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2006 Preview: March

March 1st, 2006

This is a not as busy a month as it initially looks. Granted, there are 18 movies on this month's list, but there are five weekends, or at least five Fridays. Also, every week there's at least one film that may or may not be getting a truly wide release. Considering the level of competition, I'm leaning against any of five such films opening in more than 2000 theatres. On the plus side, we should see the first $100 million movie of 2006 open this month, and perhaps even see two movies reach that milestone.

Interested in discussing these predictions? The join us in the forums.

Name: 16 Blocks
Studio: Warner Bros.
Official Site: 16Blocks.WarnerBros.com
Release Date: March 3rd, 2006
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for violence, intense sequences of action, and some strong language
Source: Original Screenplay
Major Genre: Action
Genres: Corrupt Cops and Whistleblowers
Production Budget: Unknown - estimated at $45 million
Box Office Potential: $51 million
Notes: Not the most hotly anticipated film of the coming month, but it doesn't look like a bomb either. The premise is simple, Bruce Willis has to escort Mo Def 16 blocks and only has two hours to get there, oh yeah, there's a bunch of dirty cops trying to kill them. Fortunately the trailer sells that thin plot better than expected, and that should help the film somewhat. But the best case scenario still have the film waiting till the home market before it shows a profit. On a side note, I think they should make a sequel to the movie but take out the dirty cops angle. Bruce Willis has two hours to escort Mo Def 16 blocks, and only thing standing in the way is the regular New York City traffic! Four letter words fly! Impolite hand gestures abound! Coming soon to a theatre near you.

Name: Aquamarine
Studio: Fox
Official Site: AquamarineMovie.com
Release Date: March 3rd, 2006
MPAA Rating: PG for mild language and sensuality
Source: Based on a Book
Major Genre: Comedy
Genres: Duff Fluff
Production Budget: Unknown - estimated at under $20 million
Box Office Potential: $20 million
Notes: After a big storm, a mermaid is washed up into a pool where two girls find it. A lot of people are comparing the film to Splash or the upcoming Lady in the Water while noting that the film is obviously aimed at 'tween girls. This target audience puts a rather hard upper limit on the film's box office potential, especially internationally, but the film's also tend to be cheap enough that no matter how poorly they do, the studio still makes a profit. One last note, this is the first film for pop star JoJo, her next film doesn't open in theatre for almost two whole months. Fortunately she doesn't appear to have another film project in the works, otherwise she could go from movie debut to overexposure in record time. Last minute note: The film wasn't screened for critics and the lack of an effective ad campaign has reduced the film's box office potential, which is reflected above.

Name: ATL
Studio: Warner Bros.
Official Site: ATLTheMovie.WarnerBros.com
Release Date: March 31st, 2006
MPAA Rating: Not yet rated
Source: Original Screenplay
Major Genre: Comedy
Genres: Roller Disco
Production Budget: Unknown - estimated at under $20 million
Box Office Potential: $22.5 million
Notes: The first of the films on this month's list that may or may not get a wide release, at least it is the first alphabetically. This is the second movie coming out just over half a year dealing with Roller Disco. Since the first one flopped, I'm not expecting a whole lot out of this one. Since this one uses Hip-Hop instead of 70s Disco, the film should connect with audiences marginally better, and the better release date will also help.

Name: Basic Instinct 2
Studio: MGM/UA
Official Site: SonyPictures.com
Release Date: March 31st, 2006
MPAA Rating: R for strong sexuality, nudity, violence, language and some drug content
Source: Sequel
Major Genre: Suspense
Genres: Authors
Production Budget: Reported at $70 million
Box Office Potential: $20 million
Notes: Dear god, why? The term unnecessary sequel doesn't go nearly far enough to describe this movie. I can't think of a single factor going for this movie... okay, morbid curiosity might get a few people into the theatres, but I can't see this film earning anywhere near as much as the original did. Usually sequel open bigger but fade faster. In this case, I think it will start slower and disappear from theatres before the weekend is over.

