September 2005 Forecast

By Marty Doskins

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The end of the summer movie season is finally upon us. And it goes out with a whimper during the "big" Labor Day weekend. I guess the studios thought they just couldn't compete with Jerry's Kids. And the rest of the month is nothing to write home about, either.

We've also been hearing about the slump the movie industry has been in lately. Revenues are down compared to last year. I worry that with gas prices now hovering around the three-dollar mark across the country, movies may be a luxury that some will decide they can't afford. Or maybe people will continue to go just to get away from the money worries.

And now, let's move on to my top ten.

1. FlightPlan

If your film stars Jodie Foster, you can be pretty sure it'll do well at the box office. The studio knows this and is really pushing this film through a massive advertising campaign. This movie doesn't even open until the 23rd and even as I write this at the end of August, the airwaves are being bombarded with commercials. The only thing I worry about is that the studio will let up on their campaign and audiences may forget about the movie.

2. The Transporter 2

Wow! I don't remember this much action in the first movie's trailers. I guess they want to play up that aspect of the film rather than making it out to be a gangster film. And I think it'll work just fine. Those that saw the first film will already be going to the sequel, but the action is sure to capture the attention of the others. Also, don't be surprised if your local video store is short on copies of the original.

3. Serenity

We have a large part of the cult following of the short-lived TV show Firefly right here on the Box Office Prophets staff. They've been talking it up around the water cooler. They're foaming at the mouth with anticipation at this release. But I'm still not convinced of the nationwide popularity of the Firefly, as well as the familiarity with Joss Whedon's masterful writing ability. But we should still see a decent performance at the box office as we do with many science fiction films.

4. Lord of War

Nicolas Cage plays an arms dealer trying to deal with his personal demons about his work. Cage has proven himself as a versatile actor for quite a while. This intense role should be right up his alley and as long as there is a little bit of advertising, it should do well.

5. Into the Blue

Jessica Alba scuba diving. Do you actually need a plot?

6. The Man

We haven't had a silly buddy comedy in a while. This time the mismatched pair is Samuel L. Jackson and Eugene Levy. Even though Jackson is the number one actor of all time in terms of box office revenue, I don't think his standing will help much here. Oh sure, he'll add a few million dollars to his ranking to keep number two Harrison Ford in the rearview mirror, but he'll have to do better to keep his top spot. Films like The Man are not the way to do it, Mr. Jackson.

7. An Unfinished Life

J. Lo's back to the big screen again. I was underwhelmed by her robotic performance opposite Richard Gere in Shall We Dance. I think this one's going to keep pushing away those people that aren't sure about Lopez as an actress. It's too dramatic and intense of a role for her to handle.

8. Just Like Heaven

Reese Witherspoon playing a ghost haunting a house. Nothing too weird yet, right? How about the new owner of the place falling in love with this ghost? OK, now we're getting a little out there. But it's worked in the past, especially with Ghost. Here's another film that will be "make or break" based on the support from the studio.

9. The Greatest Game Ever Played

Yes, it's a sports film, but it's a golf history lesson. I think only the real die-hard golf nuts will be out for this one as evidenced from the lack of interest in Will Smith's The Legend of Bagger Vance.

10. Underclassman

Rookie baby-faced cop goes undercover at a private school? Yup. That'll get you number ten.



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