of essaying Beyoncé as the terrorized woman who takes matters into her own hands. Geoff Stults gets the Idris Elba role, and will presumably let the women settle this amongst themselves (just once in one of these movies, I'd like the husband to leave the good-hearted lead for the psycho ex, with the two clutching each other tightly as the thunderstorm and rain washes away the evil, while the credits begin silently rolling over their person).
I always liked Heigl, who went through a romantic comedy phase (like the flu) with 27 Dresses and The Ugly Truth, and is starring in her first live action wide release here since The Big Wedding four years ago. Welcome back. The film seems old-fashionably quaint, like the kind of post-Fatal Attraction thriller you happen to find on the April 1993 release schedule one sunny mid 2010s day and think, "hey, I never did see that." Then you do. Completionists will check it out. I am a completionist.
Opening weekend: $7 million / Total gross: $15 million
The rest of the month's calendar is a mash of potential wide releases, whose propensity to expand above, say, 800 screens, remains inconclusive. The biggest names are The Lost City of Z, an adventure film in the Amazon, with Charlie Hunnam, and by James Gray; Free Fire, the new Ben Wheatley film involving betrayal, Brie Larson, and a big warehouse where many gunmen can work out their differences; The Promise, about the Armenian Genocide; Colossal, where Anne Hathaway's love life collides with a giant monster attack (metaphors not included); the parody How to be a Latin Lover (hey, now that you mention it, I was just about to ask); Sleight, a thriller from Blumhouse (you know, of Split and Get Out fame); and Gifted, where Chris Evans must save his niece, a math genius, from an eternity of, and I quote, "talk[ing] nontrivial zeros with a bunch of old Russian guys". I thought it was opening everywhere on April 7, but it looks like it may take a few weeks.
Some of these films will get wide releases. Many will not. It's up to you.