2014 Preview: April

Captian America: The Winter Soldier poster

March was stronger than expected when compared to 2013 with four films earning $100 million or more, led by Divergent. (Not all of them have gotten there yet, but they are certain to reach that milestone before they are done their box office runs.) It wasn't a blow-out victory, on the other hand, as a few weekends the ticket sales were lower in 2014 than they were during the same weekend in 2013. April looks really strong with Captain America: The Winter Soldier leading the way. This film should top $200 million over the weekend, while it isn't the only film that should crack the century mark, as Rio 2 is also on track for $100 million. This is great news, as no film last April reached $100 million. Granted, 42 came close and Oblivion wasn't far behind, but The Winter Soldier should earn more than those two films earned combined giving 2014 a comfortable lead over 2013 over the full month.

Weekend of April 4th, 2014

Captian America: The Winter Soldier poster

Captain America: The Winter Soldier opens during the first week of April and it is scaring away all of the competition. It has the weekend to itself and that should help it have the biggest opening of the year so far. By comparison, this weekend last year was led by Evil Dead, which opened with $25.78 million on its way to a total of $54.24 million. The Winter Soldier might make more during its opening weekend than Evil Dead made in total. It should make more during its opening day than Evil Dead made during its opening weekend. If 2014 doesn't destroy 2013 on the year-over-year comparison, something will have gone terribly wrong.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Captian America: The Winter Soldier poster
Trailer: Click to Play
Official Site: Marvel.com/CaptainAmerica
Distributor: Disney
Release Date: April 4th, 2014
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of violence, gunplay and action throughout.
Source: Based on a Comic Book / Sequel
Major Genre: Action
Keywords: Terrorism, Government Corruption, Surprise Twist, Marvel Comics, Non Chronological, Cyborg, Epilogue, Scene in End Credits, and more
Directed By: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo, and Joss Whedon
Written By: Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely, Ed Brubaker, Joe Simon, and Jack Kirby
Starring: Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Anthony Mackie, Sebastian Stan, Robert Redford, Samuel L. Jackson, and others
Production Budget: Reported at $170 million
Box Office Potential: $225 million

The Avengers set box office records in 2012 and we can still see its effects at the box office today. Iron Man 3 grew by more than 30% compare to its predecessor. Thor: The Dark World rose by 14% compared to the first Thor film. (The numbers look even better when you look worldwide and not just domestically.) The Winter Soldier should continue this improvement. In fact, it should be on the high end thanks to the buzz and excellent early reviews. Even on the low end, the film should crack $200 million. On the high end, it could top $250 million. It could perform better than several of this summer's tentpole releases will perform.

On the other hand, I'm more excited to see Guardians of the Galaxy later this summer, in part because I'm a box office analyst and there are some interesting questions that this film brings up. Also... Rocket Racoon If that film works, then Marvel will have Pixar-like streak at the box office and with critics.

Last minute update: It is no longer "early review". There are 59 reviews on Rotten Tomatoes and 93% of them are positive. If these reviews translate into better box office numbers, it could reach $250 million or more.

Weekend of April 11th, 2014

Rio 2 poster

The second weekend of April has three wide releases; however, it wouldn't be unfair to say there is one wide release and two afterthoughts. Rio 2 has a much better than 50/50 shot at $100 million; in fact, some people think it will top its predecessor at the box office earning more than $150 million. Neither Draft Day nor Oculus are on track to become even midlevel hits. On the other hand, it is unlikely that either of them cost a ton of money to make, so earning between $30 million and $40 million will be enough to break even, sooner or later. Last year, 42 and Scary Movie 5 finished one-two with a combined total of just under $42 million. Rio 2 might open with more than that, while the other two wide releases (not to mention The Winter Soldier) will earn enough enough to give 2014 a solid win in the year-over-year comparison.

Draft Day

Draft Day poster
Trailer: Click to Play
Official Site: DraftDayMovie.com
Distributor: Lionsgate
Release Date: April 11th, 2014
MPAA Rating: PG-13 on appeal for brief strong language and sexual references.
Source: Original Screenplay
Major Genre: Drama
Keywords: Football, Corporate Life, Underdogs, and more
Directed By: Ivan Reitman
Written By: Scott Rothman and Rajiv Joseph
Starring: Kevin Costner, Jennifer Garner, Denis Leary, Frank Langella, Sean Combs, Ellen Burstyn, and others
Production Budget: Estimated at $20 million to $30 million
Box Office Potential: $40 million

A film starring Kevin Costner, who plays the General Manager of the Cleveland Browns. His job is in danger, if he can't secure the first overall draft pick and help revitalize the team. It has been a while since Kevin Costner was a major box office draw. Man of Steel gave him a lot more visibility last summer, but his first two films of the year suggest that hasn't boosted his box office drawing power significantly. This should perform better than 3 Days to Kill performed earlier in the year, but it won't do as well as a similarly sports-themed film from last year, 42. Unfortunately, because football, American Football, isn't popular internationally, so it needs to earn a lot domestically to break even, and I'm not sure it will be able to do that.

