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2015 Preview: April

April 1st, 2015

Furious 7 poster

March ended on a good note and helped 2015 maintain its lead over 2014 thanks to a trio of $100 million movies: Cinderella, Insurgent, and Home. April isn't as strong as far as depth goes, as only Furious 7 is expected to come close to $100 million at the box office. On the positive side, it could earn $100 million during its opening weekend, becoming the fastest starting film of the year, so far. On the negative side, it is expected to earn more than double the rest of the films' combined box office totals. Even worse, last April, there were two $100 million hits, including Captain America: The Winter Soldier, as well as two others that came close. There's no way April 2015 is going to live up to April 2014. I just hope the collapse isn't so bad that 2015 loses its lead over 2014 completely.

Weekend of April 3rd, 2015

Furious 7 poster

There is only one wide release this week, but it is the only film coming out this month that is truly worth talking about. Furious 7 could open with more than $100 million and has the potential to reach $300 million by the time its box office run is over. Furious 7 competition won't come from any movies it will be sharing a theater with. It will come from Fast and Furious 6, the previous film in the franchise, as well as Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which opened this weekend last year. I think Furious 7 will open faster than either of those two films and will become the first film of the year to crack $100 million during its opening weekend helping April start out on a winning note in the year-over-year comparison. On the other hand, I don't think it will have the same legs as The Winter Soldier did.

Furious 7

Furious 7 poster
Trailer: Click to Play
Official Site: Furious7.com
Distributor: Universal
Release Date: April 3rd, 2015
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for prolonged frenetic sequences of violence, action and mayhem, suggestive content and brief strong language.
Source: Original Screenplay / Sequel
Major Genre: Action
Keywords: Car Chase, Gangs, Revenge, Death of a Sibling, Posthumous Release, and more
Directed By: James Wan
Written By: Chris Morgan
Starring: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, and others
Production Budget: Reported at $250 million
Box Office Potential: $275 million

This is the seventh film in the Fast and the Furious franchise and many people think it will be the biggest installment at the box office. The early reviews are certainly a positive sign, as is the buzz. On the down side, part of the reason the film's buzz is so strong is the fact that Paul Walker tragically died before the film was completed. A lot of fans of the franchise will likely want to come back and see his final appearance in the franchise. I don't think it will be the final installment in the franchise, on the other hand. If the film is as big as many expect, the studio will be unwilling to just walk away, despite the loss of one of its co-stars.

Weekend of April 10th, 2015

The Longest Ride poster

Like last weekend, there is only one release this weekend, and for the same reason. No one wants to pit their film up against Furious 7, even during its sophomore stint. This week, The Longest Ride plays the part of counter-programming. A couple of years ago, this would have been looked at as a sure hit. However, it looks like Nicholas Sparks' winning streak at the box office might have come to a close. This weekend last year, there were three wide releases, led by Rio 2. Rio 2 opened with $39.33 million during its first weekend of release. There's a real chance that The Longest Ride won't make that much in total. There's very little chance that 2015 will come out ahead in the year-over-year comparison. On a side note, there are two limited releases coming out this week that are earning strong buzz and great early reviews: Clouds of Sils Maria and Ex Machina. Both of these have a shot at earning some measure of mainstream success.

The Longest Ride

The Longest Ride poster
Trailer: Click to Play
Official Site: FoxMovies.com/Movies/The-Longest-Ride
Distributor: Fox
Release Date: April 10th, 2015
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some sexuality, partial nudity, and some war and sports action.
Source: Based on a Book
Major Genre: Drama
Keywords: Romance, Rodeo, Same Role / Different Actor, Non Chronological, and more
Directed By: George Tillman, Jr.
Written By: Craig Bolotin and Nicholas Sparks
Starring: Britt Robertson, Scott Eastwood, and others
Production Budget: Estimated at $20 million to $30 million
Box Office Potential: $45 million

Nicholas Sparks' had quite a winning streak at the box office. None of his films were monster hits at the box office, but they were all profitable. That ended with The Best of Me. Perhaps that was a momentary bump in the road and The Longest Ride will be a box office hit. Or perhaps The Best of Me was the first in a box office slump for the author. I think the lower end is more likely and the above box office potential is a weighted average of the two extremes.