Name: David Chappelle's Block Party
Studio: Focus Features
Official Site: ChappellesBlockParty.com
Release Date: March 3rd, 2006
MPAA Rating: R for language.
Source: Based on Real Life Events
Major Genre: Documentary / Concert
Genres: Musicians
Production Budget: $3 million
Box Office Potential: $22.5 million
Notes: First of all, this film is opening in less than 1000 theatres, which is not enough to truly be called a wide release but it should be enough to reach the top ten in its opening. This is the first project for Dave Chappelle since he walked away from his hugely successful show and his fans will probably be desperate to see some new material from him. Will they be willing to pay for a ticket when they used to be able to get to see him perform for free on TV? That's the big question. On a side note, there have been a lot of crackpot theories about why he left his show after getting paid $50 million. He was on drugs, he went crazy, etc. Personally, I think one too many college students came up to him and said, "I'm Rick James, bitch!" One time he just snapped and killed the guy so he had to get out of the country till the heat died down.

Name: Failure to Launch
Studio: Paramount
Official Site: FailureToLaunchMovie.com
Release Date: March 10th, 2006
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sexual content, partial nudity and language
Source: Original Screenplay
Major Genre: Romantic Comedy
Genres: Coming of age or Delayed Adulthood
Production Budget: Unknown - estimated at $30 million
Box Office Potential: $45 million
Notes: Firstly, and most importantly, this romantic comedy was pushed back from the weekend before Valentine's Day to March 10th. For a studio to move a romantic comedy away from Valentine's Day is a really, really bad sign. Still, Sarah Jessica Parker's transition from TV star to movie star has gone well so far, and while this film won't live up to The Family Stone it should do well enough to make the studio happy and secure her more work.

Name: Find Me Guilty
Studio: Freestyle Releasing
Official Site: FindMeGuilty-TheMovie.com
Release Date: March 17th, 2006
MPAA Rating: R for strong language and some violence
Source: Based on Real Life Events
Major Genre: Drama
Genres: Mafia and Courtroom Drama
Production Budget: $13 million
Box Office Potential: $20 million
Notes: Another film that may or may not get a wide release this month. I'm leaning towards limited release because of the studio history, but several sources have it going wide. If it does go wide, it will still struggle because it is not the same type of movie that Vin Diesel fans have come to expect from him while his detractors might not accept his attempt at branching out. More interestingly for me is the fact that Sidney Lumet is directing; he definitely knows his way around a Courtroom Drama with 12 Angry Men and The Verdict. However, it has been a while since one of his films has been both a critical and box office success.

Name: The Hills Have Eyes
Studio: Fox Searchlight
Official Site: FoxSearchlight.com
Release Date: March 10th, 2006
MPAA Rating: R for strong gruesome violence and terror throughout, and for language
Source: Remake
Major Genre: Horror
Genres: Mutants and Family Vacations
Production Budget: Unknown - estimated at under $20 million
Box Office Potential: $45 million
Notes: The latest in a long line of relatively low-budget Horror Remakes, and if they keep topping their budgets, they will keep making them. This is a remake of the Wes Craven 'classic' from 1997. And with the success R-rated Horror films are having recently, it won't matter if the film is worse than the original, it will still earn more than enough to cover its costs.

Name: Ice Age 2: The Meltdown
Studio: Fox
Official Site: IceAge2.com
Release Date: March 31st, 2006
MPAA Rating: PG for some mild language and innuendo
Source: Sequel
Major Genre: Animated
Genres: Digital Animation
Production Budget: Unknown - estimated at $75 million
Box Office Potential: $150 million
Notes: If this film doesn't win the monthly box office race, it will be the biggest surprise of the year so far. On the other hand, I don't think it will do quite as well as the first film overall; sure, it will start as fast, or even a little faster, but it won't have the same legs due to Sequelitis. As for the film's chances at profitability, it will probably show a profit before it hits theatres with all the promotional ties that it's bound to have. But even disregarding such revenue, it will make a profit early in its international run, perhaps even sooner.

