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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Back 2 Work - 'Despicable Me 2'

     After three years of anticipation, the minions are finally back as the new trailer for Despicable Me 2 is now out. The new trailer has been released today and should play in front of The Croods on Friday. All of your favorites from Despicable Me are back; Gru, the MINIONS, Agnes, Edith, Margo, and Dr. Nefario (though he's not seen in the the trailer).
     The trailer starts with Gru giving the girls a kiss goodnight and a funny rant from the cute Agnes. Gru then runs into Agent Lucy Wild of the "Anti Villain League"; she abducts Gru and two minions, comically, and takes them to an underground CIA/MI6'esque facility where Silas Ramsbottom (who will be the butt of jokes by them minions, and pun intended) tells him a new villainous threat has surfaced and since he "knows how a villain thinks", that is why they brought him to the facility. The trailer ends with the Gru showcasing how he's going to save the world again and more minion mischief. The new trailer is on here on Youtube.
     Despicable Me was a surprise hit in 2010, blowing away predications and expectations of everyone, including Universal and Illumination. Despicable Me finished #7 for the year and #2 for animation after Toy Story 3. Despicable Me's $251 domestic gross was still huge for computer animation today and it ranks #9 all time in CG animation and #1 for a CG movie not made by Pixar or DreamWorks.
     Despicable Me 2 will battle with Monsters University for #1 animation of the year, though I'm in favor of Despicable Me 2. The minions were and still are hilarious and they are the perfect marketing tool, positive reception from the first movie, a new storyline, 3D, sequel status, and great marketing should position this as one of the top for the year, and some are considering this a dark horse to win the year over Iron Man 3 and Catching Fire. Can it pull a Shrek 2 or will it pull a Kung Fu Panda 2 or somewhere in-between? We'll know come this time next year. Despicable Me 2 opens July 3, 2013 in America and June through October worldwide.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Jack The Giant Failure

     Odds are you haven't seen Jack The Giant Slayer. Odds are you won't anytime soon. Only around 5 million people domestically have since its opening on March 1st. Oz captured at least 8 million people in its first 5 days alone. Jack is not what Warner Bros wanted or needed it to be. After the failures of Gangster Squad, Beautiful Creatures, Burt Wonderstone, Cloud Atlas, and Bullet to the Head, and the Justice League turmoil, Jack has just added to the dry spell in Warner checkbooks. On a plus side, WB had a very solid 2012 (minus Atlas) and Hobbit became the latest movie to cross $1 billion worldwide.
     Jack the Giant Slayer, directed by Bryan Singer and starring Nicholas Hoult, is no doubt this years John Carter. John Carter is even tracking ahead of Jack. So far, Jack has grossed $45.8 million domestic and $68.1 million worldwide and with a 68.3% drop in it's second weekend, Jack won't be at the box office party for long; his curfew is kicking in. John Carter has made $10 million more through the same point.
     Jack is obviously going to be a massive loss for Warner Bros, but Jack has been doomed for a long time. Originally set to come out in June 2012, Warner pushed Jack back to March 2013 for various reasons, one to make the movie "more kid-friendly". March has become a lucrative months for studios and is arguably the most sought after month outside of the summer and holiday months. The overall goal of the movie just never fell in play.
     Jack's delays have raised the budget, but there's really no reason for it to cost as much as it did. The same can be said for Oz, Battleship, really anything with a budget over $200 million. Oz debuted to $79.1 million last weekend and should be a decent hit for Disney, but "decent" is not what they wanted; but you have to ask yourself, did they really need to give Oz a $200 million budget and $100 million in marketing? Did Oz need the dazzling effects, A-list stars, flying baboons, and all the advertising? Would an $80 million Oz have done or been just as good? Those are very opinionated questions; many people still go to movies for stories over effects, which is a complaint from many critics about Oz, but in the end, the studio makes the call; its there money.
     Jack will be a shot in the feet (not foot) for WB, but their summer schedule shows promise. 2013 has been lethargic as a whole (see my earlier post) for various reasons, but it probably won't be completely understood why Jack failed. Jack may end with no more than $60 million domestic and worldwide isn't promising, but at least that's one more unneeded sequel that won't be released in 2014-2015.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Heavy Metal; 'Iron Man 3' Trailer Released

     The new trailer for Iron Man 3 has hit the web today and it's two and half minutes of Marvel goodness. Iron Man 3, this time directed by Shane Black, tells the tale of Tony Stark aka Iron Man who is suffering from post traumatic stress disorder after the events of The Avengers. Ever since, all he spends his time doing is building new armors. When the Mandarin, the villainous leader of the terrorist group "the Ten Rings" surfaces and strips Tony of everything he knows and loves (his Malibu mansion gets blown into the ocean), Tony must now use his scraps to rebuild his life and find this terrorist, who uses actual ten rings for mythical and physical power, and take him down.
     Also thrown in, a "virus" called Extremis, which can turn an ordinary pizza guy, into a superhuman soldier. Note, no pizza guys actually make an appearance, that I'm aware of, just an example. Aldrich Killian, a scientist who develops Extremis turns rogue, partnering with Mandarin and takes the virus himself.
     Tony's beautiful house is in the bottom of the sea, Pepper's been kidnapped, Tony's armor's have been blown to scrap, and he can't contact his Avengers pals; he's alone. After taking a brisk walk through the snow, thinking about life, Tony realizes he has to use his most powerful weapon, his brain, to save the world and the lives of the people he loves.
     The trailer is beautiful. Tony Stark is known for his wit, sarcasm, and nonchalant lifestyle, but this trailer is a great display of the character's emotional depth, as wit and sarcasm alone won't save him. War Machine is also seen with a redesigned Iron Patriot look and more time is spent with this trailer showcasing the Mandarin and Killian. This trailer is easily one of Marvel's most serious, but don't worry, Iron Man 3 reportedly still features some comedy. RDJ is starring in this, there has to be comedy. The last Iron Man 3 trailer has already amassed 50 million views on YouTube, one of the best ever for a movie trailer. This one, one of the most top notch trailers I've seen in a while, should come close. I still have Iron Man 3 pegged as the #1 movie of the year. It'll be in competition with Catching Fire, but I don't think Katniss' bows can match Stark's arsenal.
     Watch the new action packed Iron Man 3 trailer here. Also catch the older, but still awesome Iron Man 3 trailer here.
     Iron Man 3 stars Robert Downey Jr., Don Cheadle, Guy Pierce, Gwyneth Paltrow, Ben Kingsley, Rebecca Hall,  and Jon Favreau. Distributed by Walt Disney Pictures, though Paramount's logo will show because of a deal between Disney/Paramount, Iron Man 3 flies into theaters April international and May 3rd worldwide.
     You're up, Man of Steel and Amazing Spider Man 2.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