Oculus

Oculus poster
Trailer: Click to Play
Official Site: Oculus2014.com
Distributor: Relativity
Release Date: April 11th, 2014
MPAA Rating: R for terror, violence, some disturbing images and brief language.
Source: Original Screenplay
Major Genre: Horror
Keywords: Hauntings, Death of a Parent, Mental Illness, Possessed, and more
Directed By: Mike Flanagan
Written By: Mike Flanagan, Jeff Seidman, and Jeff Howard
Starring: Karen Gillan, Brenton Thwaites, Katee Sackhoff, Rory Cochrane, Annalise Basso, Garrett Ryan, and others
Production Budget: Estimated at $10 million to $20 million
Box Office Potential: $35 million

When Kaylie and Tim were young, their father killed their mother, and then Tim killed his father in self defense. However, he claims his father was possessed by a cursed mirror and was sent to a mental institute as a result. Ten years later, a now adult Tim is released from the mental hospital and wants to move on with his life. However, Kaylie is determined to prove the curse was real and clear their father's name.

There haven't been a lot of horror films to come out this year, and none of them have been hits, therefore, there could be a lot of pent up demand for the genre. Additionally, the film's early reviews have been perfect thus far. (Granted, there are only eight reviews on Rotten Tomatoes so far, but it is still a good omen.) On the other hand, horror films rarely do exceptionally well at the box office and even getting to $50 million might be asking too much. That said, the film very likely cost less than $20 million to make, so even $35 million will be a good start financially speaking allowing it to break even on the home market.

Rio 2

Rio 2 poster
Trailer: Click to Play
Official Site: Rio-Themovie.com/
Distributor: Fox
Release Date: April 11th, 2014
MPAA Rating: G for General Audiences.
Source: Original Screenplay / Sequel
Major Genre: Adventure
Keywords: Environment, Animal Lead, Talking Animals, 3D, In-Laws, and more
Directed By: Carlos Saldanha
Written By: Carlos Saldanha and Don Rhymer
Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Anne Hathaway, and others
Production Budget: Estimated at $100 million
Box Office Potential: $125 million

A follow-up to Rio, a film that earned good reviews, but not great reviews, and pulled in nearly $500 million worldwide. I should be hearing more buzz about this movie. Granted, it is a family film and those rarely generate a lot of pre-release buzz, but I'm still a little concerned. Additionally, there have been a lot of family films to come out this year so far, so the market might be saturated. The early reviews are strong enough that I think it will reach $100 million with ease, but I don't think it will match its predecessor at the box office, at least not domestically. Internationally, it could be another story.

Weekend of April 18th, 2014

Transcendence poster

There are four films opening this week, including Transcendence. There are some who think this film has a shot at $100 million, but there are others who think it won't get halfway there. On the other hand, there are three other films opening wide this week and it is possible Transcendence will make more than the other three combined. A Haunted House made $40 million last year, but A Haunted House 2 is not expected to live up to its predecessor. Heaven is for Real could be a surprise hit, as it is a faith-based film opening on Easter weekend, but the buzz as been really weak. Finally there's Bears, the latest DisneyNature documentary. The previous such films have mostly been solid, but unspectacular. This weekend last year, the only wide release was Oblivion, which opened with $37.05 million. Transcendence might beat that, but probably not. On the other hand, last year, only one other film topped $10 million over the weekend, so 2014 has a lot more depth than 2013 did and should win in the year-over-year comparison.

Bears

Bears poster
Trailer: Click to Play
Official Site: Nature.Disney.com/Bears
Distributor: Disney
Release Date: April 18th, 2014
MPAA Rating: G for General Audiences.
Source: Based on Real Life Events
Major Genre: Documentary
Keywords: Animal Lead, Nature Documentary, Voiceover, and more
Directed By: Alastair Fothergill and Keith Scholey
Written By: None credited
Starring: John C. Reilly
Production Budget: Estimated at $30 million to $50 million
Box Office Potential: $20 million

The latest documentary from DisneyNature. The previous film, Chimpanzee, earned close to $30 million domestically. Meanwhile the film before that, African Cats, earned just over $15 million. I think Bears's final box office figure will be somewhere in-between. There's really not much else to say about the movie's box office chances.

