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5 potential summer movie bombs of 2013

- May 14th, 2013

potential-summer-bombs

Summer – at least as far as Hollywood is concerned – is here. Heck, with the number of blockbusters the bean counters try to sneak into multiplexes each year, it seems like the rush to get us into the theatres is starting earlier and earlier.

It used to be that the summer movie season started on Memorial Day weekend. This year, there were two big releases in March (Oz: The Great and Powerful, G.I. Joe: Retaliation) and several in April (Oblivion, Pain & Gain). Iron Man 3 was released at the beginning of May, and it is already shaping up to be the biggest hit of the year. And despite poor reviews, fans turned out in droves for Baz Luhrmann’s adaptation of The Great Gatsby.

With Star Trek Into Darkness due out this weekend, we’ll be seeing a big blockbuster hit the theatres every week from now until Labour Day. But not all those movies are going to be a success. Some are bound to become the laughing stock of Tinseltown.

Remember Jonah Hex? How ‘bout The Love Guru? I thought as much.
So, let’s take a look at what’s coming over the next few months. Iron Man 3 is already a hit. I think the Wolfpack are safe. Ditto Captain Kirk and company. Pacific Rim looks like it’s going to blow the roof off of every theatre it plays in. But there are at least five movies I think could potentially be saddled with the dubious distinction of being the biggest movie bomb of the summer.

I’m not saying this will for sure happen, or that these movies will be even bad, but here are five films, with a few wildcards, I think are in danger of box office failure.

Don’t like my picks, let me know what you think in the comments.

1. After Earth – In the past, Will Smith movies have been one of the easiest ways for Hollywood to print cash. But following 2008’s box-office dud Seven Pounds, the actor had to resurrect Men in Black, just to regain some of his mojo. Now, he’s teaming up with M. Night Shaymalan, who hasn’t had a hit since 2004. The movie looks interesting enough (if you haven’t already seen Oblivion), but it’s going up against The Hangover III and Fast & Furious 6. Will should have taken the Fresh Prince’s advice: “A good run is better than a bad stand any day.”

2. The Internship – Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson could have made this movie in 2006, and it probably would have been a runaway success. Well, we’re now in 2013 and neither of those two are such a big deal. Vaughn’s The Watch was a notable flop last summer, and Wilson has, er, Drillbit Taylor and Hall Pass under his belt. The Google product placement reeks and the trailer isn’t funny. Its June 7 release date could mean you’ll see this on iTunes before the August long weekend.

3. The Lone Ranger – Hollywood hasn’t been kind to the Western these past couple of years. Cowboys & Aliens tanked, as did the aforementioned Jonah Hex. Johnny Depp’s Lone Ranger has had a tumultuous journey getting to the big screen. And it doesn’t help that he may have lost a bit of his box office muscle (Dark Shadows and The Rum Diary, both tanked). I could be wrong about this – Depp is reteaming with Pirates of the Caribbean director Gore Verbinski and producer Jerry Bruckheimer – but with a budget pegged in $250 million, the film will have to be firing on all cylinders if it hopes to be a hit.

4. Red 2 – You may not realize this, but Bruce Willis has been riding a cold streak for quite some time. He has been relegated to a handful of straight-to-DVD features and the fifth instalment of his Die Hard series – A Good Day to Die Hard – was a box office disappointment. Oh, did I mention that John McClane wants to sue for character defamation? So now we are faced with the prospect of Willis trying to have lightning strike twice with Red 2 – the sequel to one of his only recent hits. I liked the first one fine, but I have four words for Bruce – The Whole Ten Yards.

5. Man of Steel – Don’t get me wrong. I want this movie to do well. A financially successful Superman movie will hopefully usher in a Justice League team up, and possibly a new slate of superhero films based on DC characters. So yeah, I’m excited. I am a wee bit worried, though. The last time Warner tried to reboot Superman, the film got a lacklustre reception at the box office. Director Zack Snyder is also cause for some concern; both his Watchmen adaptation and Sucker Punch underperformed. So, while I’m excited, I’m a little worried as well.

Films on the bubble:

World War Z – It’s had its release date shuffled around several times, which usually isn’t a good sign. Then again, so did Avatar.