Name: The Inside Man
Studio: Universal
Official Site: TheInsideMan.net
Release Date: March 24th, 2006
MPAA Rating: R for language and some violent images
Source: Original Screenplay
Major Genre: Drama
Genres: Heist and Hostage
Production Budget: Unknown - estimated at $20 million
Box Office Potential: $15 million
Notes: One of a few films coming out this month that may or may not get a wide release, and even if it does, chances at its opening theatre count won't top 2000. This has to be taken into account when judging the film's box office potential, but if it does earn a truly wide release it could earn double what I'm predicting. That would make it Spike Lee's biggest box office hit since The Original Kings of Comedy.

Name: Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector
Studio: Paramount
Official Site: HealthInspectorTheMovie.com
Release Date: March 24th, 2006
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for crude and sexual content, and for language
Source: Original Screenplay
Major Genre: Comedy
Genres: I'm not even sure it has a plot
Production Budget: Unknown - estimated at under $20 million
Box Office Potential: $10 million
Notes: Another film that may or may not get a wide release, I'm leaning toward select cities for this film due to the lack of promotional material put out by the studio so far. If the film was going wide, it should have more buzz surrounding it by now. Additionally, I don't think Larry The Cable Guy has what it takes to carry a movie and only in certain parts of the country will having his name in the title be considered a selling point. And if it does go for the Select Cities release route, I expect the film to make between $1 million and $2 million, at most.

Name: The Libertine
Studio: Weinstein Co.
Official Site: WeinsteinCo.com
Release Date: March 10th, 2006
MPAA Rating: R for strong sexuality including dialogue, violence and language
Source: Based on a Play
Major Genre: Drama
Genres: Poet
Production Budget: $22 million
Box Office Potential: $15 million
Notes: This film already had its one-week Oscar qualifying run, and while it performed well earning just over $44,000 in two theatres over the full week, it didn't perform as well with the critics as most people were expecting. Also, the few international markets it has played it, it hasn't done particularly well and that indicates a low box office potential here. Furthermore, while the film is earning a 'nationwide release' on the tenth, that could still mean as little as a few hundred theatres. In fact, I wouldn't bet on it earning a theatre count of 2000 under the best of circumstances, which lowers its potential even more.

Name: The Shaggy Dog
Studio: Disney
Official Site: Disney.Go.com
Release Date: March 10th, 2006
MPAA Rating: PG for some mild rude humor
Source: Remake
Major Genre: Comedy
Genres: Talking Animals and Animal Lead
Production Budget: Unknown - estimated at $60 million
Box Office Potential: $50 million
Notes: Tim Allen's box office career so far has been mixed. He's starred in a number of huge hits, including the Toy Story and Santa Clause franchises. But he's also had his fair share of critical and box office bombs. (Although his weakest film with the critics, Christmas with the Kranks turned out to be a bigger than expected hit.) Critically, this film will probably have a lot in common with Christmas with the Kranks and while its family friendly nature will help the film at the box office, it still won't live up to his career box office average.

Name: She's the Man
Studio: Dreamworks
Official Site: ShesTheMan-TheMovie.com
Release Date: March 17th, 2006
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some sexual material
Source: Based on a Play
Major Genre: Romantic Comedy
Genres: New Guy in School and Cross Dressing
Production Budget: Unknown - estimated at $25 million
Box Office Potential: $40 million
Notes: Based on Twelfth Night, this film on one of several contemporary retellings of William Shakespeare plays. I'm a little worried about this movie because I'm not sure Amanda Bynes has what it takes to play a boy because... how do I say this without sounding like a pervert? She's got really nice legs, very feminine looking legs. I'm not sure I can believe her as a boy because of that. Regardless, I'm still looking forward to this movie partially because of Amanda Bynes previous work and partially because of some of the supporting cast members like David Cross and Emily Perkins. I don't expect it to be a huge hit, but it should do well in the counter-programming department.

