September 2006 Forecast
By Marty Doskins
September 2, 2006
Summer is definitely over as is indicated by the serious drop-off in big production pictures. There aren't many standouts this month, but there are a lot in the middle of the pack that will still bring in audiences to the theaters. Moviegoers have a huge variety of genres to pick from this time so if you haven't been to the movies in a while, you're sure to find something you like during the month of September.
Let's move on to my top 10 for September 2006.
1. The Black Dahlia
Josh Hartnett returns to the big screen as a detective from the 40s. This unsolved California murder mystery has been baffling police ever since it occurred over half a century ago. Sometimes people are not so thrilled with historical pieces, but Hartnett, along with costar Leelee Sobieski, breathe life into this case. I think Hartnett still hasn't totally fallen out of favor with audiences and it's time for him to have a nice success in his movie career. He definitely has the talent to do it and hopefully this will be the role for him.
2. Gridiron Gang
This is kind of like The Longest Yard, but without the funny. It's based on a true story with Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson portraying the counselor/coach at the detention facility. It's good to see Johnson branching out and getting chances to play something other than action roles. We'll look for bigger and better things from him in the future.
Is a new action star going to emerge in the form of Jason Statham? If my top ten is any indication, it could happen. Statham has slowly been building a solid body of work and he's definitely well on his way to staying up on the action star stage. And if you have to keep yourself moving to keep from dying from poison, there's no better way to do it than in an action movie. The writer can create many opportunities for the stuntmen to do their jobs. People seem to be willing to give a potential action star a movie or two to show what they've got. Hopefully, they'll stay behind Statham even longer.
4. Jackass: Number 2
If you didn't get enough of stupid people doing stupid stunts, then this is the film for you. The first film did fairly well at the box office so naturally the studio proclaimed that a sequel was justified. There is much in the way of overhead other than salaries so it should be easy for the studio to turn a profit from this movie.
Another historical crime in California, specifically in Hollywood. The question addressed is "Did Superman actor George Reeves commit suicide or was he murdered?" Adrien Brody, Diane Lane, Bob Hoskins, and Ben Affleck are going to try to answer this question for audiences. The studio has lined up a pretty solid cast, which is always a good start. It should be interesting how well this film and The Black Dahlia do since they are kind of similar in nature and timeframe. Besides the murder/suicide, there is also the question of how interested moviegoers will be in seeing this period piece. If they keep pushing the advertising a bit longer, it should do well.
6. Open Season
Sony Pictures Animation makes its first entry into the lucrative animated film market. Is there enough room for another studio to make any money? I think there is as long as they put out a quality film that appeals to both young and old alike. The studio can't just slap something together and assume it will do well. The moviegoers are developing some sophistication with these films and Sony will have to pass their test. I think they'll be OK, but if they bomb they may not get a second chance.
7. The Wicker Man
Last month I picked a Nicolas Cage film (World Trade Center) as the number one film of the month. It didn't do as well as I had thought it would, but I'm picking Cage again this month with this intense film. Cage definitely hasn't let himself get typecast in any particular type of role. He convincingly portrays any of the roles he takes on, which has made him popular with audiences everywhere. Also, films that are intense and more psychological than true horror seem to do better with general audiences. I think this film could give World Trade Center a run for its money.
8. The Covenant
I see this film as similar to The Wicker Man in that it's not a true horror/slasher film. It's more of a shocker film since we are dealing with supernatural powers and not psychotic killers on the loose. But whenever you have a release of some evil power, you're sure to have some intense film sequences. This still appeals to audiences since people like to be scared without being totally grossed out. The studio has cast a bunch of relative unknowns in this film and it sounds like we'll be seeing more of this in the future with the budget cutting going on in Hollywood right now. It should be interesting to see how this one plays out.
9. Jet Li's Fearless
The studio knows that Jet Li is a big draw, especially in the martial arts genre. Why else would his name appear in the title? Li has also mentioned that this will be his last martial arts film, but I'm sure he reserves the right to change his mind (if the money is right). Both of these points could draw audiences into theaters.
10. Everyone's Hero
I believe that this animated film is going to be a hard sell for audiences. It doesn't look too humorous or slapstick, but more sentimental. The only thing that may save it is that Christopher Reeve was directing this film when he passed away. The curiosity factor may play into the interest. But I don't think it will have much impact and that's why it's pretty far down here.