March Movie Preview

Ok, I know it is normally hard to make it through the movie lull that is January and February, but this year was especially difficult. Other than Warm Bodies and Side Effects, which both managed to show audiences that good films can be released in the first two months of the year (though Effects barley caught on at the box office), the rest of the weeks were filled with abysmally unfunny comedies (Movie 43 and A Haunted House), disappointing sequels (Texas Chainsaw 3D and A Good Day to Die Hard), and whatever other crap Hollywood decided to toss at the screen in hopes it would stick.  However, in the past few years March has been the month in which we begin to see a turning point for films. Last March, Hollywood saw huge box office returns thanks to The Lorax and the gargantuan power of The Hunger Games. With February in the books, we now turn our eyes to March in hopes that it can help heal the wounds we have suffered already this year:

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March 1st

21 & Over – The writers of The Hangover try their hand at directing in this comedy about two buddies who decide to surprise their friend on the eve of his 21st birthday and, subsequently, the biggest interview of his life. While it is from the guys who wrote The Hangover, overall this just looks like a film that’s trying way to hard to be the next awesome party film. However, it is an R-rated comedy, and if we learned anything from Identity Thief, it’s that a comedy doesn’t have to be good to be successful. Read our review here.

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Phantom – Starring the very talented Ed Harris, Phantom follows the story of a haunted Soviet ship Captain who, upon leading a mission, discovers he holds the fate of the world in his hands. Between the great acting talent and an interesting premise, this honestly looks like it could surprise and possibly be a sleeper hit. Nevertheless, I think due to bad marketing (I had not heard of this film before last week) Phantom will be the least successful of the four films released this weekend. Read our review here.

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Jack the Giant Slayer – From director Bryan Singer (X-Men), Jack the Giant Slayer is the story of an ancient war between humans and giants that is reignited when Jack, a young, poor farmhand, opens a gateway between the two worlds in the form of a gigantic beanstalk. While I do believe the retelling of a famous fable premise can be pulled off well, I think the horrible special effects and goofy style of the film will overwhelm other aspects. Because there is such a good and bad balance, I honestly do not know how well this will do box office wise, but I wouldn’t expect anything crazy. Read our review here.

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The Last Exorcism: Part 2 – From the people who apparently love to make contradicting film titles, The Last Exorcism Part 2 follows Nell as she attempts at getting back to a normal life after the events of the first film (released in August 2010) and the return of the demon that once possessed her. This honestly does not look like it has one redeeming quality and is the definition of a cash-grab. I would say that (hopefully) this movie won’t make any money opening weekend, but the only reason they made it in the first place is because someone, somewhere watches these types of horror films and because of that I think this will open with respectable numbers.

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March 8th

Oz: The Great and Powerful – The never explicitly stated prequel to The Wizard of Oz, Oz: The Great and Powerful is the story of a small-town wizard who arrives in a foreign land and is forced to decide whether he will be good or great. While I personally do not think this looks like anything special, apparently it is building massive hype through its star power (James Franco, Rachel Weisz, Mila Kunis, Michelle Williams), premise, and art style, and I think Raimi’s presence gives me some hope for he did direct the first two Spider-Man movies. Whether it’s good or not doesn’t change the fact that this will be the biggest film of March and will most likely have a fantastic opening weekend.

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Emperor – Inspired by a true story, Emperor follows General Tellers who, after the Japanese surrender of WWII, is tasked with deciding whether or not Emperor Hirohito will be hanged as a war criminal. What really draws me to this movie is the acting talent; Matthew Fox and Tommy Lee Jones look really fantastic in their roles, and because of them I’m hoping for a solid run at the box office. Unfortunately, this film is rather unknown, and the fact that it’s going up against the juggernaut that is Oz means it probably wont make any sort of dent in terms of box office numbers.

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Dead Man Down – From the director of the original The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Dead Man Down stars Colin Farrell as a crime lord’s right-hand man who is seduced by one of his boss’ victims to seek vengeance. After watching this trailer, what really excited me was Terrance Howard’s performance as a menacing individual and the really grand looking action pieces. While this is another one I am excited for (and I think this might do better financially then Emperor), releasing a film the same week as something as big as Oz is pretty much box office suicide. Also, 2013 as been notoriously cruel to action-heavy R-rated film, and since Dead Man Down falls perfectly into that category, only strong reviews will save it from a quick box office death.

