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2004 Preview: October

October 1st, 2004

October is generally a transition month. Not the dumping ground that September is, but without a major holiday, it's not as prosperous as November. Also, the month is usually good to horror movies for the obvious reason. One last note, the movie industry as a whole is in a bit of a slump right now, of the 11 films that opened wide in September, only 2 will beat expectations by any reasonable degree. This has caused me to downgrade some of my predictions, especially for earlier in the month.

Name: Alfie
Studio: Paramount
Official Site: AlfieMovie.com
Release Date: October 22nd
Source: Remake
Major Genre: Romantic Comedy
Genres: Relationship Advice
Production Budget: Unknown, estimated at $40 million
Box Office Potential: $30 million
Notes: This film falls under the, "What were they thinking?" category. The world has changed a lot since the original came out, and because of that, this film may suffer the same fate as The Stepford Wives, also made by Paramount. This has not been a good year for remakes overall, and don't expect it to turn around on the back of this film.

Name: Eulogy
Studio: Artisan
Official Site: EulogyTheMovie.com
Release Date: October 15th
Source: Original Script
Major Genre: Black Comedy
Genres: Funerals
Production Budget: $10 million
Box Office Potential: $1 million
Notes: First of all, this film is only getting a limited release on the 15th and normally I don't discuss limited releases in the monthly previews. However, this film was at one time scheduled for a wide release in April and I wrote a summary for the film at that time. Then it got pushed back till May, so I adjusted my prediction and re-wrote my summary. Then it got pushed back to September. And then October. And then a limited release on November. And now its set for a limited release on October 15th. Each time I heard about a scheduling change I made the necessary adjustments and I'm not going to let all that work go to waste because its not longer getting a wide release. As for the film itself, it's almost like it was made just so analysts like myself could come up with bad puns regarding the death of Ray Romano's career. The studio is probably hoping for a similar performance to fellow dysfunctional family film The Royal Tenenbaums, but that seems very unlikely at this point. Chances are it won't click with the audience and will have difficulty expanding past a few dozen theatres.

Name: Friday Night Lights
Studio: Universal
Official Site: FridayNightLightsMovie.com
Release Date: October 8th
Source: Based on Real Life Events
Major Genre: Drama
Genres: Football
Production Budget: $40 million
Box Office Potential: $60 million
Notes: This film is going to be compared to fellow Real Life Football flick, Remember the Titans. This film is no Remember the Titans, but it should connect with enough people to become one of Universal's hits for the year. Not a smash hit, but a solid performer that will keep the suits happy.

Name: The Grudge
Studio: Sony
Official Site: DoYouHaveAGrudge.com
Release Date: October 22nd
Source: Remake
Major Genre: Horror
Genres: Possession
Production Budget: Reportedly $15 million
Box Office Potential: $90 million
Notes: Right now, remakes of Japanese films are hot commodities, especially Japanese horror films. The Ring made nearly $130 million two years ago and The Ring 2 coming out next year. This film will suffer from comparisons to the previous films mentioned, which if it remains true to the original will be an unfair comparison. And given its prime release date for horror films, it could still have a decent shot at $100 million

Name: Ladder 49
Studio: Disney
Official Site: Ladder49.com
Release Date: October 1st
Source: Original Screenplay
Major Genre: Action / Adventure
Genres: Rescue
Production Budget: Unknown, estimated at $60 million
Box Office Potential: $35 million
Notes: You just need to hear two words to know what chances this film has to become a hit, John Travolta. That man has been box office poison for most of his career; the latest streak started with Battlefield Earth and if Be Cool doesn't cure it, he's in serious trouble.

Name: Raise Your Voice
Studio: New Line
Official Site: RaiseYourVoiceMovie.com
Release Date: October 8th
Source: Original Script
Major Genre: Drama
Genres: New Girl in School and Performing Arts
Production Budget: $12 million
Box Office Potential: $55 million
Notes: Hilary Duff's film career is turning out to be really solid. And while it was the ensemble comedy, Cheaper by the Dozen that was her biggest hit, the movies where she's been the headliner have performed very admirably on small budgets. (That's small compared to the industry average.) This film requires a more mature performance than her previous works, and if successful can help her escape the Duff Fluff genre.

Name: Ray
Studio: Paramount
Official Site: Ray
Release Date: October 29th
Source: Based on Real Life Events
Major Genre: Drama
Genres: Biography
Production Budget: $30 million
Box Office Potential: $40 million
Notes: Biographical movies are hit and miss … well, more miss than hit. Most biographies are made with awards in mind and not amazing box offices so a lot go the limited release route. When I first heard they were going to make a Ray Charles biopic I was psyched. Then I found out Jamie Foxx was going to play Ray Charles, I thought there was almost zero chance he would be able to pull it off. The first trailer helped alleviate some of my fears, but it will take more before I'm back on the bandwagon.

