Mar 7, 2018
Hit or Bomb? March 2017 movie predictions
It’s a new month, and time for another batch of box office predictions. We’ve finally escaped the movie dumping grounds better known as January and February and entered that time of the year when there’s at least some small chance of a movie being decent and/or able to make a buck or two.
Once again, we at the Agony Booth have teamed up to make rash judgments about which films released in March will be HITs and which ones will BOMB based solely on watching the trailers. Agree or disagree? Lets us know, and also make sure to stick around after the predictions to see how well we did with our February forecasts. (Read our February 2017 movie predictions here!)
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Logan (March 3)
The tenth installment in the X-Men movie franchise and (allegedly) the final solo Wolverine movie starring Hugh Jackman is loosely inspired by the “Old Man Logan” storyline from the comics. It’s the near future and no mutants have been born in two decades. A world-weary Logan hides out near the Mexico border caring for an ailing Professor X (Patrick Stewart) until he’s called upon to protect a young mutant being pursued by evil forces.
Thomas S: Is the third time the charm? Are we finally going to get a good Wolverine movie with an R rating and a ton of ultra-violence? Is it too little, too late? I’m thinking not. HIT.
Tyler: Fans of the character will see this one to give Hugh Jackman’s portrayal of Wolverine a final send-off. Fans of the X-Men franchise will see it to wash the taste of X-Men: Apocalypse out of their mouths. HIT.
Thomas R: This is the first time I’ve ever been excited about an X-Men film, let alone one centered around Wolverine. Instead of yet another large-scale mutant war, we’re getting a more intimate story about mortality, loneliness and hope—the kind of thoughtful ideas that, if applied well, elevate superhero stories above spectacle. Whether or not it keeps its promises, the X-Men brand still brings in the crowds, even more so if Wolverine is involved. HIT.
Joel: HIT girl.
Rick: Hugh Jackman has been awesome as Wolverine, even as the big screen version of the character and X-Men franchise as a whole have devolved into an incoherent mess. At least his (allegedly) final outing looks like a winner. I am so ready for a clean reboot, but Deadpool’s success seems to have locked in an X-Force and X-Men 7 within this movie universe. And with this film looking like a clear HIT, a fresh start is even more unlikely.
Kong: Skull Island (March 10)
Another reboot of the King Kong franchise, this time with the express goal of establishing Kong as being big and strong enough to take on the new Godzilla in their already announced 2020 crossover. It’s the early ‘70s and a team of explorers (including Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson, Brie Larson, and John Goodman) journey to the titular location and discover a giant primate doing battle with monstrous super-predators for domination of the island.
Thomas S: Man, Hollywood stacked the deck with this one. Jackson, Hiddleston, Goodman, they’ve got some top tier talent in this one. Yet I think this one is still going to BOMB regardless.
Tyler: Bristling with starpower (Tom “Loki” Hiddleston, Samuel “Motherfucking” Jackson, John C. “I’m A Talented Dramatic Actor But Everyone Just Wants To See Me Play Cal Naughton Jr.” Reilly) and promising a solid mix of compelling action, solid visuals, and comic relief; the most impressive part of this trailer is that it betrays no hint that it’s part of a franchise (it’s a prequel to Godzilla, with Godzilla vs. Kong the eventual goal). It ought to be a HIT.
Thomas R: I had zero interest in watching another King Kong movie until John C. Reilly showed up in the first trailer acting as a local tour guide. If the Apocalypse Now references are to be trusted, we may even get some commentary on the franchise’s unfortunate colonialist tendencies. In any case, big monsters + Tom Hiddleston + promise of a future King Kong vs. Godzilla movie = HIT.
Joel: The special effects bringing Kong and the other Skull Island creatures to life look great, but they don’t have the novelty they did in 2005. Neither does bringing back Kong in the first place, especially without a clear self-contained reason why. Monster buffs will be eager to see the King return, but alas, I see a BOMB with general audiences.
Rick: Hey, Hollywood—no one who didn’t go to film school gives a flying fig about King Kong. Now you think a prequel can jump-start an entire extended universe franchise? BOMB.
Beauty and the Beast (March 17)
The live action remake of the 1991 Disney animated Best Picture nominee stars Emma Watson as Belle, Dan Stevens as the Beast, Luke Evans as Gaston, and a whole host of voice talent as the talking CGI mantelpieces. The Beast takes Belle prisoner, Gaston is determined to hunt down the Beast, Belle learns that the Beast was once human and handsome, yadda yadda yadda. It’s a tale as old as time, I’m sure you know the story.
Thomas S: You know, if they showed just a little more originality with this production, and not just done a live-action shot-for-shot remake of the animated film, then maybe I’d give it a little more credit. Instead I’m thinking it’s just a soulless cash grab. I mean yeah, they’re all soulless cash grabs, but this one seems more egregious (my new favorite word, by the way) than most. BOMB.
Tyler: No matter how derivative and nakedly cash-grabby it is, developmentally-arrested millennials will flock to this one in droves and make it a HIT.
Thomas R: Hey, remember this animated classic that you loved as a child and still love as an adult because it holds up so perfectly? Ever wanted to see it remade shot-for-shot with the exact same songs, costumes, sets, and colors? No? Well, it doesn’t matter, because you know the power of nostalgia alone will suck you straight into the theater and make this one of the year’s ginormous HITs.
Joel: Disney live-action remakes seem to be inevitable hits whether or not they bring anything new to the tale. But this one is timed just right for the nostalgia of those who grew up with the original, or with Watson. MEGAHIT!
Rick: Who hasn’t fantasized about locking Emma Watson in your basement until she falls in love with you? HIT.
