Opening March 8th: All Of Hollywood’s Eggs In One Basket

Hollywood’s Box Office Hopes And Dreams All Seem To Be Riding On Oz, But Will It Be Great Or Powerful Enough?

January and February effectively kill the box office. This is true most every year. The post-holiday hangover that is January isn’t made for going to a movie, its made for watching movies at home while you ask yourself “how did we spend THAT much on Christmas, I thought we were being good this year?”And February, well February is cold and dreary and no one wants to go outside. So the box office dies, or to quote Billy Crystal from The Princess Bride it’s “mostly dead”. You’d think because this near death experience happens annually that no one in hollywood would panic and there wouldn’t be a slew of articles written about the calamitous performance of movies like Snitch or Bullet to the Head, but every year those articles are written and you can almost feel the desperation oozing from the left coast. So what happens next? How do the fine folks who put out movies revive their dying patient? Well, there isn’t one answer to those two questions. The answer to the second question is simply we need a mega hit. Huge hits work like electrical shocks to the heart, time it right and it can start the thing right up again. As to the first question, what will happen next, the answer is one of two things.

Scenario #1: Hollywood puts out a would be box office juggernaut that actually becomes a box office juggernaut and suddenly all is right with the world (that is what happened last year with The Hunger Games and in 2010 with Alice in Wonderland and in 2007 with 300 and plenty of other times over the years)

Scenario #2: Hollywood’s would be juggernaut proves to be a so-so blockbuster, big enough to keep things alive but nowhere near big enough to get things rolling again. Hollywood continues to struggle through spring and prays that the summer blockbusters will perform well enough to make up for four months of pathetic performance (this is what happened in 2011 when Rango was the closest thing to a hit until Fast Five saved the day the last weekend on April or in 2008 when Horton Hears A Who was all they had until Iron Man changed the world)

So you see, in either scenario everything rides on the would be juggernaut and the same is true this year. If Oz the Great and Powerful is everything hollywood hopes it will be then look for G.I. Joe Retaliation and Oblivion to keep the momentum going all the way up until Iron Man 3 keeps Marvel’s ridiculous hot streak going. However, if Oz is neither great nor powerful, well than G.I. Joe will have to try to do something it wasn’t meant to do, be the jolt that makes everything right again.

Oz The Great And Powerful
Interest Level: 8

The reviews have been slightly better than OK. That isn’t meant to be damning praise. The reviews for The Hunger Games were slightly better than OK. The reviews for The Hobbit were simply OK. Better than OK can work just fine IF there is enough excitement going in. That’s the real question. We all know that this will be visually cool family fare that aims straight down the middle, taking as few risks as possible with story or character. In short Oz the Great and Powerful will be very good, quite entertaining and not transcendent in any real way. And that is better than OK and worth a trip to the movies. But to the juggernaut question, I just don’t know.

Dead Man Down
Interest Level: 8

I realize that I feel about this movie almost exactly as I did about Total Recall last summer. Each have stars that I like and kind of root for because I feel like they should be bigger stars (Colin Farrell in each and Kate Beckinsale and Jessica Biel in Total Recall and Noomi Rapace here). They each had directors I liked (Len Wiseman last summer and Niels Arden Oplev here who previously directed the Swedish versions of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and its sequels). And they have each received mostly bad reviews. So I suppose my “8” has to be taken with a massive grain of salt. I do wonder if Collin Farrell is coming to the end of his chances to be a real hollywood leading man. He has been stringing together an impressive string of bombs (not artistically, both Fright Night and especially Seven Psychopaths were quite good, but they were still box office bombs).

Beyond The Hills
Interest Level: 6

Art house darling doesn’t begin to describe this Cannes award winner from the director who made 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days. Describing this takes words like “naturalistic” and “grueling” and “mesmerized” and other like phrases we use to describe the movies that are about art and don’t care about box office. Look, obviously this is going to be a brilliant movie (Cannes award winners almost always are) but it is also one you need to be in the mood for.

The ABC’s of Death
Interest Level: 0

No judgement in that, just no interest either. You are either in or out in this horror anthology series that is aimed at and made for the hard core horror fans out there. If you are one nothing I say would change your mind and if you aren’t one you’ll never watch these anyway.

Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey
Interest Level: 0

Apparently the replace Stephen what’shisname as Journey’s lead singer with some guy off the street that sound exactly like Stephen what’shisname. Congratulations?

Emperor
Interest Level: 0

Apparently Matthew Fox and Tommy Lee Jones made a Judgement at Nuremberg-esque movie about the trial of the Emperor of Japan after WWII. That feels like it should have been an HBO movie, doesn’t it?

The Silence
Interest Level: 6

I am a little torn here. First it is a nearly three year old German serial killer movie that is just now being released stateside (generally not a good sign when it takes three years to make it across the Atlantic). But then again, it is a German serial killer movie, and I dig serial killer movies (one of my great weaknesses and something I am sure a psychologist would have a field day with). And, it has one of the guys from the Cinemax series Banshee in it, and I love that show! Ah crap, I guess I’ll have to get it On Demand now.

Conclusion

All of the eggs in one basket and it’s not even easter… did I use that line already? I should really pay more attention while I am doing this. Oh well.

But hey, what do I know? I’m fat.