Franchises to Rule Again in 2012 (cont.)

by Ray Subers
Wrath of the Titans

January 3, 2012

<< continued from "Franchises to Rule Again in 2012"

Head Scratchers

Wrath of the Titans (March 30): The Clash of the Titans remake rode a wave of post-Avatar/Alice in Wonderland 3D enthusiasm to earn a massive $163.2 million in 2010. Thanks to a shoddy 3D conversion and half-baked plot and effects, Clash is largely reviled by audiences (it has a terrible 5.8 rating on IMDb), and the first trailer for Wrath makes the movie look like more of the same (and is lacking a showstopper like the appearance of the Kraken). Fortunately for Warner Bros., the first one did over $330 million, overseas, which is where the overwhelming majority of the sequel's earnings will likely come from as well.

Ghost Rider Spirit of Vengeance
(Feb. 17): Even though it made $115.8 million in 2007, the first Ghost Rider is consistently brought up as an example of what not to do when making a comic book adaptation (it also has an awful 5.2 rating on IMDb). Word out of Butt-Numb-A-Thon 13, where the sequel was screened, is that this installment is actually worse. Add in the fact that the career of star Nicolas Cage has become a punch line, and this movie already looks doomed.

(May 25): The second (and last) Men in Black movie made $190.4 million in 2002, but is largely reviled in comparison to its abundantly popular predecessor. The third movie comes a full decade later, and is star Will Smith's first movie since 2008's disappointing Seven Pounds ($70 million). It's unclear whether another Men in Black movie is something audiences are craving for, and the fact that the production was completely shut down for major rewrites isn't encouraging at all.

G.I. Joe: Retaliation
(June 29): G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra grossed $150.2 million in Summer 2009 but is largely considered a letdown by fans of the brand (it currently holds a 5.7 rating on IMDb). In order to combat the negative feelings about the first one, the sequel dumps most of the original cast and adds The Rock (who helped Fast Five) and Bruce Willis. Still, Summer 2012 has enough highly-anticipated sequels that this one seems likely to get lost in the mix.

Taken 2
(Oct. 5): The first Taken was a surprise hit, earning $145 million in early 2009 and turning Liam Neeson in to something of an action star. Neeson has been churning through that goodwill in the past few years, though, with movies like The A-Team and Unknown (which felt like a Taken sequel in its promotional material). Considering the specificity of the first movie (daughter gets kidnapped by faceless Eurotrash baddies), it's going to be tough to recreate that formula without some skepticism from audiences.

The Rest of the Pack
: Underworld Awakening (Jan. 20), Journey 2: The Mysterious Island (Feb. 10), American Reunion (April 6), Scary Movie 5 (April 20), Step Up 4 (July 27), Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days (Aug. 3), Resident Evil 5 (Sept. 14), The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3D (Oct. 5), Halloween 3D (Oct. 26), The Amityville Horror: The Lost Tapes (undated), Piranha 3DD (undated).

Some Prospective Franchises

John Carter
(March 9): Widely-reported rumors suggest the budget has ballooned past $250 million on Disney's John Carter, which is based on Edgar Rice Burroughs sci-fi book series John Carter of Mars. Unfortunately, reactions to the footage shown so far has been mixed as well, with unfavorable parallels being drawn to Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time and Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones. There's still time to turn things around, but this doesn't look poised to become the kind of mainstream success that makes a sequel a no-brainer.

The Hunger Games
(March 23): Based on Suzanne Collins's incredibly popular young adult book series, The Hunger Games aims to be the next Twilight, albeit with enough violence to have crossover appeal with young men. Distributor Lionsgate Entertainment actually already has sequel Catching Fire on the calendar for Nov. 22, 2013, though if the first entry tanks, the sequel can easily be cancelled. At this point, if The Hunger Games reaches the original Twilight's $192.8 millon it should be considered a massive success.

(May 18): As if the motivation wasn't clear enough already, the latest trailer for Battleship announces loud and clear that it's "From Hasbro The Company that Brought You Transformers". That franchise has generated over $1 billion in domestic coin (and another $1.6 billion in overseas cash), and Universal is surely hoping Battleship can get in on that a bit. Transformers was a natural extension of a popular existing brand, though, while Battleship is bizarrely translating a relatively straight-forward naval combat game in to an alien invasion movie. It's easy to see this being the first big-budget disappointment of Summer 2012.

The Amazing Spider-Man
(July 3): Just five years after Spider-Man 3 earned nearly $900 million worldwide but was still bad enough to kill the Sam Raimi-Tobey Maguire franchise, Sony is attempting to reboot the lucrative franchise with a whole new cast and crew. It's going to be tricky to get audiences out to see a retelling of Peter Parker's origin story with such a definitive version available from just 10 years ago, and that's compounded by the fact that the villain this time around is B-lister the Lizard instead of the Green Goblin. Still, rumors are that the movie is being made on the cheap, and, similar to The Hunger Games, The Amazing Spider-Man already has a sequel on the schedule (May 2,2014).

Related Stories
2012 Preview
Mixed Bag for 2011 Sequels
November Box Office Down Slightly
Box Office Slows in October
'Lion King' Leads Record-Breaking September
August Box Office Rises and Falls
July Breaks Box Office Record
June Sees Box Office Dip
May Posts Record Gross
April Sees Box Office Rebound

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DAILY: Friday Estimtes, 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' #1
WEEKLY: 'Coco' Tops the Week with $23.5m
DAILY: Thursday 12/14 (42 tracked)
DAILY: Wednesday, 12/13 (35 tracked)
DAILY: Tuesday, 12/12 (39 tracked)
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DAILY: Monday, 12/11 (40 tracked)
WEEKEND: Weekend Actuals, 'Coco' #1