Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Meet the new movies, same as the old movies

By Chris Hicks, For the Deseret News

Published: Sun, Jan. 19 9:52 p.m. MST

 Andrew Garfield stars as Spider-Man in \

Andrew Garfield stars as Spider-Man in "The Amazing Spider-Man 2."

(Sony)

What with Sunday's Golden Globes and the Academy Award nominations that were announced on Thursday, along with the opening of the Sundance Film Festival, it’s hard not to have movies on your mind this week.

But you’ll be reading enough about those events elsewhere, so let’s instead take a look at what the most successful movie trends were last year and what’s coming up over the next few weeks and months.

Do superhero and animated films still rule? Did sequels and remakes and comic-book adaptations and fantasies and raunchy comedies dominate the 2013 box office once more, and are we doomed to see the same kind of things yet again this coming spring and summer?

Well, yeah! What are you thinking?

Here are the top 10 box-office results for 2013, both North American and foreign (according to Box Office Mojo), ranked by domestic earnings:

1. “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” (Domestic: $413 million/foreign: $433 million)

2. “Iron Man 3” ($409 million/$806 million)

3. “Despicable Me 2” ($368 million/$567 million)

4. “Frozen” ($317 million/$394 million)

5. “Man of Steel” ($291 million/$377 million)

6. “Monsters University” ($268 million/$475 million)

7. “Gravity” ($256 million/$414 million)

8. “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” ($242 million/$566 million)

9. “Fast & Furious 6” ($238 million/$550 million)

10. “Oz The Great and Powerful” ($234 million/$258 million)

As you can see, six of the top 10 are sequels (“Hunger,” “Iron,” “Despicable,” “Monsters,” “Hobbit” and “Fast”), one is a remake (“Man of Steel”), one is a reworking of an oft-filmed tale (“Oz”) and three are animated features (“Despicable,” “Frozen,” “Monsters”). Actually, you could make a good argument that all 10 are actually more than 50 percent animated.

Filling out the top 20 are “Star Trek Into Darkness,” “Thor: the Dark World,” “World War Z,” “The Croods,” “The Heat,” “We’re the Millers,” “The Great Gatsby,” “The Conjuring,” “Identity Thief” and “Grown Ups 2.”

Although there are no R-rated movies in the top 10, there are three in the second 10 — No. 15, “The Heat,” followed by No. 16, “We’re the Millers,” and at No. 19, “Identity Thief,” all three of them raunchy formulaic comedies.

And we should note that because “The Hunger Games,” “Frozen” and “The Hobbit” are still in first-run theaters earning money, their positions in the top 10 might change before they are through. In fact, no one would be surprised to see “Frozen” vault up to the No. 1 spot before it plays out.

And what’s coming over the next few months? Same old, same old.

Except for a couple of unexpected major-studio gambles, a pair of biblical films: “Son of God,” an expanded version of one episode of last year’s hit TV miniseries “The Bible,” which aired on the cable History Channel; and “Noah,” with Russell Crowe in the title role of this big-budget, special-effects-driven epic about the Bible’s most famous end-of-the-world story.

Remakes: “RoboCop,” “About Last Night,” “Endless Love,” “Godzilla,” “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” and “Hercules” — yes there’s a “Hercules” remake in theaters right now, but this is yet another one, opening in July.

Sequels: “Muppets Most Wanted,” “300: Rise of an Empire,” “A Haunted House 2,” “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” “Rio 2,” “The Amazing Spider-Man 2,” “X-Men: Days of Future Past,” “22 Jump Street,” "How to Train Your Dragon 2,” “Think Like a Man Too,” “Transformers: Age of Distinction,” “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes,” “Planes: Fire & Rescue,” “Hercules,” “The Expendables 3,” “Sin City: A Dame to Kill For.”

Animated features: “The Lego Movie,” yet another cartoon based on a toy; “The Wind Rises,” a World War II story animated by Hayao Miyazaki; “Mr. Peabody & Sherman,” based on the characters from the old “Rocky & Bullwinkle” TV series, along with the aforementioned animated sequels. But nothing from Pixar this year, more’s the pity.

Comic-book/novel fantasies: “I, Frankenstein,” placing Mary Shelley’s monster (Aaron Eckhart) in a dystopian future (from the trailer, it looks like “Frankenstein Meets Underworld”); “Vampire Academy,” about good and evil bloodsuckers; “Winter’s Tale,” with Colin Farrell in love with a woman who dies but will be reincarnated; “Edge of Tomorrow,” about a futuristic soldier (Tom Cruise) caught in a “Groundhog Day”-style time loop.

Thrillers: “3 Days to Kill,” with a dying Secret Service agent given a second chance; “Non-Stop,” the latest action picture starring Liam Neeson, set aboard an international flight; “Need for Speed,” adapted from a video game; “Sabotage,” an Arnold Schwarzenegger vehicle; “Welcome to Yesterday,” about teens finding plans for a time machine; “Divergent,” about teens in an authoritarian future; “Transcendence,” with Johnny Depp as a dying scientist who downloads his mind into a computer.

Raunchy comedies: “Bad Words,” Jason Bateman’s directing debut has him getting revenge on a children’s spelling bee; “St. Vincent De Van Nuys,” with a boy befriending a misanthropic neighbor, starring Melissa McCarthy and Bill Murray; “Neighbors,” about new parents (Seth Rogan, Rose Byrne) beset by a fraternity that moves into the neighborhood; “Blended,” Adam Sandler reteams with Drew Barrymore as single parents who meet at a resort; “A Million Ways to Die in the West,” a Western spoof co-written, directed by and starring Seth Macfarlane (“Ted”); “Tammy,” with Melissa McCarthy and Susan Sarandon as daughter and mother.

Just makes you want to run down to your friendly neighborhood theater and order advance tickets, doesn’t it?

Chris Hicks is the author of "Has Hollywood Lost Its Mind? A Parent’s Guide to Movie Ratings." Website: www.hicksflicks.com

Email: hicks@deseretnews.com

Recommended
1. MAYHEM MIKE
Salt Lake City, UT,
Jan. 19, 2014

"Just makes you want to run down to your friendly neighborhood theater and order advance tickets, does'n’t it?"

No, Chris. . . makes me want to peruse Turner Classic Movies!

2. John Charity Spring
Back Home in Davis County, UT,
Jan. 19, 2014

Unfortunately, the new year will likely bring the same Hollywood offerings: open promotions of wanton sexuality, violence, and substance abuse.

3. Brent T. Aurora CO
Aurora, CO,
Jan. 19, 2014

As always, makes me want to read up on lots of films, wait for their DVD release and watch them at home in my comfy chair, my own food, my own restroom (while I pause), rewind/fast forward, captioning -- on my own time schedule. Nothing the theater offers can beat that.