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March 15th   

The Incredible Burt Wonderstone – Starring one of the better ensemble casts in a while, The Incredible Burt Wonderstone is the story of magician Burt Wonderstone’s separation from his partner after a guerilla magician steals their thunder. While Steve Carell, Jim Carrey, and Steve Buscemi have all given us fantastic comedic performances in the past, this is another film that seems to only exist for the sole purpose of executives trying to make money (the trailer isn’t anything special). While I do not think the film will be funny at all, I wouldn’t be surprised if it has a decent run at the box office due to the names involved and because the market place is itching for a comedy now that Identity Thief is a month old.

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March 22nd

Olympus Has Fallen – Olympus Has Fallen follows disgraced former Presidential guard Mike Banning as he tries to use his inside knowledge to rescue the President from kidnappers in the wake of an attack on the White House. Although it doesn’t look like anything innovative or revolutionary, when watching the trailer I could honestly see myself sitting in the theater with my brain turned off enjoying this film. With this being one of the major action films of the month, I would expect this film to have a pretty decent opening weekend, though the previously mentioned woes in 2013 for violence-heavy R-rated actioners might hurt this potential B-movie in the making.

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The Croods – From the studio that brought us the Shrek, Madagascar, and Kung Fu Panda series’, The Croods takes a trip with the world’s first prehistoric family to an uncharted and fantastical world. Even though DreamWorks has done some fantastic work in the past (as listed above), something about this film has me very skeptical. However, the one genre that always manages to do well is animation – see The Lorax last march, for instance – and I wouldn’t expect that trend to change anytime soon, especially since The Croods is appealing to both girls and boys.

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Admission – Starring the very funny Tina Fey and Paul Rudd, Admission follows a Princeton admission officer who decides to risk her major promotion when she takes a risk on a kid who just might be the son she gave up for adoption years ago. The one problem I have with this film, and many comedy films nowadays, is that it seems like it will focus too much on drama, which will bog the film down. Whether I’m right or wrong (and I really hope I’m wrong) doesn’t change the fact that I think these two comedic names can gather enough of an audience to accumulate a good starting weekend at the box office.

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Spring Breakers – After starting in limited release on March 15th, Harmony Korine’s bat-shit-crazy Spring Breakers, starring James Franco as a Riff-Raff-like gangster who seduces Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Benson, and Selena Gomez into the criminal underworld, goes wide this weekend and its anyone’s guess as to how this plays at the nationwide box office. Anyone who is a fan of Korine’s Kids and Gummo know the filmmaker is a twisted auteur and that Spring Breakers is probably going to be one dark, dark movie, but the marketing has been capitalizing on Skrillex music and Disney princesses Gomez and Hudgens, but will their legions of fans show up to an R-rated girls-gone-wild? All I know is that Spring Breakers is headed for a long life as a cult-movie, but how it plays at the box office we’ll only see in time.

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March 29th

G.I. Joe: Retaliation – The sequel to the almost offensive first installment, G.I. Joe: Retaliation follows everyone’s favorite squad as they try to fight off their mortal enemy, Cobra, and some lingering problems from the first film. It’s going to take a lot to fix the disappointment that was the first film, and while I still do not think I can bear to watch this sequel, from the trailer it seems like they are taking a step in the right direction. Much like the first film, I expect the hardcore fans (although they say they won’t watch the film) to propel this film to a very successful opening weekend, though its box office legs will depend solely on how good the movie actually is (the addition of Bruce Willis and The Rock seem like steps in the right direction).

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Tyler Perry’s Temptation – The thirteenth film in the Tyler Perry series, Tyler Perry’s Temptation is the story of a marriage counselor who enters an increasingly obsessive relationship behind her husband’s back. Because these are films that pander to a specific audience that I am not part of, I had absolutely no idea this film was coming out, but I can only assume it’s going to be the same as any other Tyler Perry drama film. With that being said, Tyler Perry does have a specific audience, and I think that audience will help this film tremendously at the box office.

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The Host – Based on the bestselling book by Stephenie Meyer, The Host follows Melanie Stryder who, after being injected with a parasitic alien soul, forms a bond with her host and sets out to aid other free humans. While this picture doesn’t look particularly good, it’s no Twilight either, which we all know is an absolutely awful “film” series that was also based off of books by Meyer. Due to the success of the book, along with the following Meyer has garnered through her Twilight series, I would expect this to have a pretty successful opening weekend as well, but don’t except it to be the next boffo franchise, for as we saw in February with Beautiful Creatures, young-adult adaptations don’t necessarily mean box office gold.

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Overall, while there are a couple possible gems mixed into the bunch, March looks like it is going to be another pretty long month in regards to worldwide releases. However, that’s only my opinion. What about you guys? How do you think March looks? Anything particular catch your eye? Sound off in the comments below.

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