2012 is currently stream-rolling with past two assertive months and March 2012 looks like it will continue with a new elucidation. Not only are the movies rightly balanced over the month but all of the major wide releases have in their own ways authoratative presence over their target audience.
In the past March has been supported by big films and at times produced the biggest surpises of the year. While last year this Month wasn't able to register much still Rango, Battle Los-Angeles and Limitless lifted the bar and turned into respective hits over a troubled market. But 2010 was the year that showed the true potential of this month, Alice in Wonderland the first $1 billion grosser of the year and How to Train Your Dragon both finished in Top 10 displaying very good sustenance. Not only has this month been kind to family movies but films like 300, The Ring Two, Liar Liar have displayed tremendous staying power over variety of audience. In the past decade though attracting younger adults have been the strategy from studios due to spring break falling in this month.
While there are quite a few big names the most-anticipated movie is the book-to-movie adaptation of Suzanne Collins novel of the same title The Hunger Games. Similarities to Twilight are the most obvious and given the early pre-saled figures (It topped the highest first day sales record on Fandago beating none other than The Twilight Saga: Eclipse) the movies should have no troubles beating first Twilight's $69.6m. The cross-over appeal over men for the Oscar nominated Jennifer Lawrence starer drama is bigger because of the post-apocalyptic setup to a much matured storyline though Lionsgate's marketing hasn't really been trying to highlight that aspect. Regardless The Hunger Games is poised to have one of the biggest openings of March and mostly of the first three months of 2012, just how big is yet to be seen. Also attracting younger females is the first of the two Snow White movies this year Mirror Mirror. Distributed by still young Relativity the fantasy comedy was moved two weeks from its initial release date to avoid having aforementioned Lionsgate juggernaut in its second weekend but the marketing hasn't really been effective for the Julia Roberts-Lilly Collins showdown. This movie might attract very young girls and their families which might not help in sustaining power of The Hunger Games.
Talking about families, Universal brings the first "real" animated movie of the year in The Lorax. Having a starved audience is even better than anticipating audience as we saw last year with Gnomeo and Juliet specially for animated genre. Lorax comes from the creators of 2010's surprise hit Despicable Me marking the second movie adaption of Dr. Seuss' popular books the first being "Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears a Who!". While this story is not as popular or has the bigger names like the last installment it comes with a much better message and the previews have been quite successful thus far.
Among the fantasy genre we have the sequel to 2010's remake of Worldwide (domestic plus Overseas) hit Clash of the Titans (2010) in Wrath of the Titans. The reviews for the Sam Worthington-Liam Neeson-Ralph Fieness starer original were not kind and it was the first movie that made concerns over 3D prevelant. With 3D declining, nothing new promised over trailers plus loss of the biggest attraction of the franchise, Kraken in this installment will seize its expanding potential. Keeping its audience will depend on how it holds off pre-release competition over opening, even though competition in April is minimal movies attracting males often tend to fall harder after big openings. Males will also have a choice in the long-delayed big screen adaptation of Edgar Rice Burrough's Barsoom series John Carter. This novel series started 100 years ago is rumored to have influenced movies like Star Wars and Avatar but ironically it looks the other way around. Disney's marketing has been really agressive and the movie should do very well in Overseas because of the action packed trailers, still the budget is rumored close to $250 million and given the soft tracking in domestic market it will not turn up a big hit.
Targetting action crowd is Sony/Columbia's TV adaptation of buddy cop series 21 Jump Street with the same title. The genre in itself has not been very reliable with outright bombs like McGruber but the comedy style of 2010's The Other Guys turned out to be a decent success. The marketing has been focued on attracting teen crowd by selling college comedy and then some generic action, plus Jonah Hill with his first Oscar nomination and Channing Tatum with the breakout February hit in The Vow blends a healthy balance that can attract good crowd at this time. Paramount brings Eddie Murphy starer comedy A Thousand Words, currently selling it completely on his name. While Murphy has had sizeable hits last two years in Tower Heist and Shrek Forever After (which was still a big disappointment) his sole leading comedies like Imagine That and Meet Dave have turned out to be outright bombs and the last minute move does not bode well for its potential. Warner Bros. also try to attract the college teen crowd with Project X which is being sold completely as a party movie where things go wrong before the climax. The Todd Phillips produced movie is on paper the perfect choice for party people but it turns off virtually any other demographics, plus it is not guaranteed to bring all the teens to theaters who prefer to party rather than watch a pretense movie. Tracking has been soft but having spring break for college crowd will boost its potential.
Releasing semi-wide is Open Road Films remake of 2010's Uruguay haunting film of the same title Silent House. The only horror movie of the month will try to grab on teen audience before they scatter to much bigger and much anticipated movies. The Elisabeth Olsen starer sold as "single take" and haunted house movie might do well as shown by last months surprise hit The Woman in Black, but given the competition for teen crowd it might not reach levels of last year horror hit Insidious.
There are tons of platform and Limited releases this month the most anticipated being the CBS distributed Ewan McGregor-Emily Blunt starer Salmon Fishing in the Yemen based on the same named novel by Paul Torday. The buzz hasn't been as much expected right now but if it receives good reviews then it could turn into a decent hit. The only movie that has the biggest and hottest cast of all the limited releas this month is Friends with Kids featuring half the cast from last year's surpise hit Bridesmaids. Roadside Attractions should have pushed it wide straight away and given the positive reviews this could see a very heatlhy expansion. Focus Features brings Robert DeNiro starrer Being Flynn based on the book "Another Bullshit Night in the Suck City" by the film's protagonist and the real life novel writer Nick Flynn played by Paul Dano in the movie. DeNiro hasn't been very consistent recently at the box office and the early reviews aren't very kind, so this could be another missed oppotunity for him. Lionsgate brings Will Farell Spanish Comedy Casa De Mi Padre which is being sold as a westener-action type movie. It is right now a hit-or-miss case leaning more towards miss but Farell is well known for comedies so this might turn out to be a medium-sized hit.
Paramount Vintage brings Jason Segel-Ed Helms-Susan Sarandon starer Jeff, Who Lives at Home. Given the star-power the movie could turn out to be a decent success but Paramount's speciality department is not well-known for creating decent indie-hits. From IFC comes the end-of-the-world movie 4:44: Last Day on Earth, this being released in 2012 seems to be a good idea but the thought of end of the world in 2012 is subsiding down and the movies selling point Williem Dafoe is not known for leading movies specially the ones in limited release. Releasing over Video-on-Demand and in some Foreign Terrotories prior to its domestic theaterical release is Magnolia's Sports Comedy Goon starring Seann William Scott and Jay Baruchel. The reviews have been good but the release pattern does not really give a good chance to Magnolia for expansion. Sony Picutres Classics bring the The Raid: Redemption an Indonesian actioner about soldiers trapped in a 30 storey building. The trailers have been good and the reviews are really good but the movies fate will still fall on marketing and the language barrier might subdue its potential.
March 2011 made $682.3 million finishing up as the lowest ranked agreegated month dipping an alarming 18% from 2010 when Alice in Wonderland came out as the biggest opening weekend of the month. Rango and Battle: Los Angeles lead last year but it was good staying power of movies like The Adjustment Bureau, Limitless, The Lincoln Lawyer that gave hopes to an otherwise forgettable month. This year we have much bigger names and even though the number of wide releases is less their own strengths are much greater pointing to a record-breking March. Lookout for my next edition Movies 2012 - April