Weekend of April 17th, 2015

Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 poster

There are only eight films that are opening wide in April. Half of them are opening with this week. Granted, "wide" might be a little generous for some of them. There are two releases this week that might become midlevel hits: Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 and Unfriended. And there are two films that will likely bomb and might not even open truly wide: Child 44 and Monkey Kingdom. This weekend last year, there were also four wide releases, only one of which, Heaven is for Real, did well at the box office. I think the four new releases this year will perform better than last year's selections; however, the holdovers won't hold up their end of the deal costing 2015 the win in the year-over-year comparison.

Child 44

Child 44 poster
Trailer: Click to Play
Official Site: Child44Film.com
Distributor: Lionsgate
Release Date: April 17th, 2014
MPAA Rating: R for violence, some disturbing images, language and a scene of sexuality.
Source: Based on a Book
Major Genre: Thriller / Suspense
Keywords: Serial Killer, Death of a Child, Police Procedural, U.S.S.R., 1950s, Communism, Government Corruption, Cover-up, and more
Directed By: Daniel Espinosa
Written By: Richard Price and Tom Rob Smith
Starring: Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace, and others
Production Budget: Reported at $50 million
Box Office Potential: $20 million

April is a weird month, because studios are trying to extend summer by releasing summer blockbuster-like films in April, like Furious 7. However, partway through, it turns into a dumping ground, because studios are afraid to go up against the real summer blockbusters, like The Avengers: Age of Ultron. Child 44 has an amazing cast and crew and given that and its budget, it feels it should be a summer release. Maybe not a blockbuster, but counter-programming in July for those sick of action films. Instead, it is being dumped in theaters with hardly any buzz or studio support. In fact, I've read a couple of reports that suggest the movie isn't opening truly wide. There's very little to be bullish about and this film will likely bomb.

Monkey Kingdom

Monkey Kingdom poster
Trailer: Click to Play
Official Site: Nature.Disney.com/Monkey-Kingdom
Distributor: Disney
Release Date: April 17th, 2015
MPAA Rating: G for General Admissions.
Source: Based on Real Life Events
Major Genre: Documentary
Keywords: Animal Lead, Nature Documentary, Voiceover / Narration, and more
Directed By: Mark Linfield and Alastair Fothergill
Written By: Apparently no one
Starring: Suraj Sharma or Tina Fey
Production Budget: Estimated at $30 million
Box Office Potential: $15 million

The latest nature documentary from DisneyNature. They've had some success at the box office, but not recently. Their more recent film, Bears earned less than $20 million at the box office and the buzz indicates this one will do just as poorly at the box office. This is a shame, as the quality of these films tends to be rather high.

Paul-Blart: Mall Cop 2

Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 poster
Trailer: Click to Play
Official Site: PaulBlart-Movie.com
Distributor: Sony
Release Date: March 17th, 2015
MPAA Rating: PG for some violence.
Source: Original Screenplay / Sequel
Major Genre: Comedy
Keywords: Security Guard, Las Vegas, Heist, Screenplay Written by the Star, and more
Directed By: Andy Fickman
Written By: Kevin James and Nick Bakay
Starring: Kevin James, Neal McDonough, and others
Production Budget: $38 million
Box Office Potential: $45 million

I just watched the trailer for this movie for the first time and it looks really bad. On the other hand, the original Paul Blart: Mall Cop looked just as bad and it had a record-breaking run at the box office. Is there a chance this film will do the same? I guess there's a chance, theoretically, but it is monstrously unlikely. Firstly, comedy sequels rarely live up to their predecessor at the box office. Secondly, Kevin James' box office drawing power seems to have waned since then. Add in the weak release date and the plenty of competition during its opening weekend and it might not even become a midlevel hit.

Unfriended

Unfriended poster
Trailer: Click to Play
Official Site: UnfriendedMovie.com
Distributor: Universal
Release Date: April 17th, 2014
MPAA Rating: R for violent content, pervasive language, some sexuality, and drug and alcohol use - all involving teens.
Source: Original Screenplay
Major Genre: Horror
Keywords: Viral Video, Blackout Drunk, Internet, Suicide, Revenge, and more
Directed By: Levan Gabriadze
Written By: Nelson Greaves
Starring: Shelley Hennig, Renee Olstead, Will Peltz, Courtney Halverson, Matthew Bohrer, and others
Production Budget: Estimated at less than $10 million
Box Office Potential: $45 million

A horror film about a popular girl who is the "star" of a viral video. After she is bullied as a result, she commits suicide in a very public way. The next year, six of the people who were the most vocal in abusing her have a Skype call together when they are joined by a mysterious seventh caller. This caller demands to know who posted the original video, or one of them will die. This could be an interesting use of new technology to tell an old horror story about revenge. The early reviews are excellent, but there are only five reviews, so it is far too soon to tell where its Tomatometer Score will end up. If it can maintain a 80% positive rating, then it might be a surprise midlevel hit. If it falls dramatically, then it might fizzle at the box office. I really hope it is the former.

