2014 Predictions: New Talent Rises, 'Muppets,' 'Spider-Man' Sink
It's time to look ahead as this year's film season heats up. Who will win the year? Who will surprise? Let's get right to the calls from Sensei White Lotus.
1. Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part One Will Be Year's Biggest Grosser.
This over big box office challengers The Hobbit: There and Back Again, Maleficent and Transformers: Age 0f Extinction. The franchise's last installment, Hunger Games: Catching Fire, was very positively received by box office audiences, which will lead to a larger (possibly record-breaking) opening in November.
2. Muppets Most Wanted, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Will Lead Box Office Disappointments.
There's probably no sadder a story than The Muppets franchise right now. Despite a decent opening with The Muppets in 2011, the film faded very quickly at the box office. This leads to a lot of concern about the franchise's future. Turns out the film included numerous liberal talking points, topped off with a villain named Tex Richman. (No, I didn't make that name up; that was his actual name.) Talk about a missed opportunity. So A-list talent quickly shunned the sequel. The best they could do was cast progressive names like Tina Fey, whose Admission was one of last year's biggest box office duds. Muppets Most Wanted is also opening against one of the year's strongest films in Divergent. Prepare for lower results.
The news isn't much better for The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Such films are very expensive to produce and market. The newest version of the character has essentially re-written the entire concept away from the comic books on which it was based, which has led to a loss of the core following the film needs. Because of this, the film will struggle to even match the first Amazing Spider-Man's gross and will fail to reach its enormous costs.
3. Big Hero 6, Dolphin Tale 2, A Million Ways to Die in the West Will Lead Box Office Surprises.
Though not discussed, these films all feature great opening dates to take advantage of strong frames (based on my personal calculations), and they will post surprisingly high box office openings. Remember, you heard it here first.
4. New Talent to Have Very Strong Year.
With films 300: Rise of an Empire, Maleficent, Divergent, X-Men: Days of Future Past, and Dolphin Tale 2 set to open well, a lot of new talent will be joining current new talent heavyweight Jennifer Lawrence. This year will be the best start in decades for new faces and will create a noticeable shift in the industry. Emily Ratajkowski also joins the list with her appearances in Entourage and Gone Girl.
As for the rest...
Mark Wahlberg will become the industry's next big action star (after Transformers: Age of Extinction opens in June). True Detective will be nominated for countless Emmy Awards, including a nod for actor Matthew McConaughey, who will have a rare chance to win both an Oscar and Emmy back to back. Jimmy Fallon's ratings on The Tonight Show will drop to Conan-like levels before summer.
Those are Sensei's calls. Here's to a great year.