Ever since I submitted my picks for Fletch's March to Box Office Madness 2011, I've been a bit obsessive about my progress. One could say I've gone 'mad' thinking about it. (Sorry, couldn't resist). This weekend marks a special milestone in the competition; the first official battle begins! That match-up is Scream 4 versus Fast Five. As the Iron Chef Chariman would shout, Battle: Needless Sequels! In honor of the official kick start to the action, I thought I'd take a minute to review why I selected my picks for Region A. My full bracket can be found here. Here's a complete list of the Region A contenders:
4. Scream 4 vs.5. Fast Five: With the waning of horror movies this past year, my guess is that Scream 4 was too little, too late to board the reboot-rejuvenate train. It did worry me that even the excruciating third installment managed to rake in a 90 million domestic dollars over ten years ago, but assuming most Scream fans are now too busy taking their chits to Rio, it's a safe bet part 4 will be lucky to match that decade-old figure.
Conversely, the Fast franchise has some sort of strange hold over audiences. Every installment featuring either Walker or Diesel has grossed $125-$150 million. Considering action flicks like Hanna and Source Code have (hopefully) run their course with the testosterone hungry man-boy crowd by Fast Five's opening weekend and your left with action audiences starved for fast cars, fast women and things that go boom. Sayonara Ghostface!
3. Green Lantern vs. 6. Larry Crowne: This was the most difficult match-up in the region. First off, Green Lantern looks like a luke-warm pig anus. Also, GL is a second-tier DC character with an insanely complex history that probably won't translate to the big screen. I have always thought it'd play much better as an ongoing TV series and my guess is the movie will prove me right. All that said, GL is still a superhero movie, and even a flop of a hero flick can pull in over $180 million. This earns anything over $200 million and execs at DC should publicly thank the American population for being such suckers.
Larry Crowne is a perfect storm of counter-blockbuster programming. Box office golden boy Tom Hanks playing an unemployed Average Joe trying to better himself via community college speaks to a broad audience. Throw in Julia Roberts as a love interest with a script by Greek Wedding writer Nia Vardalos and watch this puppy churn out a steady box office profit for months. It should reach $150 million without breaking a sweat, but I'm hoping the magnitude of suck of Green Lantern won't succumb to the inherent charisma of Larry Crowne.
2. X-Men: First Class vs. 7. Hanna: The X-Men franchise has been on a steady decline since Singer walked away from the helm back in 2006. Personally, I'm X-Men'd the fuck out and, aside from seeing how hot Jennifer Lawrence and January Jones look in their costumes, could care less about seeing this. Lame posters and trailers aren't helping their case, so I expect the franchise decline to continue landing them around the same $180 million as Green Lantern.
Hanna looked awesome from the trailers and having now seen it, can attest that it is. Still, the average American can't get down with a child slitting throats and snapping necks, so my guess is it will do good to creep over $50 million and thus lose to First Class.
2. X-Men: First Class vs. 3. Green Lantern: The two Region A superhero flicks will square off in Round 2 and, based on my estimates, have competitive box office numbers. At this point it's really a coin toss, but I gave the edge to Green Lantern for two reasons; freshness and core youth. It's a superhero that hasn't been run into the ground unlike the fifth installment of X-Men and will at least have that new movie smell to it. Also, so many kids and man-boys watched the Justice League animated series over the past decade that Green Lantern, at least the John Stewart version, should entice them out to theaters.
1. Harry Potter 7.2 vs. 5. Fast Five vs. 8. The Change-Up vs. 3. Green Lantern: This is a no-brainer. HP7.1 grossed nearly $300 million in domestic box office last year. That's the core audience who've stuck with the series for the duration and will also wrap things up in theaters. I wouldn't expect many new viewers at this point. The crazy long run-time will cut into the profits, but figure a slightly higher gross than last year to wrap the series.
There was no trailer available for The Change-Up before bracket submissions were due, but I can't see a body-switching comedy having Hangover magnitude appeal so, go Harry! As I mentioned earlier, Fast Five should cruise in to the tune of $150 million, but that's still less than half the horsepower Harry has. And spoilers people, but Voldemort with all his dark magic could never defeat Harry Potter, so what chance could Green Lantern and his silly little power ring possibly have?
There you have it; my thinking on how this region of March to Box Office Madness 2011 will play out. Agree? Disagree? I'd love to hear your take!
I intend to update my brackets weekly to keep myself and y'all abreast of my standings. The goal is to reclaim my previous glory. In between the weekly updates I will breakdown the remaining regions, so stay tuned for more madness!