Previews for upcoming spring blockbusters
Published: Monday, February 25, 2013
Updated: Monday, February 25, 2013 21:02
As of Friday, the hard, cold winter and its lack of anything resembling a good movie will be well in the dust. March is coming to the box office like a lion, but don’t expect any lambs to make appearances; the spring has more than a few major hits on the way before the blockbusters of May send us to summer.
March 1: “21 and Over,” “Jack the Giant Slayer,” “The Last Exorcism Part II,” and “Phantom.”
The big question mark here is “Jack the Giant Slayer,” Warner Bros. and New Line’s adaptation of the classic fairy tale, starring “Warm Bodies” actress Nicholas Hoult. While it’s overcome an early postponement and poor trailers, it’s unknown whether the nearly $200 million adventure will be the epic tale it advertises itself to be, much less ever turn a profit.
“21 and Over” is a low-budget raunchy, R-rated flick looking to ape the success of “The Hangover,” though it’ll probably perform more like “Project X,” which made about $50 million on the same weekend last year. It looks trashy and idiotic, but there’s always an audience there.
“The Last Exorcism” was well-received and was hugely profitable, but its ending was not sequel-friendly. Add in recent horror competition like “Mama” and “Dark Skies” and it’s probably not going to make waves.
“Phantom” is a low-budget submarine thriller getting a last-minute wide release, but don’t expect much more than a B-movie out of it despite featuring Ed Harris and David Duchovny.
March 8: “Dead Man Down,” “Oz The Great and Powerful”
Disney’s latest big-budget March tentpole after the smash-hit “Alice in Wonderland” and the not-smash-hit “John Carter,” “Oz The Great and Powerful” features an all-star cast including James Franco, Michelle Williams and Mila Kunis and an inspired idea: a prequel to “The Wizard of Oz,” one of the most cherished films in history. Expect Disney’s latest to have a monster opening weekend, as its mix of the wonderous quirks of Oz and a serious tone should prove to be Sam Raimi’s latest hit after the original “Spider-Man” trilogy.
“Dead Man Down” is co-produced by WWE Films, a surprising credit on what appears to be a promising sleeper hit. The director did the original Swedish “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” and his follow-up here looks visually striking and violently stylish. Add in a cast featuring Colin Farrell and Noomi Rapace, who reteams with her “Dragon Tattoo” coworker, and it’s clear that the film’s worth a look.
March 15: “The Incredible Burt Wonderstone” and “The Call”
This is probably going to be an off week. Halle Berry’s “The Call” honestly doesn’t deserve much of a look; from its marketing, it’s a broad, predictable abduction story where Berry eventually saves an abducted girl from a serial killer or something after a bunch of telegraphed drama.
“The Incredible Burt Wonderstone,” starring Steve Carell and Jim Carrey, should be a can’t-miss comedic hit, but the marketing leaves a lot to be desired. Early reviews say it’s a very fun story about Carell and Alan Arkin’s supporting character where Carrey only appears for 20 minutes, so look past the trailers.
March 22: “Admission,” “The Croods” and “Olympus Has Fallen”
This week should improve on the last, though we’re a bit too far out to know exactly how it’ll end up. “Admission,” a Tina Fey-Paul Rudd romantic comedy set at a college, looks to be another crowd-pleasing dram-rom-com from Focus Features, though it’s tough to call whether it’ll be a big hit or a small success.
“The Croods” is Dreamworks’ latest animated release, and has a couple of firsts attached to it. It’s the first of their films to be distributed by Fox, which should lead to a huge marketing blitz, and it’s their first film after “Rise of the Guardians” underperformed badly enough in the winter to pull down Dreamworks’ stock value. Ouch. They need this one to be a success, though no one knows if it’ll be enough of one to right the ship.
“Olympus Has Fallen” is the first of this year’s White House-under-attack action flicks starring Gerard Butler and Morgan Freeman, it was rushed to theaters specifically to beat “White House Down,” hitting in June with Channing Tatum and Jamie Foxx. It’ll probably be an average actioner at best judging by its iffy CGI, but the jury’s out.
March 29: “GI Joe: Retaliation,” “The Host,” “Tyler Perry’s Temptation”
The “GI Joe” sequel was pushed from last June to this March, supposedly to add 3D and extra Channing Tatum. More likely, it’s because the film was rushed and a total piece, meaning extensive reshoots and editing were necessary. In its new form, especially in IMAX, it should be pretty eye candy, but don’t expect any more substance than you’d get from two kids playing with GI Joe action figures.
“The Host” is an interesting test of Stephanie Meyer’s popularity, as it’s an adaptation of her first non-“Twilight” novel starring the young expert actress Saoirse Ronan. Don’t expect this one to be any good unless director Andrew Niccol stepped his game up like he did for “Gattaca.”
The Tyler Perry movie needs next to no discussion. He tells Christian morality plays about truth and justice; they’re flawed but have a devoted audience who see the good among the bad.
April 5: “Jurassic Park 3D,” “Evil Dead”
Dodgson! We’ve got Dodgson here! Seemingly, no one would care, but the classic 20-year-old dinosaur epic deserves recognition for the waves of change it brought to Hollywood, and how better to remember it than a $20 IMAX 3D ticket? Watching it at home for free, of course, but this revamp of a classic should be pretty legit.
The “Evil Dead” remake, with its tongue-slitting demons, looks to be a competent violent remake of the 1981 classic. Will Jane Levy from “Suburgatory” and her cast bring the laughs, though, or will this be a grimdark film that misses the mark?
April 12: “42,” “Scary Movie 5,” and “Oblivion” IMAX release