July 1st, 2016
It's July 1st, which is Canada Day. To celebrate, I wanted to give a gift to my American readers down south, so here's a bunch of "u"s. U, u, u, u, u, u, u, u, u, u, u, u, u, u, u, u, u, u, u, u, u, u, u, u, u, u, u, u, u, u, u, u, u, u, u, u, u, u, u, u, u, u, u, u. Now you can spell words like "colour" and "neighbour" correctly. As for the July preview... June wasn't a good month, despite Finding Dory being on pace to become the biggest hit of the year so far. Most other films failed to match expectations and as a result, 2016's lead over 2015 has nearly evaporated. In fact, ticket sales are below last year's pace. So how does July look in comparison? Well, last July, there were five films that earned more than $100 million, led by Minions, which earned more than $300 million. This July, there are five films that should earn more than $100 million, led by The Secret Life of Pets, which should earned around $250 million. I don't think July 2016 will live up to July 2015, but it should be close. Maybe if one of the expected midlevel hits is a surprise $100 million hit, or if two more of the $100 million hits crack $200 million, then the month will look great. Or one of the expected $100 million hits could flop and 2016 will actually fall behind 2015, even without taking into account ticket price inflation.
November 23rd, 2015
American Ultra was released in late August, which is a terrible time of the year to release a movie. Additionally, American Ultra is a Black Comedy, which is one of the hardest genres to pull off. It is very hard to balance the darker elements and the comedy and the tonal shifts that are not perfect will irritate critics. Even black comedies that do earn good reviews rarely connect with moviegoers, because it is a niche market. This film earned mixed reviews and bombed at the box office. Did it deserve better? Will it at least satisfy fans of the genre?
February 1st, 2015
John Wick stars Keanu Reeves in the titular role. Keanu Reeves has earned close to $2 billion domestically, but it has been more than a decade since he starred in a film that earned more than $100 million at the box office. This film couldn't even get halfway to the century mark. Did it deserve to become a hit? Or was it destined to fall between the cracks?
December 13th, 2014
The third installment of our annual Holiday Gift Guide involves limited releases, including foreign films and documentaries; classics hitting DVD or Blu-ray for the first time; and of course Canadian films. There were better choices for the limited releases than there were for big releases and TV on DVD releases, which is good news, because this Holiday Gift Guide feels that it ahs been lackluster so far. There have been many great limited releases to come out this year, including several foreign-language films to find some measure of mainstream success. On the downside, every year a lot of these movies hit theaters in the fall, so they won't hit the home market for months. That said, there are still some real highlights among the limited releases, classics, and Canadian films. In fact, we start off with the highest of the highlights for the entire year.
November 7th, 2014
There are a ton of limited releases coming out this week, including The Theory of Everything
, which many people think will be an Awards Season contender. There are also a couple of foreign-language films worth checking out, Why Don't You Play in Hell
and The Way He Looks
. And finally, there are a trio of documentaries, Actress
, Death Metal Angola
, and National Gallery
. Unfortunately, there are also a lot of films earning mixed or weaker reviews, so hopefully the good films don't get squeezed out.
September 30th, 2014
Jon Favreau's career behind the camera started out with smaller movies. He co-wrote Swingers and wrote and directed Made. However, recently he has directed a number of major movies. He was the one behind the camera for the first two Iron Man movies, for instance, and the average budget for his three most recent films he directed is close to $175 million. With his latest film, Chef, he went the opposite direction and created a much, much smaller film. Was he able to still maintain his usual high level of quality? Or does he need the spectacle to make a compelling movie?
April 13th, 2014
Ride Along is the second film I'm reviewing this weekend that earned bad reviews that already has a sequel in the works. I'm not surprised it is getting a sequel. After all, it did earn nearly $135 million on just a $25 million production budget, but a big box office doesn't mean high quality. Were the critics right to lambast this film? Or were moviegoers right to check it out in theaters? And if so, is the Blu-ray Combo Pack worth picking up?
December 1st, 2013
We had some good news and some bad news in November. The bad news is the overall weakness at the box office continued and 2013 lost its lead over 2012. Strong runs by The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and Frozen did help it bounce back in the end, but 2013 is still going to have a tough time topping 2012. Looking forward to December, we find about a dozen wide releases, sort of. There are several films that are opening in limited release that are expected to expand wide by the end of the month, but I'm not sure that will be the case for all of them. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug should be the easy winner this month and if it is a little lucky, it might even top its predecessor at the box office. There is a huge amount of hype surrounding Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues and it could double the first film's box office numbers. On the other hand, those two films might be the only two December wide releases to reach $100 million. There are a few that have the potential to get to the century mark, if they are big players during Awards Season. Obviously some of the films coming out this month will win awards, but there's already a lot of competition in theaters before the month begins. There were three $100 million movies last December, led by The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, so while it could be close, it looks like December will lose in the year-over-year comparison. This is really bad news, as 2013 can't afford to go out on a losing streak if it wants to top 2012.
December 9th, 2012
I've seen all of the Ice Age films. I thought the first film was great and the second film was good, but I thought the third film was only average for a kids film. Will the franchise bounce back with Ice Age: Continental Drift? Or will the fourth film continue the decline?