Weekend of April 24th, 2015

The Age of Adaline poster

The month ends with two wide releases: The Age of Adaline and Little Boy. The Age of Adaline is a Sci-fi romance and while this isn't a common genre, films like The Time Traveler's Wife have found an audience in theaters. Little Boy might not even open truly wide, but if I ignored all of the movies that might not open truly wide this month, it would be a very short list indeed. This weekend last year, three movies opened wide. None were expected to be big hits, but The Other Woman opened with close to $25 million finishing its run with more than $80 million. I seriously doubt this year's two wide releases will come close to those figures and April will end on a losing note.

The Age of Adaline

The Age of Adaline poster
Trailer: Click to Play
Official Site: TheAgeOfAdalineMovie.com
Distributor: Lionsgate
Release Date: April 24th, 2015
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for suggestive comment.
Source: Original Screenplay
Major Genre: Drama
Keywords: Romance, Immortality, 1920s, and more
Directed By: Lee Toland Krieger
Written By: J. Mills Goodloe and Salvador Paskowitz
Starring: Blake Lively, Michiel Huisman, Harrison Ford, and others
Production Budget: Reported at $25 million
Box Office Potential: $25 million

Blake Lively stars as a woman from the 1920s who gets into car accident and as a result, she never ages again. She refuses to get into any relationships, because the thought of remaining the same age while the person she loves grows old and dies is too much. Then she meets a man, Michiel Huisman, and falls in love. When she goes to meet his parents, she is recognized by his father, Harrison Ford, a man she new decades ago. If this film earns good reviews, then is has a shot at becoming a midlevel hit. Unfortunately, it has a really bad release date, coming out only two weeks after The Longest Ride came out and only a week before The Avengers: Age of Ultron hits theaters. It didn't cost a lot to make, so if it matches its production budget domestically and it does as well internationally, it could break even sometime on the home market.

Little Boy

Little Boy poster
Trailer: Click to Play
Official Site: LittleBoyMovie.com
Distributor: Open Road
Release Date: April 24th, 2015
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some mature thematic material including violence.
Source: Original Screenplay
Major Genre: Drama
Keywords: Faith-Based, Coming of Age, World War II, Fantasy Sequence, and more
Directed By: Alejandro Montalvo
Written By: Alejandro Montalvo and Pepe Portillo
Starring: David Henrie, Emily Watson, Michael Rapaport, and others
Production Budget: $20 million
Box Office Potential: $10 million

A Faith-based film about a young boy, David Henrie, whose father, Michael Rapaport, is called up to fight in World War II. A travelling stage magician convinces David Henrie he has special powers and the young boy is determined to use those powers to get his father back. It is a faith-based film aimed at younger kids, so I'm not in the target demographic. Even so, the general buzz is weak enough that I really doubt it will be a box office hit. Do You Believe? has a similar target audience and that film will end its run with $15 million. I think this film will do even worse.


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Filed under: Monthly Preview, Paul Blart: Mall Cop, The Age of Adaline, The Longest Ride, Furious 7, Little Boy, Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2, Monkey Kingdom, Ex Machina, Child 44, Clouds of Sils Maria, Unfriended, Fast and the Furious, Harrison Ford, Vin Diesel, Tina Fey, Andy Fickman, Tom Hardy, Kevin James, Blake Lively, Neal McDonough, Renee Olstead, Michael Rapaport, Paul Walker, James Wan, Emily Watson, Britt Robertson, Noomi Rapace, George Tillman, Jr, Chris Morgan, Scott Eastwood, Alastair Fothergill, Nick Bakay, Nicolas Sparks, Will Peltz, Mark Linfield, Daniel Espinosa, David Henrie, Lee Toland Krieger, Nicholas Sparks, Suraj Sharma, Craig Bolotin, Richard Price, Alejandro Montalvo, J. Mills Goodloe, Michiel Huisman, Shelley Hennig, Levan Gabriadze, Nelson Greaves, Pepe Portillo, Tom Rob Smith, Salvador Paskowitz