We have Updated the List as per the current ratings, which are turning differently. There are some new websites included, this is the new list for year 2013. We hope our research turns out to be useful for you.
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But this thread is WIDE open to discussion. You checked out Marc Webb’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Some loved it! Some despised it. We’re giving you an open forum to discuss the movie with the freedom of spoilers!
If you haven’t seen Spidey’s sequel yet, run! This page is LOADED WITH SPOILERS. The rest of you can spend the weekend raving (or ranting) about our newest Spider-Man movie. And participate in our poll below, telling us how you thought The Amazing Spider-Man 2 turned out.
People like to think that Hollywood churns out hundreds of films each year simply to entertain movie-going audiences – but that’s just not the case. Sure, there are some independent filmmakers out there making movies for art’s sake, but every studio is the business of making movies for one primary reason – money. As we did in 2013, we’ve pulled 13 movies from the slate of films scheduled to release in 2014 that we feel are the Riskiest Box Office Bets. We’ll list the opening date – along with the estimated budget (if available) – and discuss why we believe the film could be fighting an uphill battle to be financially successful. Let’s get started…
The Legend of Hercules
Opens: 1/10 – Budget: $70M Most cinephiles recognize Renny Harlin as the director of mindless, fun action films such as Die Hard 2 as well as Deep Blue Sea and any action fan worth his salt knows how good Scott Atkins (Ninja) is as a martial arts/action actor. However, outside of Kellan Lutz, there aren’t really any “A-List” Hollywood names attached to The Legend of Hercules. It begs the question – why would Summit Entertainment spend $70M on a January action film? Maybe they’re hoping Lutz will bring in the Twilight crowd – though we can’t see middle-aged moms and love-struck teen girls lining up hours in advance just to see this at midnight.
Opens: 1/24 – Budget: $36M Unlike The Legend of Hercules, this film managed to snag great actors like Aaron Eckhart (The Dark Knight), Bill Nighy (About Time) and Miranda Otto (Return of the King) but even their combined acting talents may not be enough to overcome one of the most preposterous story lines we’ve read in a while. Much like the namesake for which the film is titled, I, Frankenstein seems to be patched together from the corpses of other action/horror films (despite its graphic novel source material) – Underworld, Van Helsing, Highlander, Hellboy, Constantine. Modern audiences have widly varying cinematic tastes and can usually spot a stinker from the first trailer – which means they could stay away from this film if they consider it be one.
Opens: 2/12 – Budget: $110M Skyfall and The Hobbit pulled MGM out of bankruptcy, so you’d think they would be leery of investing very large sums of money into risky movies – which is exactly what
RebootCop RoboCop has become. With big(gish) names like Keaton, Oldman, and Jackson attached to the feature, the studio probably assumed this reboot would be a “slam dunk” at the box office but most audiences members are either nostalgically cautious of the reboot or they’re too young to remember the original. A lot rides on how well the movie is received opening weekend – if it’s great, there could be a box office bump in week two – if not, then all is lost.
Opens: 2/21 – Budget: $100M The synopsis for Pompeii seems to be a cross betweenGladiator and 2012 – a slave becomes an accomplished warrior, falls in love with a woman he shouldn’t and battles to rescue her as Mount Vesuvius explodes around him. The heavy use of CG in this film is the obvious reason for its 9-figure budget – destroying an entire city isn’t cheap is it Man of Steel? – but with a virtual lack of “A-List” talent, will all that destruction-porn be enough to draw in an audience? Paul W. S. Anderson is the director of films that everyone pans but almost everyone watches anyway (Resident Evil, Death Race 2000). That fact, along with the fact that Pompeiiwon’t have much competition, could be its box office saving grace.
Need for Speed
Opens: 3/14 – Budget: $66M The best thing Need for Speed has going for it is the casting of Aaron Paul in the leading role, but even as he comes off a highly successful TV franchise – Breaking Bad saw 10 million people watch its finale – that may not be enough box office karma to overcome the film’s video game roots. Video game adaptations historically don’t do well domestically at the box office (see the complete list HERE) for a variety of reasons – typically the scripts are bad – but almost all of them do well overseas. Fortunately, Touchstone didn’t throw an insane amount of money at this project, so it could turn out to be a real box office gem for them.