Power Rangers (March 17)
In this reboot of the ‘90s kid show Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, five teenagers are brought together to form a force of multi-colored warriors who must defeat Rita Repulsa (Elizabeth Banks), now a former Green Ranger looking to harness the power of the Rangers for her master Lord Zedd.
Thomas S: BOMB. Moving on.
Tyler: This trailer is tonally all over the place; it’s attempting to smush together equal parts grimdark wangst and self-referential ironic goofiness. It’s too silly for adult audiences and not silly enough for kids. The non-Power Ranger parts are hilariously over-cast, which serves to make the main cast look even more wooden and the lines sound even stupider. No way this’ll make back its budget. I’m calling this a BOMB.
Thomas R: The thing about Power Rangers that even its most hardcore fans readily admit that it’s silly as hell and only “cool” if you put yourself in the mindset of an 8 year-old. This is something the people behind this movie clearly don’t understand, as it seems to be mainly marketed towards teenage superhero movie fans, making this a certified BOMB.
Joel: Revival of a nostalgic children’s sci-fi franchise with slick effects replacing the original’s charm, seasoned with generic teen drama, made Transformers a hit. But this looks too goofy to break out to the same mainstream audience, and most nostalgic fans want something either lighter or darker than its split-the-difference tone. And really, a drug test joke? And no holodeck joke? BOMB.
Rick: Not as joyless or inert as the most recent Fantastic Four reboot, but every bit as misguided. BOMB.
Life (March 24)
Astronauts aboard the International Space Station (including Jake Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Ferguson, and Ryan Reynolds) retrieve a probe returning from Mars that carries proof of extraterrestrial life. Unfortunately, things go awry when the alien organism inside begins to gain intelligence and become a terrifying threat.
Thomas S: I want this one to succeed because it looks like a great sci-fi horror film in the tradition of Alien and The Thing. But I’m thinking not even Ryan Reynolds’ charming smile is going to save this one. BOMB.
Tyler: Nothing groundbreaking here, simply a sci-fi/horror thriller with a tried-and-true premise and no glaring flaws… which is why I find it so suspicious that the studio moved the release date from Memorial Day to late March. Ostensibly, it was to avoid competing with Pirates of the Caribbean 5, but it doesn’t look like the two movies are aiming at the same audiences at all. The Occam’s Razor explanation is that the movie sucks more than they’re letting on. BOMB.
Thomas R: I’m not really sure if editing the trailer for an Alien-meets-The Thing thriller to JFK’s “we choose to go to the moon” speech was a wise choice, but compared to the unironic use of the “black dude dies first” cliché, it feels like a stroke of genius. That being said, sci-fi is pretty profitable these days and the trailer gives just enough away to make you curious for more. Expect a modest HIT.
Joel: The Thing in space, where no one can hear an original idea. BOMB.
Rick: What if Gravity was a horror movie? But with Ryan Reynolds in a dramatic role? And 95% of the screenplay is people staring concernedly through plexiglass doors? Expensive + slow-paced + horror = BOMB.
Ghost in the Shell (March 31)
In this film based on the Japanese manga, Scarlett Johansson is the Major, a cyborg soldier leading an elite task force called Section 9 dedicated to stopping the world’s most dangerous criminals, including a terrorist with the ability to hack into people’s minds and control them.
Thomas S: Fuck this movie, and fuck Hollywood for making Major Kusinagi white. I hope it BOMBs, and I hope it bombs hard.
Tyler: I know nothing about anime, but I know that anime fans aren’t known for being forgiving of liberties taken with the source material. Ghost in the Shell’s well-publicized accusations of whitewashing put it on the bad side of the original manga’s fans before any trailers had even come out. So the film’s counting on Johanssen’s starpower and an admittedly gorgeous visual aesthetic to appeal to enough casual moviegoers to recoup its bloated budget. Not gonna happen. BOMB.
Thomas R: Whitewashing issues aside, the mere prospect of watching a naked-but-not-quite Scarlett Johansson kicking ass in a futuristic setting will be enough to drive legions of men into theaters, guaranteeing at least a respectable HIT.
Joel: The world she’s in looks like a derivative jumble of Blade Runner, RoboCop, and various anime. But Scarlett Johansson, while she may be ill-fitting in this cultural context, has the proven action chops that made Lucy an out-of-nowhere hit. And she’s wearing what will become the most iconic skintight white bodysuit since Faye Grant’s. HIT.
Rick: Even if this film ends up with a 100% on Rotten Tomatoes and everyone who sees it has an orgasm in their seat over how awesome it is, there’s too much mindfuckery and body horror for Ghost in the Shell to appeal to anyone but devoted genre fans. Every single frame of the trailer looks inaccessible and off-putting to mainstream audiences. And yet, purely out of obstinate wishful thinking, I’ll say HIT.
And here’s how we did in February (Special thanks to Rick for compiling this list!):
The LEGO Batman Movie
Prediction: 100% said HIT (7 of 7)
Fifty Shades Darker
Prediction: 86% said HIT (6 of 7)
Reality: HIT (sigh)
Prediction 83% said HIT (5 of 6)
Reality: Major HIT
John Wick: Chapter 2
Prediction: 83% said HIT (5 of 6)
Prediction: 40% said HIT (2 of 5)
Reality: BOMB, barely
A Cure for Wellness
Prediction: 28% said HIT (2 of 7)
Reality: Massive BOMB
The Space between Us
Prediction: 20% said HIT (1 of 5)
Reality: Another massive BOMB
Prediction: 14% said HIT (1 of 7)
The Great Wall
Prediction: 0% said HIT (0 of 7)
Reality: BOMB (domestically)
Prediction: 0% said HIT (0 of 7)
Reality: Yet another massive BOMB
Total: A perfect 9 for 9 correct!