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2005 Preview: April

April 1st, 2005

April is one of the weakest months of the year because it is so close to the massive summer box office season. A film released in late April only has one or two weeks at the box office before being crushed by the competition, so studios tend to be wary of what they release at this time. On the plus side, they tend not to dump too many duds either and it doesn't take much for any of these films to please the studios since expectations are low to begin with.

Name: The Amityville Horror
Studio: MGM/UA
Official Site: AmityvilleHorrorMovie.com
Release Date: April 15th, 2005
MPAA Rating: Rated R for violence and terror, sexuality, language and brief drug use.
Source: Remake
Major Genre: Horror
Genres: Hauntings
Production Budget: Unknown - estimated at $45 million
Box Office Potential: $49,857,502
Notes: Yet another remake , so you can pretty much figure out this film's chances right there. On a side note, with the slump these films are in, I bet the producers of the nearly dozen more remakes that are scheduled to be released this year are getting mighty worried over their films' chances. This version of the film follows the novel more closely than the original , but neither of them are based on real events as the advertising claims. On the plus side, this appears to be the only movie opening wide on the 15th and that can only help the film's chances.

Name: Beauty Shop
Studio: MGM/UA
Official Site: MGM.com
Release Date: March 30th, 2005
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 on appeal for sexual material, language and brief drug references.
Source: Spin-Off
Major Genre: Comedy
Genres: Beauty Industry
Production Budget: Unknown - Estimated at $25 million
Box Office Potential: $41,984,371
Notes: A spin-off from the Barbarshop franchise. Like many franchises, the sequel couldn't live up to the original and while I think this film will continue that trend, I don't think the drop-off will be as high as it was for the last film.

Note: early buzz is weaker than expected and the box office potential has been reduced accordingly.

Name: Fever Pitch
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Official Site: FeverPitchMovie.com
Release Date: April 8th, 2005
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for crude and sexual humor, and some sensuality.
Source: Remake
Major Genre: Romantic Comedy
Genres: Baseball
Production Budget: $40 million
Box Office Potential: $34,480,765
Notes: A movie that might suffer at the box office because of real life events. It's about a woman (Drew Barrymore) who falls for a man (Jimmy Fallon), whose true love is the Boston Red Sox. Those who pay even a little attention to Major League Baseball know why there had to be a re-write. The movie is based on a story by Nick Hornby, who also wrote High Fidelity and About A Boy. In the original story and movie , the sport in question was Soccer. But for the American remake it was changed to Baseball. A movie like this lives and dies on the chemistry between its two stars, and from the trailer I don't think they have enough for a big hit but it shouldn't bomb completely either due to the midlevel production budget.

Name: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Studio: Disney
Official Site: Hitchhikers.movies.com
Release Date: April 29th, 2005
MPAA Rating: Rated PG - for thematic elements, action and mild language.
Source: Based on a Book
Major Genre: Comedy
Genres: End of the World
Production Budget: Unknown, reports vary from $40 million to $120 million with $80 million being the closest to an official budget
Box Office Potential: $76,000,042
Notes: Many times I've admitted that I was so far outside a film's target audience that is was nearly impossible for me to judge the film's chances. With this film the exact opposite is true. I'm am such a huge fan of the books the movie is based on I may have a hard time judging the film's chances objectively. On the plus side, the books have a huge following of very loyal fans. On the negative side, they are quirky and there are plenty of opportunities to screw up the translation to film. On the plus side again, the film's trailers have been some of the funniest I've seen this year, possible even in the past few years, and the film should be one of the biggest hits of the month. One last note, the movie adaptation has been in the works, off and on, since 1982 and the film has become the poster-child for development hell. So it's great to see it finally hit the big screen.

Name: The Interpreter
Studio: Universal
Official Site: TheInterpreterMovie.com
Release Date: April 22nd, 2005
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for violence, some sexual content and brief strong language.
Source: Original Screenplay
Major Genre: Thriller
Genres: Assassination
Production Budget: $80 million
Box Office Potential: $56,271,053
Notes: One of those movies that on paper has a lot going for it (Oscar winning director, two oscar winning stars) but release date speaks volumes. The trailer is intriguing; an Interpreter at the U.N. overhears a conversation that she thinks is a plot to assassinate a politician who is coming to the U.N. to speak. But because of the unusual circumstances that lead to her finding out about the assassination plot and some skeletons in her closet, she can't convince the Secret Service that the threat is real. But there's little to no advance buzz and that makes me think something went wrong during the making of this film and it will be a midlevel hit at best.

