August 2004 Forecast
By Marty Doskins
Summer is the time for sequels. And this month is no exception. Four of my top ten picks for this month fall into that category. Plus, they all place pretty high up the list.
And now, let’s move on to my top ten.
Last month we had one of the big stars of summer in Will Smith. This time, Tom Cruise takes center stage. He’s teamed up with Jamie Foxx in this action film. Cruise plays a man who hires a cab driver (Foxx) to drive him around as he takes care of some “business”. When the body count starts increasing, so does Foxx’s anxiety level. Will he get out of this predicament alive?
The studio has been putting out tons of previews in both the theaters and on television. Tom Cruise and action films seem to be a good combination. I think that this film is a sure hit and will be way up the charts at the end of the year.
2. The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement
Here’s the first of this month’s highly anticipated sequels. The original cast from the hit film has been reunited, including Julie Andrews and Anne Hathaway. I think the touch of director Garry Marshall will definitely help this film. He’s been a proven success in the past. The teen and younger audiences will definitely be drawn to this one. It doesn’t even matter that the storyline has been done before, most recently in Disney’s own The Santa Clause 2. It will still be a big success.
3. Alien vs. Predator
Sequel number two. This movie has been in the works in one form or another for many years now. Finally, all of the pieces have been brought together. I think that there will be some downward effect based on the fact that these franchises have been out of the limelight for a while; however, it won’t matter too much. There are enough fans of both series - as well as science fiction in general - that audiences will definitely come out opening weekend. I’m looking forward to this one a lot.
4. Little Black Book
Romantic comedies are big office draws and this one will be no exception. It sounds like a pretty good story – a woman interviews her boyfriend’s old girlfriends to find out any dark secrets. There is a good young cast, including Brittany Murphy. But it all still comes down to being a romantic comedy. This genre of film works well with summer audiences. It’s sure to be near the top of the August releases.
5. Anacondas: The Hunt for the Black Orchid
Sequel number three. The original film has become a cult classic. Giant animals attacking people are always a big hit and you can’t get much bigger than the largest species of snake in the world. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that the characters in the film will encounter the largest of the species. There should be big audiences during its opening weekend, but should drop off fairly sharply from there. It will later find new life in the home video market. Look for a two-pack original/sequel video deal when it comes out on video.
6. Exorcist: The Beginning
Sequel number four. Actually, it's a prequel, but I don’t know how much interest there is left in this series. It’s been around since the '70s, and I don’t think it’s as powerful today as it was back then. Audiences have come to expect more and more from the movie studios and I don’t know if it’ll capture the imagination. There’s a big following of horror films so that’s why I placed this film so high in my list, but I could easily see this dropping way down in rank.
Asian films are growing in popularity gradually. One plus for this film. U.S. audiences know the stars, including Jet Li, Tony Leung, and Zhang Ziyi. Another plus for this film. Finally, the stories we see in Hong Kong films seem to go over well with American moviegoers. The third plus for this film. This film will do fairly well, especially for Asian films. They always have a solid per screen average so the wider this film is released, the more money it’ll make. It won’t be spread too thin.
8. Without A Paddle
This silly teen comedy looks like it could be very funny or very bad. It has a good start with stars Seth Green and Matthew Lillard. Both of these young actors have a strong following. A lot of this one depends on the writing. If the writers play to their strengths, this could be a pretty decent film, but I don’t think it’ll draw in huge audiences.
9. Open Water
Screwing up a “head count” can lead one of two ways. You can end up with a funny movie like Home Alone or you can head into the middle of the ocean like this film. This intriguing film takes a look at the terrifying situation that develops when two divers get left at sea accidentally. Lions Gate was so impressed with this movie at the Sundance Film Festival that they paid $2.5 million for this distribution rights. They think they’ve got themselves a winner and are going to put a lot of their power behind this “limited” release. Like other films such as Blair Witch Project and My Big Fat Greek Wedding, this film could expand quickly as word-of-mouth spreads.
Yu-Gi-Oh! has been popular with kids for quite a while. There are still trading cards being sold. Leagues are still playing the game at Toys-R-Us stores and collector cards stores everywhere. The series is still on television. But I wonder why it took so long to get a full-length feature film in theaters. If this had been released a couple years ago it may have done well like the first Pokemon film. I think the timing for this one is all wrong, but it still makes it into my top ten (just barely).