April 2005 Forecast
By Kim Hollis
April 1, 2005
April hasn’t traditionally been a big month for film. You know why? Because baseball starts in April, of course! The movie studios have even recognized this fact, with one of them going so far as to release a baseball-themed film this month in Fever Pitch. And so, in honor of America’s Pastime, this month’s forecast will have an emphasis on swinging for the stands. And I swear I’m not on The Clear.
Base on Balls
The only thing Sahara really has going for it is that it's an adaptation of a novel by Clive Cussler, a popular writer who has a decent following. That said, a number of the people who like the author's work might be given pause about what they're seeing in both the trailer and commercials - which is to say the movie looks like crap. Really. After being shuffled around the schedule numerous times over the past year or so, this is a token release and nothing more.
While Anthony Anderson has seen some success as a supporting player, relying on him as the lead probably isn't the wisest decision. He's certainly funny and recognizable; however, this sort of modern take on the "Ruthless People" plot doesn't look to make much of a splash at the box office. Marketing has been slim even on stations that would target an urban demographic. King's Ransom looks like a dud.
It would seem like this movie should be marketable on its strong cast alone. It boasts two recent Academy Award winners in Nicole Kidman and Sean Penn, and having Sydney Pollack as your director theoretically should indicate good things. However, the film was moved from a potentially award-baiting fall release to springtime, never a sign of studio confidence. Additionally, the commercials for this one have simply been non-existent. Chalk up The Interpreter as a typical blah April thriller.
A Lot Like Love
Speaking of a lack of marketing, I'm not even sure I'd know this Ashton Kutcher/Amanda Peet romantic comedy exists if I didn't work for a movie Web site. Kutcher found solid success with March's Guess Who, but his track record with romantic comedy has been spotty to date. Just Married, which co-starred a somewhat bankable Brittany Murphy, had a surprisingly solid debut, while My Boss's Daughter with Tara Reid flopped hard. Since Amanda Peet has never really proven herself to be a draw beyond the underrated WB series Jack and Jill, I'm leaning toward this one being somewhere in the middle, but closer to My Boss's Daughter.
I should state from the outset that I completely resent this film. I'm a huge fan both of Nick Hornby and the original soccer-centric movie with Colin Firth, so this ill-advised remake just sits poorly with me. I was sort of okay with it when my beloved John Cusack was cast in the lead role, but when he departed the project and was replaced with the hate-able Jimmy Fallon, I lost all hope.
That said, the ads don't look *that* bad. With the continuing goodwill from the Red Sox win, the movie should find some moderate success. The commercials have been fairly ubiquitous as well, so awareness should be quite high.
The Amityville Horror
The buzz on this one is powerful, so while the original movie sucked, I actually have high hopes for the update. The trailer is terrific and generating tons of positive feedback. Based on what was once believed to be a true story (but has since been proven to be a hoax), this haunted house tale promises quality scares. It's even rated R, a rare commodity amongst horror flicks of the current day. The genre has been up and down so far in 2005, but The Amityville Horror should be a winner.
XXX: State of the Union
It's never a good sign when Vin Diesel turns down your sequel, though this is the second time he's actually had the gumption to do so. The first time, of course was The Fast and the Furious, choosing instead to work with Rob Cohen, the director of The Fast and the Furious, on his new project xXx. Cohen and Diesel are both gone for XXX: State of the Union, with Die Another Day's Lee Tamahori at the helm instead. Instead of Diesel, we have Ice Cube, who earlier this year had success with the family comedy Are We There Yet? (coincidentally, Diesel's family comedy The Pacifier outperformed it but just that much).
The trailers for the XXX sequel are solid, making the film look like an action-filled two hours. Generally, people have preferred Ice Cube in comedies rather than hard action, so he'll have a lot riding on the success of this one.
Oozing style and starting off its weekend with some of the better reviews of any film in 2005, Sin City should be able to start April off with a bang. Based on the outstanding graphic novel series by the incomparable Frank Miller, the movie is composed of varying and interconnecting vignettes, all set in one dangerous town. The cast is massive, including any number of recognizable names. Primary amongst these are Bruce Willis and Clive Owen, who really have the most interesting characters out of the bunch as well. It's a daring enterprise from co-directors Miller and Robert Rodriguez, who even invited the edgy Quentin Tarantino to direct a segment as well. It's a great-looking film that appears to have stayed true to the spirit of the books, with black and white being the primary motif, though splashes of color have been added for effect. As comic book movies go, this project is one that looks pretty exciting.
A Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Like other cult books, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy has a huge, dedicated following. Add those people to the ones who will simply show up because the trailers look fantastic (and they do), and you've got yourself a bona fide summer kick-off film. Unlike last year's Van Helsing, which was starting to have the stink of failure on it weeks before its release, for Hitchhiker the anticipation has been slowly building on a very upbeat note. The real selling point may be that Marvin the Paranoid Android is simply adorable - toys based on the character should be huge sellers, in fact. Sure, as sci-fi fans go, a number of folks will probably start lining up for Star Wars: Episode III in the last week of April, but the smart ones will be geared up for the adaptation of Douglas Adams' masterpiece.
Marty Doskins's April Forecast
David Mumpower's April Forecast
John Seal's April Forecast