Name: King's Ransom
Studio: New Line
Official Site: KingsRansomMovie.com
Release Date: April 22nd, 2005
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for crude and sexual humor and language.
Source: Original Screenplay
Major Genre: Comedy
Genres: Kidnapping
Production Budget: Unknown - estimated at $25 million
Box Office Potential: $28,360,115
Notes: Opening on the only busy weekend of the month, this movie will most likely get squeezed out because of the competition. The lack of drawing power from the cast and a trailer nearly devoid of humor also hurts.

Name: A Lot Like Love
Studio: Studio
Official Site: AlotLikeLove.movies.go.com
Release Date: April 22nd, 2005
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sexual content, nudity and language.
Source: Original Screenplay
Major Genre: Romantic Comedy
Genres: None
Production Budget: Unknown - Estimated at $25 million
Box Office Potential: $43,157,946
Notes: A romantic comedy of the most generic kind. After watching the trailer I can't see a single thing that sets this film apart from half-a-dozen other romantic comedies. The plot details are very reminiscent of When Harry Met Sally…, which will most likely work against the film's box office potential.

Name: Sahara
Studio: Paramount
Official Site: SaharaMovie.com
Release Date: April 8th, 2005
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for action violence.
Source: Based on a Book
Major Genre: Action / Adventure
Genres: Treasure Hunters
Production Budget: $130 million
Box Office Potential: $67,045,382
Notes: This film has had a long and troubled journey to theatres. It was originally planned for a summer 2003 release, when it was supposed to be Paramount's big hit of the summer. Filming delays, cast changes, loss of a director, etc. pushed the release date from summer 2003 to summer 2004, and now it has finally settled on a early April release date. That doesn't instill a lot of confidence in the movie. Nor did the trailer, the chemistry between the two stars was off and I've never been impressed by any Penelope Cruz performance. On the other hand, this is an expensive movie and the studio will have to hype it big to avoid looking foolish, so it could have at least one weekend of decent returns before fading quickly.

Name: Sin City
Studio: Dimension
Official Site: SinCityTheMovie.com
Release Date: April 1st, 2005
MPAA Rating: Rated R for sustained strong stylized violence, nudity and sexual content including dialogue.
Source: Based on a Comic Book
Major Genre: Action / Adventure
Genres: Independent Comic and Gratuitous Cameos
Production Budget: Unknown - estimated at $40 million
Box Office Potential: $82,940,365
Notes: A Comic Book adaptation that takes the style of the source material and puts it on screen so literally it is bound to turn a lot of moviegoers off. Had it been any other director besides Robert Rodriguez I'd be really worried about the film, but I think he can handle the style very well. (The film is black and white, with just a few items colored in post production and it's shot entirely on HD digital cameras with the actors in front of green screens.) One last note, I was hesitant to place the film in the Gratuitous Cameos genre, not because there aren't lots and lots of cameos, but because of the movie's format (a series of interwoven short stories) these cameos are not Gratuitous.

Name: The Upside of Anger
Studio: New Line
Official Site: UpsideOfAnger.com
Release Date: Limited - March 11th, 2005, Wide - April 1st 2005
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language, sexual situations, brief comic violence and some drug use.
Source: Original Script
Major Genre: Drama
Genres: Radio Industry and Baseball
Production Budget: $12 million
Box Office Potential: $36,857,524 million
Notes: I've been looking forward to this movie for a long time, mostly for its excellent cast. Well, the female part of the cast, anyway. Never been a big fan of Kevin Costner and going by his recent box office performances I'm not alone in feeling that way. Look for the film to have a box office run similar to In Good Company, although it won't make it quite as high. It is worth noting that the film was originally scheduled for a cushy Oscar release late in December before getting moved to March / April and while it would be hard to interpret this as a positive sign, it is not necessarily the kiss of death. Note: the film is doing better in limited release than expected, but the wide release is not nearly as wide as expected. These two forces should balance out resulting in no net change to the prediction.

Name: XXX: State of the Union
Studio: Sony
Official Site: SonyPictures.com
Release Date: April 29th, 2005
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense action violance and some language.
Source: Sequel
Major Genre: Action / Adventure
Genres: Secret Agent
Production Budget: Unknown - Estimated at $60 million
Box Office Potential: $52,556,982
Notes: Making a sequel without the original star is a very risky proposal - just ask the producers of Son of the Mask. Of course, 2 Fast 2 Furious was made without Vin Diesel and that movie did just fine. Then again, that film was released in the heart of summer and that gave it a distinct advantage. 2 Fast 2 Furious also cost twice as much as the original, while XXX: State of the Union has the feel of a cheaper copy. In the end, the film will be a huge drop from the original and will likely end the franchise.


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Filed under: Monthly Preview, Sin City, The Interpreter, Sahara, The Amityville Horror, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Fever Pitch, Beauty Shop, XXX: State of the Union, A Lot Like Love, The Upside of Anger, King's Ransom