April 2004 Forecast
By Marty Doskins
Wow! There were a lot of films to choose from this month to put together my top ten. The way I see it, the month starts out strong, but kind of fizzles toward the end. The latest that any of my picks come out is the third weekend (April 16th - 18th). However, I’ve included three movies at the bottom of my list as honorable mentions, which should be decent contenders.
One final note, it looks like the final release delay has taken place for one of my most-anticipated films, Shaolin Soccer, and it will finally come out in theaters. As I’m writing this, the limited release is only four days away, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed. But with the problems this film has had, it wouldn’t surprise me if something happens again.
And now, let’s move on to my top ten.
One of two comic books turned into movies being released this month, the television media blitz has been going full tile for quite a while on this one. And early reports are that this film is much better than the commercials have shown. Another unique marketing technique was the distribution of free preview DVDs at Best Buy stores nationwide. The DVD was given out with any purchase in the store and contains a ten minute extended preview of the film. These preview discs have proven effective with video games, so marketing people are watching this one closely. If this movie does well, I think we may see more of these movie preview DVDs in the future.
2. Walking Tall
This remake of the 1973 classic film stars Dwayne Johnson (a.k.a. The Rock) in the role that Joe Don Baker made famous. They’ve changed the character’s name from Buford Pusser to Chris Vaughn, but the attitude is still there. I don’t think there’s anyone better out there right now to take on this role. With Johnson’s recent and past successes, he seems to be the heir apparent to the “action hero” throne. There have been stories on the various entertainment news shows about this release coupled with the commercials for the recent release of Johnson’s film, The Rundown. This combination should pay off well when weekend results are tabulated.
3. Kill Bill, Vol. 2
This month includes the release of the second half of the bloody Quentin Tarantino film, Kill Bill. You didn’t think he added the “Vol. 1” for no reason, did you? Most of you probably know that the studio thought this film would’ve been too long to release as one picture. So Tarantino split it and made each half better than if they would’ve been put together. The first picture is just about to complete its theatrical run with a take less than $100,000 away from $70 million. There are quite a number of moviegoers out there that are going to want to see how it turns out.
4. Connie and Carla
Nia Vardalos has been showing up all over the tube lately plugging her latest film. Many people found her funny in My Big Fat Greek Wedding and I think they will turn out to help this one make its way on to April’s top ten. The make-up and costume jobs for this movie look terrific and just add to the appeal for this picture. It won’t be a huge hit, but should do decent business.
5. Home on the Range
This Disney release comes out a little before the summer season gets into high gear and I think this may have an impact on the box office numbers. However, there haven’t been too many family friendly films out there lately and I think parents are going to want to get the kids out of the house for a while. I don’t think this will be a blockbuster and I am looking for it to do Brother Bear numbers; somewhere around $80 million total. Like all Disney releases, it should have renewed life once it hits home video when everyone adds it to their collection.
6. The Punisher
Here’s the other comic book movie for this month. There hasn’t been as much of a push, but those loyal comic readers know about it. They will show up to support their favorite medium, but I think this one won’t reach the mainstream viewer. The movie does have John Travolta, but I don’t think that’s enough to help this film out too much. The Punisher isn’t a household name like Spider-Man, Batman, or Superman and the weekend results should show that.
7. The Whole Ten Yards
This sequel to The Whole Nine Yards definitely won’t do as well as the original. Bruce Willis and Matthew Perry have been making the rounds on Entertainment Tonight and the talk shows, but I don’t think they’ll pull this one out. For me, the commercials haven’t really grabbed my attention and made me want to see this one. We’ll see how the general public feels.
8. The Alamo
This movie seemed to be cursed from the beginning. There were several director changes and actors coming and going through that same revolving door. I’m also not sure how much interest there is in the story. The legend of The Alamo has grown through the years, but is it enough to make the leap from history books to the big screen? It’s a big budget epic that I think will have difficulty covering the studio’s expenditures.
9. The Girl Next Door
This type of teen movie somehow manages to sneak into the monthly top ten for opening weekend numbers, but can’t hold on. Last month’s Eurotrip started out well at number five, but it’s currently in its sixth week of release and is already out of the top 40. I think this is the same pattern we’ll see with this film.
10. Ella Enchanted
This film should have a demographic a little different from the teen pattern from The Girl Next Door. The movie is based on the 1998 Newbery Honor book, which means it was a runner-up for best children’s literature of the year. There are a lot of young moviegoers that have read the book and will want to see it come to life. The Princess Diaries’ Anne Hathaway also has a following. It won’t have a great opening, but these factors should keep it from sinking as fast as the older teen movies seem to do.
The honorable mentions I wanted to include for this month are The Prince and Me, 13 Going on 30, and Godsend. Each of these films had the potential to make my top ten, but after thorough consideration, I had to drop them. I still think they’ll do fairly well, but just not enough in this month’s crowded release schedule.
Read Tim Briody's April ForecastRead Kim Hollis's April ForecastRead David Mumpower's April Forecast