2010 Preview: Clash of the Titans
Release Date: April 2 (formerly March 26)

Studio: Warner Bros.

Genre: Fantasy

Director: Louis Letterier

Writer: Travis Beacham and Phil Hay & Matt Manfredi

Cast: Sam Worthington, Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Gemma Arterton, Danny Huston, Mads Mikkelsen

Studio Description: Born of a god but raised as a man, Perseus (Worthington) is helpless to save his family from Hades (Fiennes), vengeful god of the underworld. With nothing left to lose, Perseus volunteers to lead a dangerous mission to defeat Hades before he can seize power from Zeus (Neeson) and unleash hell on earth. Leading a daring band of warriors, Perseus sets off on a perilous journey deep into forbidden worlds. Battling unholy demons and fearsome beasts, he will only survive if he can accept his power as a god, defy his fate and create his own destiny.

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Analysis: The first Clash of the Titans, released in 1981, was a minor hit in its day, bringing in $41 million, or the equivalent of around $110 million when adjusted for ticket price inflation, but it was the success of 300 that no doubt inspired this remake. Sword-and-sandal epics were all the rage in Hollywood after Gladiator ($187 million) cleaned up in 2000, but the trend cooled with such subsequent disappointments as Kingdom of Heaven ($47 million), King Arthur ($51 million) and Alexander ($34 million) (though they still posted big numbers overseas). Then 300 came along, opening to $71 million in March 2007 on its way to $211 million.

The Clash of the Titans remake mirrors 300 with its March release and its historical fantasy approach. Replicating 300's box office may be difficult, though, as that movie uniquely combined the appeal of the sword-and-sandals genre with hyper-stylized comic book and horror elements and had a highly-focused, harrowing tale from history to boot.

On the other hand, Clash of the Titans is positioned as the big action event of March, particularly for young males, and it has the requisite spectacle in its marketing, including the promise of some crackling Kraken action, to generate significant interest on opening weekend. Also aiding Clash's profile is actor Sam Worthington (playing Perseus), who has shot to prominence in this type of picture after his lead roles in Terminator Salvation and, of course, Avatar. All told, expect Clash of the Titans' grosses to be closer to those of 300 than Kingdom of Heaven or King Arthur.

On a side note, Clash of the Titans is the second major feature of the year featuring characters from Greek mythology following the February launch of Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief, although the latter is more akin to Harry Potter in storyline and appeal.

Update: Feb. 2 - Warner Bros. officially pushed Clash of the Titans back a week from March 26 to April 2 and announced that it will be released in 3D. This provides one week of breathing room between it and How to Train a Dragon, which opens March 26 also in 3D, and pits Clash against the openings of The Last Song, Repo Men and Tyler Perry's Why Did I Get Married Too.

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Similar Movies: 300, Clash of the Titans (1981), Troy, Gladiator, Beowulf, The Scorpion King, Kingdom of Heaven, Alexander, King Arthur, Pathfinder

Related Charts: Sword and Sorcery, Showdown: Ancient Battle Showdown, Showdown: Sword-and-Sandal Showdown

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2010 Preview