May 2004 Forecast

By Marty Doskins

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As opposed to last month, when I was overwhelmed with choices to place into my April 2004 Top 10, this month I'm definitely underwhelmed. There are only eight wide releases from the studios this month as they hold their best for the upcoming summer season. And since May is the month of Memorial Day here in the US, it does kick off that previously mentioned summer movie-going season. I'm going to rank those eight, and then I'll throw in a few limited releases that I think will make a name for themselves, either now or later on home video.

And on what I believe will be my final Shaolin Soccer note for a while, the movie did finally get released...on six (!) screens, to be exact. At least this should finally get it in the process of making its way to the home video market in the near future. But I'm not holding my breath.

And now, let's move on to my Top 10.

1. Shrek 2

I don't believe there's much room for doubt about what this month's number one weekend opener is going to be. The original movie made gobs and gobs of money at the box office and was a HUGE hit on home video. The studio has brought back the original cast, which had a great deal of chemistry in the first film. Plus, they've added some big name voice talent, including Antonio Banderas, John Cleese, and Julie Andrews. I seriously think this may be one of those sequels that rivals the original in its box office figures.

2. The Day After Tomorrow

As I write this, there hasn't been too much out there for this movie. But I think that's going to change in the coming weeks. This definitely has the look of a big summer box office hit following in the footsteps of Independence Day and Men in Black. There was a story in the paper today about NASA administrators contacting employees and telling them not to give interviews about the subject of the film, global warming. Apparently they're worried about the panic this film could cause. Sounds like the secret for success at the box office to me.

3. Van Helsing

There are several factors that should help this film on its way to box office success. 1) The trailer for this film has been around for a while and there was a lot of talk about it during production. 2) Hugh Jackman has been getting a lot of praise in his recent movie roles, including his portrayal of Wolverine in the X-Men series and several romantic roles. 3) Universal is releasing a six-DVD set with 13 of their classic movies featuring Dracula, Frankenstein's Monster, and the Wolfman, including films starring the progenitors of these roles, Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff, and Lon Chaney, Jr., among others. All of these three things should help this film make its way toward the top of the May 2004 Top 10.

4. Troy

Another epic motion picture. These ancient historical films with big battle scenes seem to do well usually (think Gladiator). You've got some big star power behind this movie, including Brad Pitt, Orlando Bloom, and Eric Bana (please ignore Hulk). The only thing scaring me a little is the almost three-hour running time. Will the general moviegoing public (not including Lord of the Rings fans) be able to sit through this one? I think it'll do just fine.

5. New York Minute

In my opinion, I think this is the film that will tell us a lot about the future of the Olsen twins. They've already said that they're not going to do any more of their wildly popular direct-to-video adventures and they're going to do only feature films. If this one does well, I think we'll see a rise in their vast popularity. If not, I think they'll be calling Playboy on June 13th (the twins' 18th birthday), if Hef doesn't beat them to the punch.

6. Breakin' All the Rules

No, this isn't a sequel to Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo, but I still think this movie will do all right during its opening weekend. I think that Jamie Foxx's popularity will easily make its way from the television audiences to moviegoing audiences. That's all I've got to say about this one.

7. Raising Helen

This film, as well as my number eight pick, is going to be buried under a summer movie avalanche. Yes, it stars Kate Hudson. Yes, it's getting a two-day head start by opening on a Wednesday. But the problem is that it's opening between two gigantic early-summer hits (Shrek 2 and The Day After Tomorrow). This film really doesn't stand a chance.

8. Soul Plane

The premise for this one sounded funny to me when I was doing the write-up for it. However, this film's going to run into the same roadblock as Raising Helen. It's opening the same day as Roland Emmerich's The Day After Tomorrow.

9, 10, etc.

To round out this month's Top 10, I just wanted to mention a few limited releases that should garner some attention.

Super Size Me: A movie about the problem of obesity in America and the fast food connection.

The Boston Red Sox Movie: It has a good-sized built-in target audience, including baseball enthusiasts, Red Sox fans, Ben Affleck, and Matt Damon.

Coffee and Cigarettes: Big-name stars, including Bill Murray coming off his critically acclaimed Lost in Translation.

Baadasssss!: Mario Van Peebles directs and stars in this throwback to the blaxploitation films of a few decades ago.

John Seal's May Forecast
Stephanie Star Smith's May Forecast
Zach Kolkin's May Forecast
David Mumpower's May Forecast



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