The March 2010 Movie Preview

by Dave Thomas
Chloe movie image Julianne Moore and Amanda Seyfried (3).jpg
Chloe starring Julianne Moore and Amanda Seyfried
This month offers a surprisingly good mix of potentially solid mainstream and indie fare. But don’t worry, there’s plenty of crap to go around, too.
March 5
Wide
ALICE IN WONDERLAND
WHAT’S THE PITCH?
Tim Burton sequel to the Lewis Carroll adventures. With Johnny Depp, of course.
WILL IT SUCK?
Tim Burton is a visionary in the best sense of the word. Screenwriter did Lion King and Beauty and the Beast. Depp as the Mad Hatter seems a slam dunk, and he’s joined by Helena Bonham Carter, Crispin Glover, Anne Hathaway, Stephen Fry, Christopher Lee, Michael Sheen, Alan Rickman, and Timothy Spall. Looks like the first bona fide event movie of 2010 worth checking out.
Early buzz is good.
HOW WELL WILL IT DO?
Green Zone the following week has a sliver of the same demo, but this will dominate the month. $207mil.
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BROOKLYN’S FINEST
WHAT’S THE PITCH?
Three cops’ (Richard Gere, Don Cheadle, Ethan Hawke) paths intertwine in an undisclosed New York borough.
WILL IT SUCK?
From the director of Training Day, and this is supposed to be better (according to IMDb). Also stars Wesley Snipes, Lili Taylor, Ellen Barkin, Will Patton, and Vincent D’Onofrio.
HOW WELL WILL IT DO?
Snagged w/in 24 hours of premiering at Sundance last year, so somebody thinks it has potential, enough to buy a Super Bowl spot and give it a wide release, two things that almost never happen with Sundance buys. Still, don’t know if that will translate into wide release money. $26mil.
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Limited
THE SECRET OF KELLS
WHAT’S THE PITCH?
Kid looks for a book. A really, really important book.
WILL IT SUCK?