Name: Slither
Studio: Universal
Official Site: SlitherMovie.net
Release Date: March 31st, 2006
MPAA Rating: R for strong horror violence and gore, and language
Source: Original Screenplay
Major Genre: Horror
Genres: Alien Invasion and Zombies
Production Budget: $20 million
Box Office Potential: $25 million
Notes: This film has cult classic written all over it. Partially because the combination of horror and comedy just lends itself so well to cult appeal, but mainly because it won't earn enough at the box office to be a mainstream hit. That being said, out of all the films on this list, this is the one I'm looking forward to the second most. (V for Vendetta is number one.) Personally I loved the trailer, but then again, I think it matched my warped sensibility perfectly. Not to mention the fact that I've been a fan of Nathan Fillion since his Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place days. However, neither he, nor any of the main cast members are real box office draws and that will hurt the film's chances. Still, I expect the Unrated DVD to be a big seller.

Name: Stay Alive
Studio: Disney
Official Site: CanUStayAlive.com
Release Date: March 24th, 2006
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for horror violence, disturbing images, language, brief sexual and drug content
Source: Orginal Screenplay
Major Genre: Horror
Genres: Video Game and Teenage Slasher
Production Budget: Unknown - estimated at $20 million
Box Office Potential: $35 million
Notes: This is the second film based on the tales of Countess Elizabeth Bathory, a.k.a. The Blood Countess, that has come out in the past year, the previous one being Eternal. Although, in this case it is not so much the crux of the movie and it is background information. The movie is more about a video game called, "Stay Alive," which is a survival horror game along the line of Resident Evil or Silent Hill. When a group of kids start playing the game, the come to the horrible realization that if their character dies, they die. With a premise like that, it has some promise. However, I fear the movie will be just a simple derivative Teenage Slasher and any shred of creativity will be crushed by the end of the first act. Still, one can hope.

Name: Ultraviolet
Studio: Sony
Official Site: SonyPictures.com
Release Date: March 3rd, 2006
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sequences of violent action throughout, partial nudity and language
Source: Original Screenplay
Major Genre: Action/Adventure
Genres: Vampire
Production Budget: $30 million
Box Office Potential: $35 million
Notes: This movie was written specifically for Mila Jovovich after the screenwriter saw her in Resident Evil. Unfortunately, the movie seems to give of a seriously unoriginal vibe. A pinch of Resident Evil, a dash of Aeon Flux, mix well and serve hot. One last note, while the movie falls under the Vampire genre, it doesn't deal with the classical, mythological vampires but a vampire like disease called Hemophagia. Last minute note: The film was pushed back from the last weekend in February to the first weekend in March. This should not have a major effect on its box office. However, the film will not be screened for critics, and that will hurt its box office chances.

Name: V for Vendetta
Studio: Warner Bros.
Official Site: VForVendetta.com
Release Date: March 17th, 2006
MPAA Rating: R for strong violence and some language
Source: Based on a Comic
Major Genre: Action / Adventure
Genres: Terrorism and D.C. Comics
Production Budget: $50 million
Box Office Potential: $85 million
Notes: Out of all the films coming out this month, this is the one I'm looking forward to the most. It is based on an Alan Moore graphic novel and the screenplay was done by the Wachowski brothers. Granted, the last movie based on Alan Moore's work, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, was kind of butchered beyond all recognition, I'm much more hopeful about this one. I am a little weary about the subject matter and how well it will play to a mainstream audience. Sure, fans of source material will flock to the theatres, but that's a niche market at most. Marketed well, and maybe aided by some controversy, the film could beat expectations and reach $100 million. In the end, I think it will miss that milestone but still do well enough to show a profit some time during its international run.


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Filed under: Monthly Preview, Ice Age: The Meltdown, Failure to Launch, Inside Man, V for Vendetta, The Shaggy Dog, The Hills Have Eyes, She's the Man, Stay Alive, ATL, Ultraviolet, Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector, Dave Chappelle's Block Party, Slither, Basic Instinct 2, The Libertine, Find Me Guilty, 16 Blocks, Aquamarine