A Haunted House 2

A Haunted House 2 poster
Trailer: Click to Play
Official Site: Facebook.com/AHauntedHouse
Distributor: Open Road
Release Date: April 1th, 2014
MPAA Rating: R for crude and sexual content, nudity, pervasive language, drug use and some violent images.
Source: Original Screenplay
Major Genre: Comedy
Keywords: Spoof, Hauntings, Found Footage, Possessed, Paranormal Investigation, Religious, Psychics, Screenplay Written By the Star, and more
Directed By: Mike Tiddes
Written By: Rick Alvarez and Marlon Wayans
Starring: Marlon Wayans, Gabriel Iglesias, Jaime Pressly, Ashley Rickards, and others
Production Budget: Unknown - Estimated at under $10 million
Box Office Potential: $30 million

A Haunted House came out last year and earned $40 million. However, it also earned only 10% positive reviews. Because of this, I don't think there will be a lot of people rushing out to see the sequel. "Fool me once..." and all of that. Additionally, this is a busy weekend with three other wide releases. On the other hand, there haven't been a lot of R-rated comedies to come out this year, so the demand could be high. Plus, the movie likely didn't cost a lot to make, so it should be profitable, even with a smaller box office haul.

Heaven is for Real

Heaven is for Real poster
Trailer: Click to Play
Official Site: HeavenIsForReal.net
Distributor: Sony
Release Date: April 16th, 2014
MPAA Rating: PG for thematic material including some medical situations.
Source: Based on a Factual Book
Major Genre: Drama
Keywords: Near Death Experience, Religious, Faith-Based, and more
Directed By: Randall Wallace
Written By: Chris Parker, Todd Burpo, and Lynn Vincent
Starring: Greg Kinnear, Kelly Reilly, and others
Production Budget: Unknown - Estimated at $30 million to $40 million
Box Office Potential: $35 million

A faith-based film aiming for the same audience as Son of God, God's Not Dead, and Noah. Okay, maybe that last one wasn't aimed specifically at churchgoers. All three movies have found a sizable audience in theaters, which could be good news for Heaven is for Real, or it could mean the market is saturated and it will struggle at the box office. Most analysts are picking the latter. It is opening on Easter weekend, or to be more specific, the Wednesday before Easter weekend, so that should help, and it likely didn't cost a lot to make. It will probably break even on the home market.

Transcendence

Transcendence poster
Trailer: Click to Play
Official Site: TranscendenceMovie.com
Distributor: Warner Bros.
Release Date: April 17th, 2014
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sci-fi action and violence, some bloody images, brief strong language and sensuality.
Source: Original Screenplay
Major Genre: Suspense
Keywords: Terminal Illness, Inventor, Mad Scientist, Artificial Intelligence, Terrorism, and more
Directed By: Wally Pfister
Written By: Jack Paglen
Starring: Johnny Depp, Rebecca Hall, Paul Bettany, Olivia Dudley, and others
Production Budget: Reported at $100 million
Box Office Potential: $80 million

Johnny Depp plays a scientist working on Artificial Intelligence. His goal is to create a computer powerful enough that it eclipses all human knowledge. This makes him a target of anti-technology terrorists, but when an attack leaves him with a terminal illness, he is even more dedicated to completing his goal before he dies.

This is a bit of a wildcard and some think it could get to the century mark at the box office. Others think it won't make half that much. I think Oblivion is a pretty good film to gauge this film's box office potential by. That movie cost a similar amount to make ($120 million) and opened in April of last year; in fact, it opened the same weekend of April last year. The reviews were only mixed, but it dominated its opening weekend and earned just under $90 million in total. Transcendence might earn better reviews, but it is too soon to tell. It has more competition with three wide releases drawing away moviegoers, not to mention Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which should still be doing healthy business this weekend. Because of this, I think Transcendence won't match Oblivion, but it will come close enough that it could break even, if it is a hit internationally and on the home market.

