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Friday, January 10, 2014

The Year Of The SciFi

   2014 came up on us fast. We waved 2013 goodbye and brought in the big 1-4. 2014 is bringing an interesting huddle of movies to the screen. A big player of original movies is sci-fi movies. 2013 wasn't a disaster year for sci-fi, but it damaged its bankability. In my first sci-fi article, I discussed how After Earf, Oblivion, Star Trek Into Darkness, Pacific Rim, and The Host didn't put up the grosses studios and fans were hoping for. It was up to Elysium, Gravity, Ender's Game, and Thor 2 to turn things around. Well Ender came and went quietly, Thor's and Elysium's numbers were respectable, and Gravity was sensational - becoming the highest grossing October movie of all time, by far. All this still wasn't enough to redeem 2013's sci-fi slate.
     There's no point in crying over spilled milk. 2013 is done. 2014 has a fresh upcoming slate of sci-fi adaptions that could turn things around. Robocop, Transendence, Dawn of the Apes, Interstellar, Godzilla, Jupiter Ascending, Divergent, X-Men: Days of Future's Past, Edge of Tomorrow, Transformers: Age of Extinction, Guardians of the Galaxy, Lucy, The Giver, Resident Evil 6, The Maze Runner, and Mockingjay Part 1 are the listed sci-fi classified movies set for release this year. Geez, that's a lot. See, Hollywood isn't being too skeptical.
     X-Men, Transformers, Apes, and Mockingjay will obviously make money, but there still risk in all of these projects. Guardians is a strange concept and it has yet to be seen if it will connect with mainstream audiences, but with the backing of Marvel, an all star cast, and good early reactions, Guardians could be a summer surprise. Half of the internet is still waiting on a trailer, but when it debuts expect a lot of talk, whether good or bad.
     Divergent will be trying to capitalize off of The Hunger Games success, kind of like the annoying little sister that wants to be just like the older sister, so she mimics everything she does. Last year was not a good one for young adult adaptions, but Divergent seems to have more going for it than those movies did. Divergent won't be the new Hunger Games, but it should be able to break out enough to gain it's own identity. Maze Runner is in the same boat, though this movie is the bigger risk. Since Maze Runner was pushed back to the Fall, not much has been seen from it so it's hard to gauge anything about it yet.
     Robocop has a lot of work to do. Not only is the title simply ridiculous for 2014, but 80's remakes haven't fared too well lately. Total Recall seems to be right up Robocop's alley; compare the trailers and they'll look exactly alike. There's nothing special about the reboot and Joel Kinneman isn't exactly a household name - even though Gary Oldman and Samuel L Jackson are. Robocop will likely have trouble making noise for the box office. There isn't much reason to be optimistic that Robocop will pass Recall's $58 million haul. Seriously, just title it Iphone-Cop already. Godzilla on the other hand has been making a tidal wave of noise online and so far Gareth Edwards and Warner/Legendary have done a fantastic job of differentiating this from the dreadful 1998 version. It's still a while until May, but Godzilla looks to be tracking to be a sleeper hit of summer.
     Jupiter Ascending includes Channing Tatum and Mila Kunis, two big A-listers, but Kunis' Friends With Benefits and Tatum's White House Down showed that drooling women and men aren't going to automatically show up for them. JA is a strange concept and Warner's marketing will need to go all out to explain to audiences why JA is the event movie it's budget makes it out to be. Warner is risking with JA, and it's up to them if it'll pay off. I'll get more into Interstellar, Guardians, The Giver, and others as the year progresses.
     Science fiction is a genre you can't live without. 2014 has plenty of it and these movies have potential to do things 2013 couldn't. We'll see how the year and these sci-fi movies progress, but so far things look good.