While the summer movie season is still two months away, March is full of prospective blockbusters aimed at a multitude of demographics. From adults to teenagers to kids, there seems to be a movie for everyone this month, and while there seems to be at least one film that’s destined to be a smash hit, other films are potential question marks. After such great success in January and February (the box office is up around 16% from last year), studios and box office analysts are hoping that March can continue the upward trend. Let’s breakdown the March movies by weekend, then, and see which films might be worth your time and money this month:
The Big Release: The Lorax – It’s no surprise that family films often dominate the box office at the time of their release, and with a film based off of one of Dr. Seuss’ most beloved and classic stories, The Lorax is an almost guaranteed hit. Not only did the last March, Seuss animated film Horton Hears a Who! gross upwards of $150 million, but the studio also found success with the insanely charming Despicable Me, which surprised everyone two summers ago with $250 million. With the voices of Taylor Swift, Ed Helms, Danny DeVito, and Zach Efron, plus 3D and IMAX surcharges, The Lorax should have no problem winning the first weekend of March.
Don’t Count Out: Project X – Combining the found footage style of hits such asParanormal Activity and Chronicle with the mayhem of The Hangover, Project X is looking to hit a homerun among the young male demographic. Having The Hangover director Todd Phillips as producer is a step in the right direction, but a hard R rating will probably prevent many of the film’s target audience from attending. The film has had a great marketing campaign, specifically showing advanced screenings to college kids to build up word of mouth, but we’ll have to wait and see just how big Project X will be. My guess is that it will do moderate, but not spectacular, business.
Expect The Lorax to dominate this weekend and, perhaps, a surprise performance from Project X
The Big Release: John Carter – Of all the films this March, and perhaps maybe the entire year, John Carter seems to be the biggest gamble. Not only did Disney spend a massive $250 million on making the film, but the marketing for the movie has also been widely panned – the trailers have shown nothing but nonstop CGI action that, while visually stunning, isn’t always effective in bringing in large audiences. The only big plus from what I’ve seen so far is that the film is directed by Andrew Stanton, who made the animated masterpieces Finding Nemo and Wall-E. Ironically, many people are calling it an Avatar meets Star Wars rip off despite the fact that the the source material – Edward Rice Burroughs’ John Carter of Mars – inspired those hits. Unfortunately, the marketing has done nothing to get this message across, and I’m afraid this may be a huge financial failure for Disney – the foreign grosses could be the only potential savior.
Don’t Count Out: Silent House – While there hasn’t been a significant marketing push for the film, horror movies often do solid business at the box office, especially when there’s a lack of competition, and besides the month-old The Woman in Black, there’s a lack of fright fests at the cinema. Silent House, starring the great Elizabeth Olsen, has been getting great pre-release reviews and the concept of a film in real time (the film is 88 minutes long and follows 88 minutes of the main character’s journey) is both appealing and original. I think this one could be a moderate, surprise hit.
Also opening is Eddie Murphy’s family comedy A Thousand Words, but unfortunately Murphy is no longer a bankable star and as far as family films, The Lorax will probably dominate much of March.
The Big Release: 21 Jump Street – This modern, Apatow-esque update of the classic television series has gotten solid advance buzz, and with stars Jonah Hill (who’s always a reliable comedian) and Channing Tatum (who’s coming of the megahit, The Vow) this could be a fairly solid hit. The red-band trailers have been hilariously naughty and vulgar, and with no hard R comedies in the market this one will definitely be the go to laugh riot of the month.
There are no other nationwide releases, but this weekend will be a huge test for John Carter, for if the film has any plans to make back its huge budget and start a franchise (it’s the first in a planned trilogy) it’ll have to have a steady, second week drop.
The Big Release: The Hunger Games – It’s the weekend that millions of fans have been waiting for; after months of anticipation, the first of Suzanne Collins’ international best selling novels comes to the screen, and after some pretty appealing trailers, the world will definitely be watching. With a storyline about a girl thrusted into a Survivor like game where teenagers fight to the death, the film has a much larger appeal than the female-specificTwilight franchise, and if fans like what they see on opening weekend, this film could not only have long legs at the box office but could also span the next mega-successful book-to-movie franchise.
Since this is the biggest release of the month and a certified hit at this point (it’s breaking sales record at ticket facilitator Fandango), there are no other major releases this weekend; expect The Hunger Games to dominate.
The Big Release: Wrath of the Titans – When Clash of the Titans was released in 2010, it was riding on the success of Avatar star Sam Worthington as well as the extreme popularity of 3D after Avatar and Alice in Wonderland. However, the film was widely panned, for both acting and story as well as its lackluster 3D conversion, and the sequel only seems to be here because the first film had a successful global gross. Since this seems to be a sequel that not many of us wanted, I don’t think the film will be a big hit domestically but it could do good business overseas once again.
Don’t Count Out: Mirror, Mirror – While you can never underestimate the power of young girls, I’m not sure they’ll be enough to make this live-action Snow White a hit; though it stars Julia Roberts as the Evil Queen, the trailers have been pretty atrocious – showing us a Snow White story that’s clumsy and corny (the Evil Queen is more self-conscious than evil) with a look that’s obviously constructed sets. I’m guessing this film crashes and burns, especially if The Lorax proves to be the family attraction of the month.
Although there are two new releases of the weekend, I’m expecting The Hunger Games to once again dominate, especially if fans of the book come out in droves opening weekend and give the film solid word of mouth.
Limited Releases of the Month:
Being Flynn (March 2) – This film stars the indie-darling Paul Dano (Little Miss Sunshine, There Will Be Blood) as well as Robert DeNiro, and those two stars alone are enough to make the film appealing to the art-house crowd; however, reviews have not all been kind so this one may struggle
Friends With Kids (March 9) – If there’s any limited release to break out this month I’m putting my money on this comedy directed by Kissing Jessica Stein favorite Jennifer Westfeldt. Not only have the trailers been funny and charming, but the film is also a Bridesmaids reunion of sorts with a cast including Kristin Wiig, Jon Hamm, Maya Rudolph, and Chris O’Dowd, as well stars Megan Fox and Edward Burns.
Salmon Fishing in the Yemen (March 9) – While the story of introducing the sport of fly-fishing to the Yemen region isn’t really appealing, the movie stars a pretty charming threesome of Ewan McGregor, Emily Blunt, and Kristin Scott Thomas and was even written by Simon Beaufoy, who knows a thing or two about writing indies after hits Slumdog Millionaire and 127 Hours.
Casa De Mi Padre (March 16) – Will Ferrell is never one to shy away from a challenge – he’s a great comedian but he’s also taken on drama with Stranger Than Fiction and Everything Must Go – but this film has got to be his greatest one yet: it’s all in Spanish! Though produced by Ferrell and Anchorman/Talladega Nights director Adam McKay, this might be a huge flop because its foreign language component – I mean, seriously, how many of us want to pay serious money to see Will Ferrell in Spanish?
Month Summary: With expected smash hits such as The Lorax and The Hunger Games, as well as possible successes such as Project X, John Carter, and Wrath of the Titans, March definitely has the ability to continue the recent success story that is the 2012 box office
Article by Zach Sharf
Syndicated from www.sharfatthemovies.wordpress.com