Opens: 3/28 – Budget: $130M In Noah, acclaimed director Darren Aronofsky (The Wrestler) set forth on an ambitious project to turn one of the most debated stories in the Bible into a major motion picture. Even with Oscar-winning actor Russell Crowe at the helm of the ark this film has HUGE hurdles to overcome. The amount of backlash studios receive from fanboys over poor comic book adaptations is nothing compared to upsetting an entire religion if Hollywood – not exactly known for its strong Judeo-Christian roots – starts making drastic changes to Biblical stories. If Aronofsky takes too many liberties, the studio will likely feel the pinch at the box office collection plate.
Opens: 5/16 – Budget: $160M Warner Bros has a lot riding on director Gareth Edwards’ (Monsters) vision for arguably the most popular science fiction monster of all time – Godzilla. Sony’s horrid attempt in 1998 was financially successful but the film was so critically destroyed that a sequel was never even considered. Judging by coverage the film received at San Diego Comic Con in 2013 and the first trailer, Edwards appears to be on the fast track to success but will audiences be still interested with The Amazing Spider-Man 2 opening the week before and X-Men: Days of Future of Past opening the following week? The atomic lizard has a very loyal worldwide fan base, which could be what gets it over the opening weekend hump.
X-Men: Days of Future Past
Opens: 5/23 – Budget: $225M Even though X-Men: First Class received generally high marks from critics and audiences, it didn’t quite cover its production budget at domestic box office – needing the overseas market to turn a profit. X-Men: Days of Future Past is the most ambitious – and expensive – outing for Fox and the franchise yet. Though the film ranks number three on our Most Anticipated Films of 2014, the fact remains, that outside of fanboys, the audience required to recoup $250 million plus marketing costs just may not be there. There’s very little doubt the film will be successful but can it be a quarter of a billion dollars successful?
Opens: 7/18 – Budget: $200M (Rumored) The Wachowski siblings haven’t had a financially successful film since The Matrix Revolutions left theaters in 2003. Over the next 10 years, their cinematic offerings included Cloud Atlas (oof) and Speed Racer (double oof) – not exactly what you would call a “box office power house.” Still, Warner Bros liked their script pitch for Jupiter Ascending so much they not only green lit the project, but gave it a staggering $200 million budget – the Wachowski’s last two films only grossed $223 million…WORLD WIDE. Casting Mila Kunis could inadvertently mean the sci-fi film turns out to be a success, as her last six films have raked in $1.8 Billion in gross receipts – though that’s probably just a coincidence.
Guardians of the Galaxy
Opens: 8/1 – Budget: Unknown Marvel surprised everyone at Comic Con in 2012 when they announced one of their stranger comic series – Guardians of the Galaxy –would become a feature film. They surprised once more by announcing James Gunn would be directing their riskiest outing yet. Gunn is a talented director but Disney could regret allowing someone with no experience directing big budget films to helm the project if box office numbers aren’t stellar. One positive is how enthusiastic Gunn is towards the comic books, characters and story. The exact budget for the film hasn’t been released but it could easily be upwards of $150 million.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Opens: 8/8 – Budget: $125M The first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle film in 1990 grossed over $200 million on a $13.5 million investment, but that was during the height of the world’s love of everything Turtles. Fast forward 21 years, Nickelodeon Studios has a popular new TMNT animated series but for the most part, the frenzy has died down. Some argue making Michael Bay executive producer means he will do something crazy to the turtle canon (like once making them aliens) but typically the movies he is associated with make lots and LOTS of money. Anti-Bay fanatics aside, whether the world is still interested in Turtle power remains to be seen.
Opens: 10/17 – Budget: Unknown Most everyone is familiar with Dracula due to his being portrayed in cinema countless times over the years, but he’s never been given a proper origin story – Dracula Untold looks to correct that. While some films have touched upon how he came into existence, it’s usually as a smaller part of the larger story. This will be the first time his origins are actually explored (with a number of changes to the usual canon). The budget numbers haven’t been made public but rumor has it placed well above $100 million and time will tell if Gary Shore’s big screen directorial debut is a success. The supernatural origins of Vlad the Impaler as Dracula is definitely an intriguing concept but the film can’t be all teeth and no bite.
Opens: 12/12 – Budget: Unknown While the Biblical story of the Israelites escaping from Egyptian captivity has been told several times, the film will undoubtedly be compared to Cecil B. DeMille’s 1956 epic The Ten Commandments. Christian Bale is a fantastic actor but can he fill Charlton Heston’s sandals as Moses? Exodus will also need to overcome the same religious obstacles as Noah and in some ways, is connected at the box office hip to how Noah is received by Faith-based moviegoers. As revered as Ridley Scott is as a director in the film community, he hasn’t connected with American audiences at domestic box office hit since American Gangster in 2007. WithPrometheus, Robin Hood and The Counselor not performing at high levels, Scott needs this film to succeed.
