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2004 Preview: September

September 1st, 2004

Yikes. September has historically been a dumping ground for bad films and this year looks no different. September is also a very hard month to write a preview for; there are more than a dozen films, but very few of them have received any advanced buzz, good or bad, making predicting their chances very hard indeed.

Name: Cellular
Studio: New Line
Official Site: CellularTheMovie.com
Release Date: September 10th
Source: Original Screenplay
Major Genre: Suspense
Genres: Kidnapping
Production Budget: Unknown, estimated at $45 million
Box Office Potential: $30 million
Notes: This is a film that's been bounced around a bit; moved from a prime May opening and eventually settling on September 10th. That's about all you need to know to judge this film's chances.

Name: The Cookout
Studio: Lions Gate
Official Site: TheCookoutMovie.com
Release Date: September 3rd
Source: Original Screenplay
Major Genre: Comedy
Genres: Basketball and Food
Production Budget: Unknown, estimated at $16 million
Box Office Potential: $20 million
Notes: The actual NBA draft is held in early summer, so why is this film being released now? Probably because the studio thinks they have a dud on their hands. Although neither of the previous release dates estimates, (spring and August) are prime release times, at least if the film was released in Spring it could have gotten some publicity with the NBA playoffs. On the positive side, Barbershop was released during the same timeframe two years ago. However, this film is unlikely to repeat that success.

Name: First Daughter
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Official Site: FirstDaughterMovie.com
Release Date: September 24th
Source: Original Screenplay
Major Genre: Romantic Comedy
Genres: Cross Class Romance
Production Budget: Unknown, estimated at $30 million
Box Office Potential: $25 million
Notes: The similarities between this movie and Chasing Liberty are not superficial. At one point they were both called First Daughter and scheduled for a January 2004 release. This film got to keep the name but was pushed back to just before Thanksgiving before settling on September 24th. Had the studio stuck with the November release date, the film could have been a minor hit. But being released in September will really hurt its chances.

Name: The Forgotten
Studio: Sony
Official Site: SonyPictures.com
Release Date: September 24th
Source: Original Screenplay
Major Genre: Suspense
Genres: Surprise Twist
Production Budget: Unknown, estimated at $50 million
Box Office Potential: $40 million
Notes: This film as a very cool premise and I found the trailer to be effective. It also had three release dates during the prime summer season before being dumped in September. So this will mostly likely be a case of good premise, poor execution.

Name: The Last Shot
Studio: Disney
Official Site: LastShot.Movies.Go.Com
Release Date: September 24th
Source: Based on Real Life Events
Major Genre: Comedy
Genres: Mafia and Movie Industry
Production Budget: Unknown, estimated at $40 million
Box Office Potential: $25 million
Notes: This looks like another case of good potential, poor execution. The film has a few things going for it, strong cast, a premise than if done right should please and the screenwriter has several hits on his resume. But it's up against that September release date, which is a noose around most films that are released this month.

Name: Mr. 3000
Studio: Disney
Official Site: Mr3000.com
Release Date: September 17th
Source: Original Screenplay
Major Genre: Comedy
Genres: Baseball
Production Budget: $30 million
Box Office Potential: $45 million
Notes: Looking at Bernie Mac resume and there's an impressive list of credits going back more than a decade. But this film is his first starring role. But because he's such a well-known actor / comedian that shouldn't be a detriment to the film, just an interesting piece of trivia. On a more important note, if there are no pennant races worth watching in Baseball, it could hurt this film to the tune of $10 million at the box office. On the other hand, had the film kept its original May 14th release date it could have earned twice as much.

Name: Paparazzi
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Official Site: PaparazziTheMovie.com
Release Date: September 3rd
Source: Original Screenplay
Major Genre: Action / Adventure
Genres: Revenge
Production Budget: $20 million
Box Office Potential: $20 million
Notes: Kurt Russell, Vince Vaughn, George Clooney and Tom Cruise! That's an amazing cast, right? Nope, it's the list of actors who turned down this film. Add in first time screenwriter, first time director and the September release date and you're looking at a disaster.

Name: Resident Evil: Apocalypse
Studio: Sony
Official Site: RE2.com
Release Date: September 10th
Source: Sequel
Major Genre: Horror
Genres: Zombies
Production Budget: Unknown, estimated at $50 million
Box Office Potential: $45 million
Notes: Studios make sequels because they are hoping to cash in on a known commodity. But what happens when the first film can't be described as a true success, either at the box office or with the critics? Then spending a bundle more on the sequel would seem like a huge mistake. Still, the film should have enough hype for one weekend at the top, but it could earn more in its first 3 days than it will during the rest of its run. On a side note, like most films being released this September, this film has bounced around several release dates. However, unlike most of the rest of those films, this one was never planned for a prime release date.

Name: Shaun of the Dead
Studio: Focus Features
Official Site: ShaunOfTheDeadMovie.com
Release Date: September 24th
Source: Original Screenplay
Major Genre: Comedy
Genres: Zombies
Production Budget: Unknown, estimated at $5 million
Box Office Potential: $15 million
Notes: This film did rather well in the U.K. when it was released this past April, but it has struggled to find audiences in other countries. And I fear the same will happen here. People who have a decidedly British sense of humor or fans of the Zombie genre may appreciate the film, but most people won't be part of the target audience.

Name: Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow
Studio: Paramount
Official Site: SkyCaptain.com
Release Date: September 17th
Source: Original Screenplay
Major Genre: Sci-Fi
Genres: Visual Effects
Production Budget: $70 million
Box Office Potential: $50 million
Notes: This movie looks to be high on style but very short on substance. Another film that was moved from a prime summer slot to the middle of September, which is never a good sign. When all is said and done, this film will be known for it's missed potential more than anything else.

Name: Vanity Fair
Studio: Focus Features
Official Site: VanityFairMovie.com
Release Date: September 1st
Source: Based on a Book
Major Genre: Drama
Genres: Costume Drama
Production Budget: $23 million
Box Office Potential: $30 million
Notes: Costume Drama being released early for the award season. However, reviews suggest it has missed the marked. It opens tonight in roughly 1000 theaters, which is not quite the level I would call a wide release, but it may expand later. The film will need to earn some serious word of mouth if it's going to last long enough to be a contender during award season.

Name: Wicker Park
Studio: MGM
Official Site: MGM.com
Release Date: September 3rd
Source: Remake
Major Genre: Suspense
Genres: Non-Chronological
Production Budget: $30 million
Box Office Potential: $15 million
Notes: This film, like Paparazzi, suffered from big names turning down a chance to work on the film. This film was also pushed back from a spring release to September. And neither of those bode well for its chances.

Name: Wimbledon
Studio: Universal
Official Site: WimbledonMovie.com
Release Date: September 17th
Source: Original Screenplay
Major Genre: Romantic Comedy
Genres: Miscellaneous Sports
Production Budget: $35 million
Box Office Potential: $30 million
Notes: Wimbledon is runs from late June to early July, so why is this movie being released in September? Maybe it's to coincide with the U.S. Open, but that ends on the 12th of September. So why not set the movie at the U.S. Open? Because part of the story line revolves around the fact that no British man as won Wimbledon in nearly 70 years. But I really don't think that's going to be a compelling story line in the United States. This film, on the other hand, should earn more in the U.K.


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Filed under: Monthly Preview, The Forgotten, Resident Evil: Apocalypse, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, Cellular, Mr. 3000, Wimbledon, Vanity Fair, Paparazzi, Shaun of the Dead, Wicker Park, The Cookout, First Daughter, The Last Shot