Hit or Bomb? April 2017 movie predictions
April is upon us, and it appears to be a time for quiet reflection between the blockbuster releases of March and May, because almost nothing of interest is being released this month. We have only one surefire hit in April, along with a whole lot of “I’ll wait for Redbox/Netflix” releases. But we’re in this for the long haul, so it’s time once again to judge whether a movie will be a HIT or BOMB based solely on watching the trailer. (Read our March movie predictions here!)
Your Agony Booth box office gurus this time around are: Tyler Peterson, Thomas Ricard, Joel Schlosberg, Susan Velazquez, Marion Stein, and Rick Lewis. And make sure to stick around after the predictions to see how well we did last month!
Smurfs: The Lost Village (April 7)
This fully CGI entry completely unrelated to the previous two hybrid/live-action Smurfs movies explores the origins of the Smurfs. Smurfette (voiced by Demi Lovato) obtains a mysterious map that leads her and her friends Hefty, Brainy, and Clumsy (Joe Manganiello, Danny Pudi, and Jack McBrayer) through the Forbidden Forest where they race to find a lost village before Gargamel (Rainn Wilson) discovers it first.
Tyler: So, are they going to acknowledge that there have been two Smurfs movies already with bigger stars in them? Is this a remake? Reboot? Sequel? There’s no way to know and no reason to care. The premise (where did all the other female Smurfs go?) hints at a movie that’s more clever and self-aware than is evident from the schlocky mess the trailer otherwise promises. The advance reviews are savage, and the release date has been pushed back for almost two full years. I’m calling this a BOMB.
Thomas R: It’s loud, obnoxious, and unfunny, but hey, at least it’s actually taking place in the Smurf world this time! I don’t know if that’ll be enough to not send fans of the comic and TV show into a gargling fit of rage this time, but the last two Smurf movies made big bucks in the moppet market, and this one should be no different. HIT.
Susan: I’m all for expanding the mythology of the Smurfs universe, but I was surprised this was picked up for a third movie. The second was lackluster in terms of quality and box office, but I guess the execs hoped that by giving this a March release, a full two months before the third Despicable Me, it can win the box office war against Boss Baby, the only other family-friendly flick on the marquee. It’ll be a HIT, if you count making back your budget and trouncing a bad Alec Baldwin movie a win.
Marion: Smurf Village is Del Boca Vista Phase II for aging hippie blue little people who don’t do shirts? Like many geezers, they’re heavy into psychedelics, but get cranky easily. They have a granddaughter who’d like to find some younger smurfs. Would it make more or less sense if I’d ever seen a Smurf movie before? I’mma go rewatch Zootopia now. BOMB.
Rick: Ditching Neil Patrick Harris and resurrecting the Smurfs movie franchise as a pure cartoon is a smart play, but every single joke in the trailer is painfully stale. You don’t have to be Brainy to predict a BOMB.
Colossal (April 7 – limited release)
From the director of Timecrimes. Anne Hathaway loses her job in New York City and moves back to her small hometown, only to discover that a giant kaiju monster currently attacking Seoul, South Korea can be controlled by her movements, but only when she’s drunk.
Tyler: Smurfs: The Lost Village should’ve come out a couple of years ago. This movie, on the other hand, feels like it should ideally wait a couple of years to come out. The revival of the kaiju genre is still in its early stages; a satirical riff on kaiju movies would’ve more readily found an audience had the filmmakers waited for the genre to get bigger in the pop-cultural zeitgeist. The premise is intriguingly off-the-wall in a Being John Malkovich kind of way, but the trailer doesn’t do enough to demonstrate that the film has anything to offer beyond that. BOMB
Thomas R: Well, this could either be a funny little B-infused riff on dealing with a drinking problem, or a tone-deaf geek-pandering mess. It’s great to see original ideas like this get made, but the concept is probably a bit too niche to make waves outside the indie film festival circuit. BOMB.
Joel: Is this the result of some sort of Producers-type scheme where a movie that’s contractually obligated to include Hathaway and a kaiju is trying to lose as much money as possible? BOMB!
Susan: The real monster is not within ourselves, but some random white lady with a drinking problem. Colossal has a pretty clever concept, but the cast doesn’t seem to know how to deliver the comedy without being smarmy about it. BOMB.
Marion: Many people hate Anne Hathaway. This won’t change their minds. If you don’t hate Anne Hathaway, this could be fun, maybe. For the first 10 seconds of the trailer, I thought “not another Train Wreck-messed-up-women-are-funny film”, but we haven’t seen this exact thing before, and somebody goes to Anne Hathaway movies, so HIT.
Rick: It’s refreshingly wonderful to see Hollywood gamble on something so unabashedly weird. And people always forget that Hathaway is really good at funny. I hope this surprises me and turns out to be a HIT.
The Fate of the Furious (April 14)
In the eighth installment of the venerable Fast and Furious franchise, a mysterious woman (Charlize Theron) seduces Dom (Vin Diesel) back into a life of crime, forcing his former crew (Michelle Rodriguez, Ludacris, Tyrese Gibson, et al) to crisscross the globe to stop an anarchist from unleashing chaos upon the world.
Tyler: I am in awe. Each of these movies is more bonkers than the last. This series keeps getting huger and sillier and making more and more money, with absolutely no sign of slowing down. I had a vision of being 100 years old, taking the teleporter to the holo-theater to watch Fast and Furious 45 in which an indestructible cyborg version of Vin Diesel drives ten million cars simultaneously off a gigantic ramp and into space, crashing into a neutron star and causing an explosion that sends ripples through reality itself, and I’m sitting there munching on my Soylent Green and thinking, “Man, how’s the next one gonna top that?” HIT.