Name: Saw
Studio: Lions Gate
Official Site: SawMovie.com
Release Date: October 29th
Source: Original Screenplay
Major Genre: Horror
Genres: Serial Killer
Production Budget: Unknown, estimated at $1 million.
Box Office Potential: $15 million
Notes: I think the subject matter of this movie is going to turn a lot of people off. Then again, those people who are turned off were not part of the target audience anyway. Made with a tiny budget, I suspect this film will make enough at the box office for the film to become a cult classic. And in a decade or so it will fondly be remembered as director James Wan's first effort.

Name: Shall We Dance
Studio: Miramax
Official Site: N/A
Release Date: October 15th
Source: Remake
Major Genre: Romantic Comedy
Genres: Dance
Production Budget: $50 million
Box Office Potential: $35 million
Notes: One of several remakes of Japanese films coming out this year, but unlike most of them, this isn't a horror film. Unless you consider a romance between Richard Gere and Jennifer Lopez scary. These two actors are both looking for something to prove. J. Lo is looking for a rebound flick after the Gigli affair and Gere needs to prove that Chicago wasn't a fluke. The original made nearly $10 million back in 1997, an amazing total for a foreign language film. But this puts a lot of pressure of this version and I don't think it will be able to live up to expectation.

Name: Shark Tale
Studio: Dreamworks
Official Site: SharkTale.com
Release Date: October 1st
Source: Original Screenplay
Major Genre: Animated
Genres: Digital Animation and Mafia
Production Budget: Unknown, estimated at $75 million
Box Office Potential: $110 million
Notes: Digital Animation movies have been on a massive role, and there's little doubt that one such movie will top the box office charts for 2004. But will there has been a lot of massive hits, there have been massive bombs as well. It doesn't look like this film has the potential to become a massive hit, it probably won't bomb either. For one thing, the film is going to suffer from comparisons to Finding Nemo and the early buzz is that it is not up to that standard. The style, the story, the voice work just isn't up to the level of a monster hit. Still, there is enough hype for a big opening but not enough legs to carry the film into mega-hit status.

Name: Surviving Christmas
Studio: Dreamworks
Official Site: SurvivingChristmas.com
Release Date: October 22nd,
Source: Original Screenplay
Major Genre: Comedy
Genres: Christmas in November
Production Budget: Unknown, estimated at $75 million
Box Office Potential: $35 million
Notes: A Christmas in November movie, in October? You have got to be kidding me. This movie has some real problems behind the scenes, not the least of which is a ballooning budget. Ben Affleck is in a slump, James Gandolfini has never been able to turn his Sorpranos fame into a movie career. And it's just too damn early for a Christmas movie. It's no wonder by the time December roles around I hate Christmas.

Name: Taxi
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Official Site: TaxiMovie.com
Release Date: October 8th
Source: Remake
Major Genre: Action / Adventure
Genres: Buddy Cop
Production Budget: Unknown, estimated at $23 million
Box Office Potential: $75 million
Notes: Queen Latifah on a hot streak, if you don't count The Cookout. She appeals to a wide range of audience members and should help draw in moviegoers, which is good because the rest of the cast members are not big draws. This film is the remake of the 1998 French film that was so successful that it spawned two sequels. However, remakes of French films have a dicey record, especially comedies. (You need you look no farther than Just Visiting to know that.) On the plus side, this is much more of an action comedy than a true comedy and that will be in its favor.

Name: Team America: World Police
Studio: Paramount
Official Site: TeamAmericaMovie.com
Release Date: October 15th
Source: Original Script
Major Genre: Comedy
Genres: Spoof and Terrorism
Production Budget: $20 million
Box Office Potential: I'm not even going to guess.
Notes: Done by the same people that made South Park. And the reason I'm not giving a box office prediction, Trey Parker and Matt Stone have said that this film could end their careers. This film could be their biggest hit, or it could bomb worse than The Thunderbirds, (which was inspired by the same British TV series.) So really the film could finish with $6 million or $60 million, or any point in-between.


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Filed under: Monthly Preview, Shark Tale, The Grudge, Ray, Ladder 49, Friday Night Lights, Shall We Dance?, Saw, Taxi, Team America: World Police, Alfie, Surviving Christmas, Raise Your Voice, Eulogy