Early buzz is crazy good. Good enough to launch it into a “The What of What?” Oscar nod for Best Animated ahead of some much heavier hitters.
HOW WELL WILL IT DO?
Oscar nod will help. Alice in Wonderland will not. $5mil.
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March 12
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Wide
damon.jpg
GREEN ZONE
WHAT’S THE PITCH?
The Iraq Identity
WILL IT SUCK?
It’s Paul Greengrass. Come on. When has he ever sucked? And he’s reteaming with Matt Damon (and adding Jason Isaacs, Greg Kinnear, Amy Ryan and Brendan Gleeson). Brian Helgeland (Mystic River, LA Confidential) writes.
HOW WELL WILL IT DO?
A little bit of competition from the second frame of Alice, but this could own the weekend. $91mil.
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REMEMBER ME
WHAT’S THE PITCH?
Robert Pattinson in a romantic drama in which he is not undead.
WILL IT SUCK?
From the director of a lot of Sopranos and Sex in the City and one feature (Hollywoodland, which was pretty good). If Pattinson doesn’t do it for you, Emilie de Ravin, Pierce Brosnan, Chris Cooper, Martha Plimpton, and Lena Olin are also up in here.
HOW WELL WILL IT DO?
With She’s Out of My League and Our Family Wedding drawing on an only slightly different demo this week and The Bounty Hunter drawing the romcom crowd the next, this could have trouble, even with R-Patz front and center. $26mil.
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SHE’S OUT OF MY LEAGUE
WHAT’S THE PITCH?
If you don’t get it from the title, I don’t know what to tell ya.
WILL IT SUCK?
From the writers of Sex Drive. That is all.
HOW WELL WILL IT DO?
Sadly, I have a feeling this might be a bit of a breakout hit. $40mil.
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OUR FAMILY WEDDING
WHAT’S THE PITCH?
An African American family and a Latino family try to sort out their differences (well, the fathers mainly) as their son and daughter respectively get married.
WILL IT SUCK?
From the writer/director of The Wood and Brown Sugar, who also wrote the fantastic Talk to Me and co-wrote this…with the writer of King’s Ransom, and the trailer looks more like the latter. Cast is a mixed bag. Love Forest Whitaker and America Ferrara. Carlos Mencia, not so much.
HOW WELL WILL IT DO?
Weekend is too crowded, especially for romcoms. $22mil.
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Limited
MOTHER
WHAT’S THE PITCH?
Mother tries to clear her mentally challenged son’s name in a murder investigation.
WILL IT SUCK?
Maestro of the tonal mash-up Bong Joon-Ho (The Host) releases his best-received film since Memories of Murder. Early buzz is amazing. Hye-ja Kim, who plays the mother in question, is supposed to be incredible.
HOW WELL WILL IT DO?
Even The Host didn’t do all that well over here. $1mil.
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March 19
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Wide
THE BOUNTY HUNTER
WHAT’S THE PITCH?
Midnight Run if Robert DeNiro and Charles Grodin used to be married, and were Gerard Butler and Jennifer Aniston.
WILL IT SUCK?
From director Andy Tennant who brought us Hitch and Ever After, yes, but also Fool’s Gold and guess which one this looks more like.
HOW WELL WILL IT DO?
Neither Butler nor Aniston are foolproof box office openers, but they’re bigger stars than in any of the romcoms breathing the same air. $78mil.
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DIARY OF A WIMPY KID
WHAT’S THE PITCH?
Trials and tribulations of a kid in middle school. Based on the popular web-comic-turned-teen-novel-series.
WILL IT SUCK?
From the director of Hotel for Dogs and some 70′s Show and 90210 (reboot) writers.
HOW WELL WILL IT DO?
How to Train Your Dragon next week isn’t going to help matters. $36mil.
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REPO MEN
WHAT’S THE PITCH?
Repo! The Genetic Opera without the opera.
WILL IT SUCK?
Most encouraging thing about this is co-writer Eric Garcia (who wrote the novel on which Matchstick Men is based) adapting his own novel with a scribe from House. Cast is good, too: Jude Law, Forest Whitaker, Liev Schreiber, and RZA.
HOW WELL WILL IT DO?
Unless word of mouth really takes off, will get drowned out by second frame of Green Zone, first frame of Bounty Hunter, and How to Train Your Dragon the following week. $48mil.
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Limited
THE RUNAWAYS
WHAT’S THE PITCH?
Before Joan Jett (Kristen Stewart) loved rock n’ roll, she fronted a groundbreaking all-female punk band that apparently Dakota Fanning was in as well.
WILL IT SUCK?
Early buzz is good after a successful bow at Sundance. Stewart and Fanning are supposed to be great, and Michael Shannon, who co-stars, is supposed to be even better. And you can’t go wrong with Alia Shawkat.
HOW WELL WILL IT DO?
Probably one of the most anticipated indie releases of the year. $24mil.
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Girl+Dragon+Tattoo+Photocall+2009+Cannes+Film+A0g8aBl4wcTl.jpg
THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO
WHAT’S THE PITCH?
A murder investigation involving a writer and a hacker with the aforementioned body art.
WILL IT SUCK?
I read the book this was based on for my book club. Yeah, I’m in a book club. Wanna fight? Anyway, it was a good book, but I don’t see what all the fuss is about. Still, it could make an interesting movie. Early buzz is extremely good.
HOW WELL WILL IT DO?
I don’t know that it has to do all that well, given that it was a huge hit in its native Sweden and has already spawned two sequels (the novel is the first in a trilogy) and plans for an American remake. But if they really want more dough, the novel’s following should help. $8mil.
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HUBBLE 3D
WHAT’S THE PITCH?
Some guys go to try to fix a telescope. A really big telescope. In space.
WILL IT SUCK?
If you watch the trailer and just imagine what it would be like to see those images on IMAX in 3D, the fact that the writer/director also did the acclaimed Space Station 3D becomes icing on the cake.
HOW WELL WILL IT DO?
Given that Space Station 3D, released in 2002, is still making money (north of $80 million as of this writing), it’s safe to say this won’t tank. $61mil.
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March 26
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Wide
HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON
WHAT’S THE PITCH?
Kid makes friends with a dragon. His dragon-killing Viking clan freaks.
WILL IT SUCK?
From the writer/directors of Lilo & Stitch, which, if you’ve never seen it, is actually very good. Some nice comic voice talent: Jay Baruchel, Kristen Wiig, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Craig Ferguson, Jonah Hill, America Ferrara, and Gerard Butler who can be quite funny when he wants to be (see him in Rocknrolla).
HOW WELL WILL IT DO?
Clash of the Titans is an issue, not just because it will draw on some of the same demo, but also because it will (now that they’ve retro-fitted it for 3D) take up a lot of 3D real estate that would otherwise go to this flick’s second frame. Still, this weekend will give it a nice head start. $155mil.
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hot-tub-time-machine-header1.jpg
HOT TUB TIME MACHINE
WHAT’S THE PITCH?
Title pretty much says it all. John Cusack, Rob Corddry, Craig Robinson, and Clark Duke get in a hot tub and go back in time.
WILL IT SUCK?
2/3rds of the writers did Sex Drive. Kind of nullifies Steve Pink (the underrated Accepted) at the helm. One early review has an underwhelming take.
HOW WELL WILL IT DO?
When comedies like this fizzle, they do it hard. $32mil.
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Limited
GREENBERG
WHAT’S THE PITCH?
Romantic dramedy about an aimless slacker (Ben Stiller) who falls for a musician (Greta Gerwig).
WILL IT SUCK?
I’ve long known that Stiller can carry weightier dramatic fare (check out Permanent Midnight) and in the hands of The Squid and the Whale‘s Noah Baumbach, the results should be interesting. Co-starring Jennifer Jason Leigh (who has a story credit), Rhys Ifans, and Mark Duplass. Early buzz is good.
HOW WELL WILL IT DO?
Coming off of The Squid and the Whale, better. Coming off of Margot at the Wedding, not so much. $3mil.
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CHLOE
WHAT’S THE PITCH?
Julianne Moore hires Amanda Seyfried to tempt her husband (Liam Neeson) to see if he’s the cheating kind. When it turns out he is, things take a turn for the really interesting when Seyfried’s advances prove equally effective on Moore.
WILL IT SUCK?
All heterosexual males who read that first part (and I would assume many lesbians) have already made up their minds. For those of you looking for artistic merit, know that this comes from indie maestro Atom Egoyan and is, according to IMDb users at least, his best film since the astonishing Sweet Hereafter. Critical response has been a bit more mixed.
HOW WELL WILL IT DO?
If they do an ad buy on SpikeTV and Maxim, awesome, but I don’t think they will. $4mil.
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THE ECLIPSE
WHAT’S THE PITCH?
Ciaran Hinds stars as a widower who begins to see ghosts and consults an author (Iben Hjejle) who specializes in the supernatural and is having difficulties of her own with a very alive ex-lover (Aidan Quinn).
WILL IT SUCK?
Mixed notices with audiences taking more of a shine to it than critics. From writer/director Conor McPherson who, among other things, wrote the criminally underseen I Went Down many years ago.
HOW WELL WILL IT DO?
Flick won’t even catch a break on Google thanks to Twilight. $750,000.
Next Month: Hollywood holds an 80′s night with reboots of Clash of the Titans, Wall Street, and Nightmare on Elm Street. Oh, and $2 drafts until 8pm!!

Comments

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