Joel: Paul Walker is no longer with us, and Vin Diesel is coming off of a domestic bomb. But this series has transitioned from relying on their chemistry to a well-established ensemble cast. So now it can throw Diesel off the team, and add in the fast and “furios-a” breakout star of the other big automotive action megahit of 2015, just to make it an even match. The ensuing action looks to be ridiculously over-the-top, even for a series that’s perennially ridiculously topping itself. HIT!
Susan: I’ve been saying over and over again any time a trailer for a generic action movie comes out: just wait for the next Fast and Furious movie. And now it’s here! Dom betraying his friends! Luke Hobbs and Deckard Shaw working together! Someone driving a tank on ice! I don’t know what happening, but I love it. Obviously, a HIT.
Rick: The previous one is sandwiched in between the first Avengers and the second Avengers at number six on the all-time biggest worldwide moneymakers in movie history. I’m gonna cautiously suggest this one will do fine. HIT.
Free Fire (April 21)
Red Band Trailer (NSFW):
An action-comedy from the director of High-Rise. In 1978 Boston, Justine (Brie Larson) brokers a weapons deal between criminals (Sharlto Copley, Armie Hammer, Cillian Murphy) in an abandoned warehouse. But then a minor disagreement turns into a full-on shootout, and a night of total chaos ensues.
Tyler: As much as I really, really like Sharlto Copley, and want him to find wider success and ditch the millstone that is Neill Blomkamp, two things bother me about this trailer: a) action comedies are a notoriously tricky genre to get right and the “comedy” in this trailer seems to be just a bunch of people getting shot and swearing loudly, and b) I can’t help but detect the looming shadow of Brie Larson’s Oscar curse. I think this’ll be a relative HIT purely on the basis of its miniscule budget, but don’t expect this to burn up the box office.
Thomas R: As a fan of Ben Wheatley and Amy Jump’s twisted genre-savvy humour, this is a film I’ve been looking forward to. It looks very much in the same vein as much of their previous work: Smart, violent, ambitious, and with an ironic edge that teeters ever-so-slightly into the realm of smugness. So, sadly, I don’t think anyone outside the movie buff community is going to see this. BOMB.
Joel: All I can tell from the trailer is that participants in a generic shootout let expletives fly as freely as bullets. And just as boringly. BOMB.
Susan: I feel like this whole movie is one extended shootout scene from another movie. The cast is very strong—Brie Larson is certainly on an interesting career track, post-Oscar win—but there’s only so long an audience can watch a group of wiseguys load their weapons and crack jokes. BOMB.
Marion: Any film that screams “I am a cult movie” is not going to be a hit. If all it takes to make you happy is GUNS with self-consciously predictable dialogue, then this is this is the film for you, unless I misunderstood and it’s a meta-parody of that sort of thing. BOMB.
Rick: It’s like Quentin Tarantino made a sitcom. There’s a fair chance this makes perpetual money down the road as a cult classic, but in theaters? Nah. Even with a mere $10 million production budget, it’ll BOMB.
The Circle (April 28)
Based on the novel by Dave Eggers. Mae (Emma Watson) gets a job with the world’s most powerful technology/social media company. The founder of the company (Tom Hanks) soon encourages Mae to participate in an experiment that pushes the boundaries of privacy and ethics, and which ends up having dire consequences for her friends, family, and possibly all of humanity.
Tyler: Well, it doesn’t lack for star power. And given recent events, a movie exploiting paranoia over online privacy could find a large audience indeed. I’m going to say HIT.
Thomas R: I like me a good topical paranoid thriller, and I hope whoever thought of casting Tom “America’s Dad” Hanks as a falsely benevolent Steve Jobs got a big raise, but I can’t help feeling the movie looks a bit too slick to be a really convincing indictment of corporate brainwashing. It’s possible audiences might be getting tired of tech dramas, but seeing as this is apparently based on a “best-selling novel”, this will likely end up being at least a minor HIT.
Joel: The trailer is cryptic in a way that’s not particularly intriguing. BOMB.
Susan: Based on a best-selling novel? Check. Talented cast? Check. Released during a time of year when there’s not a million Oscar bait or critical darlings vying for attention? Check. I predict a modest box office HIT that gives Emma back any Serious Actress cred she may have lost for doing the Beauty and the Beast remake.
Marion: Ever since Splash, when Tom Hanks turned his back on Darryl Hannah after discovering she was a fish, I’ve sensed he was a rat underneath. So happy to see him playing something other than a sainted hero for once. This seems to key into the issues of “Is my workplace ruining my life?” and “Is social media ruining my life?” Plus we get to feel fifty shades of schadenfreude when the dream job goes sour. Emma Watson looks like she’s killing it. HIT.
Rick: Killer cast. Hokey premise. Snoozy trailer. The music and Emma Watson’s reaction shots are screaming at me that “SOMETHING SINISTER IS GOING ON HERE” but the only thing that appears to be at stake is Emma’s relationship with her whiny, slacker boyfriend. BOMB.
And here’s how we did in March (Special thanks to Rick for compiling this list!):
100% said HIT (5 out of 5)
Beauty and the Beast
80% said HIT (4 out of 5)
Ghost in the Shell
60% said HIT (3 out of 5)
Reality: Opens this Friday, March 31
Kong: Skull Island
40% said HIT (2 out of 5)
Reality: BOMB (domestically, but raking in cash internationally)
20% said HIT (1 out of 5)
0% said HIT (0 out of 5)
Reality: Too early to tell, but likely a minor HIT
Score: 4 for 4 so far (but 2 still undetermined).