Weekend of April 25th, 2014

The Other Woman poster

The final weekend in April is not a good weekend to release a movie. Moviegoers will likely be more excited to see The Amazing Spider-man 2 rather than anything opening this weekend. The Other Woman has enough buzz that it will likely become a midlevel it. It might even surprise like Mean Girls, but I think it is wiser to be more conservative in any predictions. The Quiet Ones is a low budget horror film and it should do well enough to break even, but even becoming a midlevel hit is likely out of reach. Brick Mansions is a remake of B13. B13 is a great movie, but Brick Mansions is earning weak buzz. Last year, Pain and Gain led the way with $20.24 million. I don't think The Other Woman will match that figure during its opening weekend, but again, 2014 has better depth so it should come out ahead on the year-over-year comparison. May won't be as lucky.

Brick Mansions

Brick Mansions poster
Trailer: Click to Play
Official Site: BadWordsMovie.com
Distributor: Facebook.com/BrickMansionsMovie
Release Date: April 25th, 2014
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for frenetic gunplay, violence and action throughout, language, sexual menace and drug material.
Source: Original Screenplay / Remake
Major Genre: Action
Keywords: Dystopian Future, Terrorism, Gangs, Buddy Cop, Undercover, Foreign Language Remake, Parkour, Posthumous Release, Remake with Returning Cast Member, and more
Directed By: Camille Delamarre
Written By: Luc Besson and Bibi Naceri
Starring: Paul Walker, David Belle, RZA, and others
Production Budget: Estimated at $30 million to $50 million
Box Office Potential: $25 million

Set in a near future where a section of Detroit has become so crime-ridden that it has been walled off to protect the rest of the city. When one of the many gangs within get hold of a missile and threaten to destroy the rich part of the city, Paul Walker is sent in undercover. He needs someone who knows the section and that person is played by David Belle, who was also in the original, B13. The original earned amazing reviews, but the buzz here isn't very good. At best, most people are predicting a fun B-movie action flick, very much in the vein of the Transporter movies. On the low end, it could open below the Mendoza Line and disappear from theaters within a few weeks. Somewhere in-between is more likely. I doubt it will break even in theaters, but it could do well enough worldwide to earn a profit sometime on the home market.

The Other Woman

The Other Woman poster
Trailer: Click to Play
Official Site: OtherWomanMovie.com
Distributor: Fox
Release Date: April 25th, 2014
MPAA Rating: R for some sexual references.
Source: Original Screenplay
Major Genre: Comedy
Keywords: Infidelity, Relationships Gone Wrong, Revenge, The Other Woman, White Collar Crime, and more
Directed By: Nick Cassavetes
Written By: Melissa Stack
Starring: Cameron Diaz, Leslie Mann, Kate Upton, and others
Production Budget: Unknown - Estimated at $30 million to $40 million
Box Office Potential: $55 million

Cameron Diaz stars as a woman with a perfect boyfriend. Then she finds out her boyfriend is married to Leslie Mann, but instead of fighting over the man, the pair of women become friends. Then they find out he's cheating on both of them with Kate Upton. The three of them then decide to combine forces to get revenge.

An R-rated comedy aimed at women. There haven't been many of those historically, but there have been several more recently that have become hits. I don't think this one will be a smash like Bridesmaids, but it could become a solid midlevel hit. It certainly feels like the biggest film opening this weekend and the buzz is solid.

The Quiet Ones

The Quiet  Ones poster
Trailer: Click to Play
Official Site: TheQuietOnesMovie.com
Distributor: Lionsgate
Release Date: April 25th, 2014
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and terror, sexual content, thematic material, language, and smoking throughout.
Source: Original Screenplay
Major Genre: Action
Keywords: Based on an UNTRUE Story, Hauntings, Possession, Paranormal Investigation, and more
Directed By: John Pogue
Written By: John Pogue, Craig Rosenberg>, Oren Moverman, and Tom de Ville
Starring: Jared Harris, Sam Claflin, Erin Richards, Rory Fleck-Byrne, Olivia Cooke, and others
Production Budget: Unknown - Estimated at $10 million to $20 million
Box Office Potential: $25 million

Jared Harris plays a college professor who takes some students on a paranormal experiment. Things go bad.

This is a low-budget horror movie released by Lionsgate. The distributor has a good track record with similar films over the years; however, there hasn't been a single horror film to have break-out success this year. Again, as I said above, this could mean there is pent-up demand. Or it could mean moviegoers are not interested in the genre at the moment. Worse still for this film, Oculus is earning better buzz, so it could grab the horror box office dollars before this film comes out.


- C.S.Strowbridge


Date posted: 2014-04-01