2013 To The Emergency Room

     One word to describe the 2013 box office so far - anemic. 2013 is off to a terrible start and things aren't looking too much better before the summer. So far, 2013 has brought in $1.473 billion domestically. A billion dollars is a lot of dollars, but when it comes to the multi-billion dollar entertainment industry, this is chump change. January was poor and February was the lowest grossing since 2002; 11 years ago. The low gross also means that January and February were even lower in attendance. Frost is forming on theater seats.
     Only 1 movie from January and February, Identity Theft, has and will cross $100 million. Last year we had 3. Silver Linings Playbook, Django, Les Miz, and Life of Pi have crossed $100 million this year, but they are 2012 movies, so they don't count.
     2012 started off on a shockingly great pace. February and March set gross records and if it wasn't for 2009's Avatar, 2010's January record could have been broken too. February 2012 ranked 4th in all time attendance and March ranked 2nd. The "people don't go to the movies anymore" argument still isn't valid, at least it wasn't last year. So why? Why in just one year has the market shifted back to the doldrums? Not only did 2012 start on a strong note, but it ended on one as 2012 set a new November record.
     To start, Hollywood has been churning out crappy movies. And crappy is saying it lightly; I can't say the real definition here. (children readers). This isn't my opinion; this is fact. Of 24 wide releases so far, 21 have been rated rotten and only THREE movies have been rated fresh. In order for a movie to be rated fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, 60% or more of the critics that reviewed the movie have to give it a positive review. Ticket prices are ever increasing and people are more cautious of what movies they spend money on. Some horrible movies do succeed, but if its horrible movie after horrible movie every weekend, it gets tired. Critic reviews are opinionated and not everyone thinks the movies are bad; Identity Theft only has 24% on RT, but its 2013's highest grosser by far, but in general, the movies are dissatisfying. A Good Day to Die Hard is a big example.
     Movies are a family affair. The studios aren't getting the hint. There has only been one nationwide family release this year; Escape to Planet Earth. Disney's Oz: The Great and Powerful is being released next week and should tap into the family market, but it is still not enough. There have been zero G rated movies and one PG rated movie so far this year. There has been at least one R rated release every week this year, and some weekends this year all releases were rated R. Hollywood needs to change this fast. Many Americans don't want to keep seeing so much violence, especially after all the real life violence that has been going on lately. TV is also violent so why go to theater to watch more violence? Basically, stop with a shoot-em-up, blow-em-up, chop-em-up movie every Friday; mix the market up to appeal to everyone.
     The economy, winter weather, higher prices, low quality movies, too many R rated movies, not enough family movies, piracy, Redbox and Netflix are all contributing to the lower grosses in some way. Some people are now opting to wait 5 months on a movie so they can pay $1 to rent or watch it streaming at home. Who's paying $10 for Broken City when reviews say its just like every other movie of its genre? Is Bullet to the Head really an appropriate and appealing title? This is the from the same studio that took "killer" out of Jack the Giant Killer and replaced it with "slayer." Do people want to see Texas Chainsaw 14 that's no different from Texas Chainsaw 1-13? The answer right now is a majority "no." Just look at the grosses. Schwarzenegger, Stallone, and Statham, Hollywood's "action captain's", fell flat.
     2012 was the same way with an R rated movie coming out every weekend, but the market was more diverse; especially the February 10th weekend. March will be the on the stronger side, but it's not too promising. Oz has an epic scope, but that doesn't guarantee epic grosses. GI Joe: Retaliation looks leagues above Rise of Cobra, but if it does break out, it will help April more than March. The Host could be the new Twilight, but it could also be Beautiful Creatures. After the disappointing run of Rise of the Guardians, The Croods is under pressure. Every other March release looks average and the March 1st-3rd weekend will be a disappointment based on Friday estimates.
     2013 is not doomed. 2012 started off elite, but then went back to decade low weekends, then rebounded in November. 2013's summer looks stronger than 2012's, but if March and April don't shape up, 2013 won't come close to a record. Take a look at the 2013 summer schedule; it will be extremely interesting.
     It's still early and 2013 has a long way to go, so we'll see what happens. I did an article in August 2012 when that year was going on it's landslide, so hopefully 2013 will strive for an uphill climb. Hollywood has the power, they have to make it happen. 2013, I believe in you.