April 2004 Forecast
By Kim Hollis
With our National Pastime getting into "full swing" as the month begins, what better way to celebrate than to combine a movie forecast with the baseball experience?
World Series Contenders
13 Going on 30
Even though Jennifer Garner's Alias remains permanently on the precipice of cancellation, the trailer for this "kid in a grown-up's body" flick is a home run into the San Francisco Bay. It's a film that's going to have extremely broad demographic appeal, which is the Holy Grail for box office potential.
One of the most popular characters among comic geeks, Hellboy is a bit of a wild card. I'm taking a chance on it based purely on the film's novel appearance and proliferation of advertising, not to mention some decent early word-of-mouth. Here's hoping the Steve Bartman factor doesn't kick in and cause Hellboy to choke big time.
Division Series Contenders
Home on the Range
Despite the fact that I personally love animated films of all flavors, I have to acknowledge that traditional animation from Disney just doesn't have the cachet it once did. Home on the Range looks like a fun blend of Chicken Run and The Emperor's New Groove, and the good news here is that there just haven't been many quality theatrical offerings for the youngsters lately. Also, Disney animation with animals always seems to fare better than Disney animation with humans.
The Girl Next Door
Early sneak previews for this film have resulted in some of the best word-of-mouth I've ever heard. The commercials and trailers have been just god awful, though. In the end, I think the buzz might just manage to win out -- which is excellent news for Emile Hirsch, who is a terrific up-and-coming young actor to keep an eye on.
Kill Bill Vol. 2
The audience for this film is basically going to be comprised of people who loved the first half of the story plus anyone whose DVD experience creates enough of a sense of urgency that they hit theaters right away. Since Vol. 1 was so divisive, the opening weekend for the sequel might actually struggle to match its predecessor.
Two superhero films in the month of April? Seems like a bad idea in practice, but the fact of the matter is that The Punisher actually looks much, much better than Hellboy. If the first film out of the box manages some decent numbers, The Punisher could be a beneficiary of Greasy Fan Boy goodwill.
Man on Fire
Denzel Washington lost a bit of his luster in 2003 with the convoluted Out of Time. Man on Fire's title is awfully similar to that film. Dakota Fanning has karma coming her way for Cat in the Hat. These are all negative portents for this April release.
We Coulda Been Contenders!
The Prince and Me
I've already attended a sneak preview for this film and it was nearly empty. Danger, Will Robinson. Reviews aren't likely to be kind, either, as the story turns unnecessarily dark in the final act, alienating its audience in an inexplicable manner. It's probably going to see box office akin to that of Chasing Liberty.
You'd think that the rabid WWE fans would be extremely supportive of the organizations biggest and most popular star, but The Rundown really proved otherwise. Walking Tall is action packed and a fast, entertaining ride, but there's not really much reason to expect it will find more success than the Rock/Stifler outing.
Johnson Family Vacation
Johnson Family Vacation is one of those films that is extremely difficult to get a read on until its release date is almost at hand. I'm inclined to call it a middling performer until I see evidence to show me it has more potential.
Bor-ing! Actually, I have a feeling I might personally like this film a lot, but the general reaction of movie audiences to historical dramas such as these is generally snooze city.
Connie and Carla
She might have shocked the world with My Big Fat Greek Wedding, but Nia Vardalos' Connie and Carla is too quirky for mainstream America. I sense a near disaster of Isn't She Great? proportions.
Lindsay Lohan might be the hottest actress among teens today, or she might already be an expired flavor of the month. Such is the fickle nature of youth. While the promise of a backbiting Tina Fey script screams "Watch me!" to me, the story looks a bit too dark for it to be a bona fide hit.
This Anne Hathaway starrer ought to be a hit amongst teenage girls. The film is based on a charming novel, but trailers and previews seem to indicate that a number of liberties have been taken with the storyline (that's bad). Had it been more faithful to the source material, it could have easily out Cinderella Storied the upcoming Hilary Duff joint.
The Detroit Tigers
The Whole Ten Yards
This film might just have the worst trailer in the history of movie previews. There is literally *nothing* appealing about The Whole Ten Yards, not even for fans of the first film. Looks like another Analyze That.
Any movie that incorporates dog feces into its storyline is destined for the pooper scooper.
Early word on this flick has been very unkind. This is nothing more than a token release from a distributor that's looking to dump a film in the dregs of late April.
The Laws of Attraction
This Julianne Moore/Pierce Brosnan flick looks awfully similar to Intolerable Cruelty, a film that had bigger stars and better known names in the director's chair. Uh oh.
The Florida Marlins
Bobby Jones: Stroke of Genius
If you're looking for that out-of-nowhere, sneak-up-and-surprise-you flick that exceeds expectations to come out a big winner, look no further than this independently distributed biopic. Jones is one of the most popular golfers ever to play the game, and a grass-roots effort is planned to build support and interest. The real key, though? The film stars one Jim Caviezel, who currently frontlines a little flick known as The Passion of the Christ. He really doesn't qualify as a big name, but the golf movie does have that wholesome aura that just might have more universal appeal than anticipated.
Read Tim Briody's April ForecastRead Marty Doskins' April ForecastRead David Mumpower's April Forecast