The Riskiest Box Office Bets of 2014
Hopefully, most of these films meet or exceed our expectations and entertain audiences all year long but the cold reality is, some of them will most likely fall short. That’s the harsh truth of the world of cinema, it’s just a matter of seeing which ones fall the hardest or rise the highest. Which films do you think will struggle to find an audience and a profit in 2014? Follow me on Twitter – @MoviePaul – and tell me which movies you think could fail financially
Fans of Marvel films have come to expect a wealth of easter eggs, hidden references and comic book secrets packed into just about every story – and while Thor: The Dark World may have laid the foundation for the future of the movie universe more clearly than any before it, that doesn’t mean there weren’t subtle inclusions as well. They may be fewer than fans had seen in prior Phase Two film Iron Man 3, but those who loved the comic book source material of Thor – and have high hopes for Marvel’s future – will want to take note. Needless to say, there will be plenty of spoilers in our list ofThor: The Dark World Easter Eggs & Trivia, so read at your own risk.
The showdown between Thor and the unnamed rock monster that finally brings the Marauders to surrender was teased in one of the film’s first trailers, and was immediately one of the funnier end scenes to a Marvel trailer we can recall. But the enemy wasn’t just some random brute. That would be one of the ‘Stone Men from Saturn,’ the strange rock monsters that Thor fought in his very first appearance in print, “Journey into Mystery” #83. In the comic book fiction, the Stone Men – or Kronan– had come to Earth (not Vanaheim) from another realm, but holed up on Saturn in preparation of an attack.
One element of The Dark World that director Alan Taylor was keen on emphasizing was its connection to Viking heritage, meaning viewers got the chance to actually see Odin (Anthony Hopkins) overseeing his training armies, not confined to a throne room. It is in Odin’s first appearance that we see him taking an aside with one of his ravens, but fans will quickly tell you that they are not merely birds. Known as Huginn and Muninn, the pair of ravens flew throughout the Nine Realms to gather information for their king and reported back. They were relegated to mere perches on Odin’s throne in the firstThor, and present during the fight between Thor and Loki in The Avengers, so fans were treated to an even more prominent cameo in the sequel.
As is customary for most films based on Marvel heroes (with some notable exceptions), legendary comic book creator Stan Lee is given a brief cameo. When Dr. Erik Selvig (Stellan Skarsgård) is through giving his brilliant lecture in the confines of a psychiatric facility, it is Lee dressed as a patient who requests his shoe be returned. Unlike many before it, this cameo might actually slip by the average moviegoer, since – for a change – the joke he delivers actually lands perfectly in the scene, drawing more attention to the laugh than his inclusion. That shift toward subtlety might be sign of the times, since Lee’s original cameo in The Avengers was meant to be a similar throwaway one-liner directed at Steve Rogers (Chris Evans).
Lee’s cameo aside, viewers who were actually trying to keep up with Dr. Selvig’s ramblings (or simply looking at the chalkboard behind him) were treated to not just one, but several easter eggs that could have serious ramifications for the future of the Marvel movie universe. For starters, the brief phrase written over Selvig’s right shoulder: 616 Universe. For those unfamiliar with the comic book source material, Marvel Comics, like DC, has accepted that the majority of their superheroes exist in just one of several parallel universes. The name given to the one that Earthly audiences are used to seeing? Earth-616. Although the term is disliked by several Marvel executives – since Marvel has never explored more than a handful of ‘other Earths’ – its appearance here implies that Dr. Selvig is aware of Earth’s parallel incarnations.
The names Craig Kyle and Christopher Yost are well-known to the most die-hard fans; as the creators of the teenage female clone of Wolverine – dubbed ‘X-23’ – the creative team used that success to prove instrumental in major X-Men storylines like “Messiah Complex” and later, a new take on the X-Force team (which may be coming to theaters soon). Since then, the pair have ventured into other forms of medium – most notably Kyle acting as executive producer of The Dark World, and Yost providing the screenplay. Even so, the set-dressers haven’t overlooked the pair’s best work. Simply look to the upper-right corner of Dr. Selvig’s chalkboard for the simple equation ‘Kyle + Yost = X’.