Riddick – Just ‘cos Vin Diesel thinks he invented Facebook, doesn’t mean he can try and shove another Riddick movie down everyone’s throats. Oh wait a sec, yes it does.

Grown Ups 2 – I’m surprised as anyone that there’s a sequel. But this is what happens when you let Adam Sandler make That’s My Boy and Jack & Jill.

New ‘World War Z’ poster shows a different side of Brad Pitt

- April 4th, 2013

Two new posters for World War Z have surfaced. One shows star Brad Pitt surveying a ravaged cityscape sans zombies. The other shows a mountain of the walking dead attacking a helicopter.

Both are super cool.

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worldwarz bodies

The film is loosely based on Max Brooks’ book, which recounts humanity’s near destruction after a zombie epidemic breaks out. Since the novel was a series of vignettes, with no focal character, it’ll be interesting to see how screenwriter Matthew Michael Carnahan has put it all together. From what we know so far, Pitt plays character, Gerry Lane, a UN worker who races around the globe trying to identify and stop the zombie pandemic.

World War Z has had a troubled history. The original December 2012 release date was moved to this summer, and director Marc Forster had to do extensive reshoots.

The book was great, and from what I’ve seen this trailer promises something completely different.

‘Star Trek Into Darkness’ Super Bowl trailer debuts online

- February 4th, 2013

star trek bowl

Between the wings, dip and beer, you might have missed the plethora of movie ads studios dropped during last night’s Super Bowl.

There were new spots for Star Trek Into Darkness, Iron Man 3, Fast & Furious 6, The Lone Ranger, Oz The Great and Powerful and World War Z.

My personal fave was the Into Darkness spot.

After months of teasing, we get a fresh look at Benedict Cumberbatch’s villain going mano a mano with Chris Pine’s Captain Kirk. Very Hannibal Lecter-y.

“I’m better,” the steely Cumberbatch says.

“At what?” Kirk replies.

“Everything.”

There are also new scenes of the U.S.S. Enterprise plummeting towards Earth and Spock (Zachary Quinto) in a volcano. And the new trailer comes with a new tagline: ‘Our world will fall.’

For extreme Trek fans, Paramount has revealed a new app for the film.

Star Trek Into Darkness

Not to be outdone by Trek, Marvel released an extended trailer for Iron Man 3 that kinda irritates with a Downey gag off the top, but we do get a look at a pulse-pounding sequence in which Tony Stark has to save passengers after Air Force One is attacked. Thirteen people are careening towards the ground and Iron Man can only rescue four. Hashtag: #superheroproblems.

Iron Man 3

There were also new spots for Fast & Furious 6, The Lone Ranger, Oz The Great and Powerful and World War Z.

Which one are you most excited for? Let us know in the comments.

Fast & Furious 6

The Lone Ranger

Oz the Great and Powerful

World War Z

Watch: ‘World War Z’ Super Bowl ad

- January 31st, 2013

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With new ads for Iron Man and The Lone Ranger set to debut during the Super Bowl, Paramount wasn’t about to let itself be outdone. They too will be joining the trailer sweepstakes when they air a new ad for Brad Pitt’s World War Z.

But ahead of Sunday’s game, a teaser debuted online late Thursday that showcased more scenes of the rampaging zombies that will plague the human race. And we get a further glimpse of just how bad things will get in the Marc Forster-directed film.

“We’ve lost the East Coast,” a voiceover informs us. “China’s dark.”

“What is this?” Pitt asks. “We don’t know,” comes the answer.

Corny lines, super-cool visuals.

Basically, it’s a shorter version of the trailer that debuted last November, but there are several new scenes that definitely up the excitement factor for the film.

World War Z is based on Max Brooks’ 2006 novel which collects individual vignettes that recount the near destruction of humanity by a zombie plague.

The loosely connected stories in the book will, presumably, be tied together by Pitt’s character, Gerry Lane, a UN worker who races around the world to try to identify and stop the zombie pandemic.

If you haven’t read the book, you have less than five months. The film opens on June 21.

