April 2007 Forecast
By Marty Doskins
April 6, 2007
Like many Aprils in the past, the studios are not putting many likely blockbuster out this month in anticipation of the huge summer movie season starting in May. There is still one big flick out there that has really had a lot of buzz about it. But after that, there's a big drop off in box office potential.
And now on to my top 10 for April 2007.
It's been a long time since a true grindhouse double feature has been seen anywhere in Hollywood. But Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez are going to bring this type of theater back. There's been a lot of talk about this film for a long time. The two directors kept pushing the release date out farther and farther to make sure they would have the films they wanted. I don't think their fans will be disappointed. The trailers for both films have been phenomenal. They were both so bizarre, especially the one for Rodriguez's film, that you just couldn't turn away when they were on. One had Kurt Russell and the "best car chase EVER" according to Tarantino. The other had Rose McGowan and her machine gun leg. The popularity of both of these directors will combine to make a big success of a historically low-income type of theater release.
We should see a lot of build-up for this one as we near release date. The main cast members are all fairly popular (Nicolas Cage, Julianne Moore, and Jessica Biel) and should each draw in their own fans. I expect to see many talk show visits from each of the stars, which will help a lot. There will also be some interest since there are some terrorist aspects to the film, but that effect will probably be minimal as compared to the star power.
3. Perfect Stranger
Halle Berry has been all over the entertainment news shows and magazines talking about her suicide attempt and other bad things that happened to her. "Oh, by the way, did I mention I'm in a new movie with Bruce Willis?" The studio has really got to push this one up front because from the sound of it, there won't be much in the way of word-of-mouth advertising, other than bad. Early screeners have not been very impressed with Ms. Berry and Mr. Willis. Let's get past this one and get to the highly-anticipated Die Hard sequel already.
4. Are We Done Yet?
This is definitely not one of the quality films this month. But there were enough people that saw the original Are We There Yet? in 2005 ($82.3 million domestically) to warrant a sequel. I don't think the studio has much confidence in this one so that's why we're seeing it here in April. But then again, they dumped the original in January and it did pretty well.
The marketing aspect for this film has been intense. We've seen a lot of scenes of Kate Beckinsale and Luke Wilson trapped in their motel room with a slasher waiting in the wings. I think Screen Gems has done a decent job creating the right response in the viewers and it should pay off pretty well. Plus, having Beckinsale is a nice addition.
If you get a Silence of the Lambs vibe from this one, you're not alone. Not only do you have Anthony Hopkins playing a creepy killer, the story is very similar as well. I think the main thing that will hurt this film is that they are trying too hard to make it feel like Silence of the Lambs rather than its own film. That may be a turn-off for potential movie goers who don't want to see a watered-down version of a modern classic.
Have you seen Hitchcock's classic Rear Window? Then you'll be very familiar with the story of this movie. Up-and-comer Shia LaBeouf basically takes over the Stewart role of the nosy neighbor who's convinced that there's a serial killer living across the street. Again, in my perspective, this is another dump from the studio.
8. The Reaping
Will Hilary Swank be able to explain why biblical plagues have descended upon a small Texas town? That's the question the studio wants you to wonder about and answer with this film. This film has been running into troubles from day one. Not very many people have been impressed with it and Warner Bros. seems to be just getting rid of it. There hasn't been much in the way of publicity so that doesn't help any either.
I think that people will think the lead is played by singer Keith Urban, instead of Karl Urban, and go see this by mistake.
10. Firehouse Dog
I've got a little higher hopes for this film than most analysts. Parents don't have that many silly choices for this kids very often – especially in live action. When one does come along, the kids drag their parents out of the house quickly. The storyline and stunts look pretty cute and it should do well enough at the box office.