It may be another case of Marvel simply trying to elate their fans with comic book references, but Dr. Selvig’s chalkboard also holds two potentially massive bombshells for the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Let’s begin with ‘The Fault.’ There may be some movie fans who have yet to hear of ‘The Inhumans,’ but that is certainly about to change. With Guardians of the Galaxy taking the MCU cosmic, there is a very real chance of seeing ‘The Fault’ – a tear in the universe with which Nova, Quasar, and the Guardians have tangled – before long. As for ‘The Crossroads,’ the concept features heavily in a Dr. Strange story in which the good doctor isolates the Hulk during a particularly fierce rampage. Whether these name drops are planting seeds for the future, or simply reassuring fans that the movies are still priorities for Marvel, only true fans will understand their significance.
One of the undisputed scene-stealers of The Dark World (as fans likely predicted) was Malekith’s most trusted lieutenant, Algrim the Strong (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) – or perhaps more accurately, the monstrosity known as ‘Kurse’ that he tranforms into. The filmmakers take serious liberties with the core source material of Kurse, making him just the last incarnation of ‘the Kursed’: a group of Dark Elves selected to absorb magical energy and become enormous beasts. But there was one shred of the character’s backstory alluded to on screen: his signature yellow and red horned helmet. Once the transformation takes hold the helmet is transformed into a much darker hide, but for a few short scenes the connection to the comics is visible.
Many moviegoers might have simply overlooked Loki’s parting words when telling a defeated enemy that he would “see him in Hell,” since the phrase has been used in countless action films. But some might wonder if the sentiment holds the same meaning when applied to Asgardians. As a matter of fact, it means something a little different. For starters, the Asgardian ‘Hel’ (or ‘Helheim’), located in the lowest realm of Niflheim is where Asgardians go once dead, but it isn’t saddled with the fire and brimstone of many religions. In Marvel Comics, Hel is ruled over by Hela, Loki’s daughter. So much like the use of the term ‘Death’ in The Avengers‘ mid-credits scene, the film’s writers found a way to at least pay tribute to the comic mythology, even if it won’t make it to the big screen.
As the Nine Realms begin to converge in the film’s final act, a number of portals are all visible at once. The presence of a world bathed in fire seem to make sense – surrounded by one of lush greenery, one of ice, and one of rock – but comic fans know that what’s being glimpsed is far more important than just a balance of elements. The fiery realm seen for just a few seconds is in fact Muspelheim, the home of Surtur and his army of Fire Demons. Standing over 1,000 feet tall, and capable of unleashing unstoppable attacks with his Sword of Doom, Surtur is as close to a walking apocalypse as you can get. With power even Thor can’t challenge, this tiny window into his world posed more of a risk than most will realize. Several Marvel executives and crew members have implied that Surtur and Muspelheim will play a role in the future, so if that’s the case, this simple nod foreshadows Thor’s greatest enemy.
We’ll forgive casual audiences for being somewhat confused by the mid-credits scene of The Dark World, paving the way for the cosmic storyline of Guardians of the Galaxywith little context. We’ve already provided a lengthy explanation of exactly what should be taken away from the brief scenes, but Marvel fans saw the foundation for the future being laid throughout the movie’s story. Beginning with Odin claiming that the mysterious Aether – the universe-altering substance wielded by Malekith – was a liquid, as opposed to a solid stone. The line is a clear sign that not only should the Aether be taken as one of Marvel’s ‘Infinity Gems,’ later referred to as ‘Infinity Stones,’ but that the movies are on a crash course with Thanos’ Infinity Gauntlet. It’s still hard to tell how many more changes Marvel will make for their cinematic universe, but expect to see more talk of gems, stones, and orbs coming throughout Phase Two.
The entire contents of the various racks and tanks belonging to The Collector (Benicio Del Toro) will take some serious time (and likely a home video release) to fully examine, since most objects are only seen for split seconds – with some early rumored collectibles debunked by other viewers. What does stand out among the various objects is the rather sizable tank containing what looks to be a large object of both organic and mechanical design. It’s been suggested that the item is in fact Adam Warlock’s famous cocoon, from which the troubled man was reborn with a new purpose, and an irrevocable link to the Soul Gem – set to play a major part in Marvel’s Cinematic Universe. So far, it’s hard to confirm whether the cocoon is in fact Warlock’s, since it isn’t visible in its entirety. But given Joss Whedon’s affection for the character, we wouldn’t be surprised to see Warlock emerge in the near future.
Those are all the odd bits of trivia and easter eggs we’ve spotted, and invite every Thor fan to add their own to the discussion. Given just how much time was put into building the set and numerous characters visible only in passing, we’re positive more will be discovered soon. If you haven’t already, be sure to check out: