September 2004 Forecast
By Marty Doskins
The big summer season is over, but the studios aren’t totally giving up on big releases. Josh Hartnett, Kim Basinger, and Reese Witherspoon all return to the silver screen in wide releases. There are a wide variety of genres included in this month’s forecasted top ten. Plus, we have a movie with airships!!!
And now, let’s move on to my top ten.
1. Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow
You want airships? We’ve got ’em! If that wasn’t enough, we’ve got Angelina Jolie with an eye patch. Paramount has put a lot of marketing muscle behind this one. Well before we saw trailers for it, there were giant cardboard displays in theaters all over the place. You couldn’t miss them if you went to see any movie during the summer. Now the studio has moved the attack to television and we are being shown what an exciting movie this is going to be. I think that this film will do very well during its opening weekend in mid-September, but will drop off quickly. The fanboys will be out in full force, but they’ll have to be getting back home to finish their homework since school has started.
Kim Basinger is back in her first major wide release since 2002’s 8 Mile with Eminem. As you’ve gathered from the numerous commercials that have been bombarding the airwaves, she plays a kidnapped woman who dials a random phone number to try and get help. It seems intense from the commercials and trailer, but that’s what the marketing is supposed to do. Entertainment Tonight has also done stories about the film, grabbing the attention of those viewers. It should be interesting to see how well Cellular holds up in this season that has seen very few films with legs.
3. Resident Evil: Apocalypse
Horror fans rejoice! You’ll be getting your fill this month with this sequel to the 2002 original film. As is typical with horror and some science fiction films, the core group of fans will come out in droves opening weekend. The original made $17.7 million its opening weekend, only being beaten out by the huge hit Ice Age for the biggest film of March that year. However, it only had a 2.23 total multiplier. This indicates that after the initial rush, there were a lot of empty seats. I expect this one to follow the same pattern.
4. The Forgotten
This one could be either really good or really bad. From the extremely intense previews, I think curiosity will get movie-going audiences to show up opening weekend. However, the word-of-mouth advertising will be crucial for future success. If the film can’t live up to its pre-release hype, it’s doomed.
5. Wicker Park
Josh Hartnett returns to the big screen and takes on a different type of role for him. He plays a man obsessed with finding the woman he believes to be his “true love”. Hartnett’s good looks were what originally drew audiences to his films, but I think the outstanding acting ability he has shown keeps drawing them in and has also created an ever-growing following. This looks to be a solid, if not spectacular, opening weekend.
6. Mr. 3000
Bernie Mac finally gets a lead role in a film. Yes, this is not a misprint. Bernie’s been very visible in his many movie roles and his popular TV show, but this is the first time he’s going to be “Numero Uno” in a movie. And I really think he’s going to be able to hold his own in this role. I also believe that this will be a launching pad for a future of more lead work.
7. Vanity Fair
Focus Features is trying to get a jump on the competition by releasing this movie about society in the 1800s on a Wednesday. Even starring Reese Witherspoon, I don’t think it’s going to help much. I could be wrong, but I don’t think there’s that much of an audience out there for this work and I don’t think even Witherspoon’s fans will be drawn in. It also doesn’t help that it’s not a giant release in terms of number of theaters.
8. The Cookout
Queen Latifah’s production company had its hand in getting this film made and released. There’s also been a decent cast brought together that should also expand the audience appeal. However, I think the marketing push just hasn’t been there for this one. Yes, there was an Entertainment Tonight story, but not much beyond that. It should end up as a quiet disappointment.
9. First Daughter
Hmmmm. Yes, Forest Whitaker is the director. Yes, the cute Katie Holmes is in a starring role. But Michael Keaton as the President? Put a fork in this one.
10. Shaun of the Dead
I don’t think this one’s going to get enough of a screen count to make it into the top ten, but I thought I’d give it an Honorable Mention here. This British film has been all the talk around the Box Office Prophets water cooler. Zombie films have been prevalent lately, which should help this one a bit. If you get a chance to see Shaun of the Dead, take it.