20 action movies that (might) blow your mind in 2013

- January 25th, 2013

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OK movie fans. Have you had enough of indie art-house seriousness? Even if you still need to see Lincoln and Argo to win big in your company Oscar pool, I know and you know that what you’re really jazzed about are the slew of action movies hitting the big screen in 2013.

And the first of this year’s impressive slate – the “big, LOUD and stupid” Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters – hits screens this weekend (to read the review, head on over to the Toronto Sun). So, if action is your thing, let’s take a look at some other flicks that’ll get your adrenaline pumping over the next 12 months.

The Old Guys
If you have a soft spot for aging heroes, vintage action stars will be all over the screen in 2013. Arnie and Sly are back for two solo adventures, before teaming up in their first full-length shoot ‘em up. Schwarzenegger’s The Last Stand is in theatres now, with Stallone’s Bullet to the Head due out on Feb. 1. The pair will then join forces in The Tomb (Sept. 27). 50 Cent also stars so, hey, bring the kids.

If those two are a little too leathery for you, Bruce Willis will be back as John McClane in A Good Day to Die Hard. It opens on Valentine’s, so fellas start strategizing now. It’s the fifth instalment in Willis’ long-running McClane series and they never disappoint.

Bruce will also star in G.I. Joe: Retaliation and Red 2, so I’m just going to go ahead and crown him action star of the year.

Comic Books
Comics and graphic novels are always a great source for action aficionados, and this year a whole slew of costumed heroes will be vying for your cash. After letting Marvel rule the celluloid hero-verse (The Dark Knight notwithstanding), DC Comics is flying into action in a big way with Man of Steel (July 14). Zack Snyder’s Superman reboot will not only try to resuscitate the moribund franchise, it will be setting up a future all-star Justice League film skedded for 2015.

But Marvel doesn’t back down from a film fight, and they have Iron Man 3 (May 3), Kick-Ass 2 (June 28) and The Wolverine (July 24) due this summer. Thor: The Dark World will also be smashing into theatres Nov. 8.

Still, I’m betting on Superman to top them all. After 2006’s Superman Returns underperformed, DC knows they can’t miss and they’ve scored a visual virtuoso in Snyder and producer Chris Nolan to boot.

Sequels
In addition to the ones already mentioned, we will see amped-up sequels to Frank Miller’s Sin City (Oct. 2) and 300 (Aug. 2), Vin Diesel and The Rock will be battling it out in Fast & Furious 6 (May 24) and 3D re-releases for Star Wars Episode II and III will be blasting on to screens this fall.

But the sequel that will be on everyone’s must-see list is Star Trek: Into Darkness. Shrouded in secrecy (we still don’t know who the villain is yet), Kirk, Spock and friends battle an “unstoppable force of terror.” If there’s one director who consistently exceeds expectations, though, it’s J.J. Abrams. Trek 2 will also be hitting theatres in 3D and Imax.

With the recent announcement that Abrams’ will be directing Star Wars Episode VII, the sequel might also end up being the last great Trek movie for a while.

Best of the rest
Brad Pitt, Johnny Depp, Tom Cruise and Big Willy will also be vying for your popcorn munching time in 2013. In an odd coincidence, two of the three will be starring in sci-fi films. First up is Cruise in Oblivion (April 19), followed by Will Smith in the M. Night Shyamalan-directed After Earth (June 7). Pitt is also going against type in his first foray into the zombie genre, World War Z (June 21).

Thanks to The Walking Dead, the walking dead are all the rage, but Pitt’s film has been plagued by delays (it still looks cool, though).

Johnny Depp will try and regain his mojo with The Lone Ranger (July 3). He’s reteaming with Pirates director Gore Verbinski, so his odds are good.

But predict Guillermo del Toro’s Pacific Rim (July 11) will blow all of them out of the water. The shot-in-Toronto sci-fi film is robots versus monsters; humans are attacked and we fight back. Cue the awesomeness.

If none of these tickle your fancy, there’s also R.I.P.D. (July 19), Riddick (Sept. 6), The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (Nov. 22), Chris Pine’s Jack Ryan reboot (Dec. 25) and Keanu Reeves’ long-delayed 47 Ronin (Nov. 21).

When it’s all said and done, which do you think will stand head-and-shoulders above the rest? Let us know in the comments.