Tag Archive: Ice Age

There’s nothing quite like the start of May. Yes, the movie release schedule has become much more varied in recent years, with blockbusters invading all parts of the calendar. But there’s nothing quite like the start of the summer movie season.

The moments before the summer movie season begins are among my most hopeful. The time when all the would-be blockbusters seem like they could surprise, entertain and wow us. When the hype, excitement and hope is at its highest point. When a quick look at the movie schedule over the next four months brings questions on just how am I going to see all these movies? As a movie fan, there are few times that rival the start of May.

What will this summer bring? Let’s take a quick look. Part one will look at Superhero films and animation. Part two will hit this weekend and look at big sequels and potential breakouts.

Superhero showdown

Possibly the biggest film of the summer will also be its first. “Captain America: Civil War” is essentially an Avengers film. And both of those can lay claim to two of the top five opening weekends of all time. The buzz has been high and the reviews have been strong. Add in seeing the appeal of Captain America (Chris Evans) and Iron Man (Tony Stark) face off, as well as several of the other heroes in the Marvel universe, and this is a slam dunk. Marvel can do no wrong so far and the hype on this one seems higher than even “Age of Ultron”. It won’t be “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”-type numbers, but it may be the highest Marvel opening ever.

Opening weekend: $210 million.

Total: $550 million.

“X-Men: Apocalypse” seems like it should be set to enter the upper echelon of franchises. Yet, “Days of Future Past”, which performed strongly with critics and holds a very strong rating on IMDB, topped out at $233 million, essentially tied with “The Last Stand”. Only one X-Men film has grossed more than $300 million: Deadpool.

Given this track record, it’s hard to see Apocalypse doing significantly better, even if this is a great film.

Opening weekend: $115-120 million (four-day).

Total: $240-250 million.

“Suicide Squad” will be among the most interesting to watch from a box office perspective. It’s being released in August, which normally isn’t a great time (though “Guardians of the Galaxy proved a film can thrive in this timeframe). Will Smith provides a huge name, though everyone remembers “After Earth” don’t we?

The biggest question is how, if at all, does “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice” affect this film. It is a connected universe, after all. And that film’s bad reception has caused a very different trailer to come out, one that makes the film look far lighter than all previous trailers. I wonder if that will dent this film’s long-term prospects.

Opening weekend: $85-95 million.

Total: $260-270 million.

Animation overload?

In a somewhat unusual situation, there could be a major animation overload this summer. “Finding Dory” will likely be the cream of the crop. Pixar unleashes a sequel to one of its most beloved films. It should improve significantly on “Finding Nemo” in terms of opening box office. The first film hit theaters with $70.5 million. This one should flirt with $100 million. The overall quality will determine its legs, though. “Toy Story 3” was great. “Monsters University” fell off rather quickly by Pixar standards.

Opening weekend: $90-100 million.

Total: $290-310 million.

I’m still not sure if I’m excited for “The Secret Life of Pets”. But thanks to a stellar marketing campaign, this one could be one of the summer’s breakout hits. The premise seems fun and one that, surprisingly, hasn’t been explored yet.

Opening weekend: $70-80 million.

Total: $230-270 million.

“The Angry Birds Movie” is one of those that could be hard to predict. I don’t know a single person who is excited for this film, but it should do well drawing the millions and millions of kids out to theaters. “The Lego Movie” taught us that films like this can surprise. But my guess is if “Finding Dory” is up to Pixar’s lofty standards, this one may struggle to find its audience.

Opening weekend: $35-45 million.

Total: $130-150 million.

“Ice Age: Collision Course” sees the band getting back together .. again. The series has had diminishing returns in the U.S. And coming hot on the heels of “The Secret Life of Pets”, this one smells bomb to me.

Opening weekend: $30-40 million.

Total: $110-130 million.


Here’s the teaser trailer for Disney Animation’s “Frozen”

They’ve had some success with films like “Tangled” and “Wreck-It Ralph”. This trailer seems to take a page out of the “Ice Age” playbook, however. The film features the voices of Kristen Bell, Jonathan Groff and Idina Menzel. It does seem weird, however, that Disney seems to be coming out with original films while Pixar is going back to what it’s already done (“Monsters University”).

Lukas Eggen can be reached at eggen.lukas@gmail.com.

Yep. Angry Birds is a fun game. Heck the Star Wars one was fun. But come on. A movie really? John Cohen, who produced “Despicable Me” is going to produce an “Angry Birds” film to be released in 2016. Cohen also worked on “Horton Hears a Who” and “Alvin and the Chipmunks” as well as the “Ice Age” films. So, I’m not exactly hopeful.

Lukas Eggen can be reached at eggen.lukas@gmail.com.

John Leguizamo, who voices Sid the Sloth in the Ice Age movies, is joining “Kick-Ass 2” and will play Red Mist’s (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) bodyguard. Leguizamo also has a small role in the upcoming film “The Counselor”, starring Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt, Cameron Diaz, Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz. That film is being directed by Ridley Scott.

“Kick-Ass 2” will also sees tars Aaron Johnson and Chloe Moretz return.

Lukas Eggen can be reached at eggen.lukas@gmail.com.

“Despicable Me” was a huge hit…big enough to warrant a sequel, “Despicable Me 2”. Featuring the voice of Steve Carell, the popular series is looking to continue its momentum with a spinoff coming in 2014. This really should be no surprise as these characters are probably the most popular part of that film. The minions are getting their own film. Brian Lynch (“Hop”) is writing the script while Kyle Bolda (“The Lorax”) and Pierre Coffin (“Despicable Me”) are set to direct.

“Despicable Me 2” hits theaters next summer and also features the voices of Kristen Wiig, Miranda Cosgrove, Russell Brand and Al Pacino.

This news does make me wonder whether this or a Scrat spin off would work better.

Lukas Eggen can be reached at eggen.lukas@gmail.com.

“Ice Age: Continental Drift” opened with $46 million this weekend, good for number one at the box office, but far lower than the previous animated hits “The Lorax”, “Brave” and “Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted”, all of which opened with at least $60 million. Still, it opened generally around the same amount as the third “Ice Age”, so that’s good news for that film. With no competition for family audiences, it should be able to hold well.

“The Amazing Spider-Man” dropped 44 percent to earn $35 million in its second weekend. It crossed the $200 million mark. “The Dark Knight Rises” is pretty much going to take all the winds out of Spidey’s sails, but the film, which stars Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone, should wind up in the $230-250 million range, a solid number for the reboot.

Lukas Eggen can be reached at eggen.lukas@gmail.com.

With “The Dark Knight Rises” looming, only one new film hits. How will “Ice Age: Continental Drift” fare?

The good news for Ice Age is that both “Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted” and “Brave” opened very strongly and both are headed to make more than $200 million. One has to wonder whether there’s room for another animated hit. However, “Despicable Me” overcame that in 2010 when that, “Toy Story 3” and “How to Train Your Dragon” all were smashing successes. However, HTTYD came out earlier in the spring, instead of having two other movies preceding it in the summer. Still, Ice Age movies have all made at least $175 million and each one has made more than its predecessor. that being said, “Shrek: Forever After” faltered, being the only other animated franchise to get a fourth film in the series. One does have to wonder if audiences will start to grow tired of the Ice Age series. The trailers seem to send mix messages, often focusing on Scrat, while others focus on the gang lost at sea, still others seem content advertising the new voice talent, including Jennifer Lopez and Drake. This movie will still make its money and, depending on word of mouth, can still reach $200 million. But, it’s not going to open quite as strongly.

Opening weekend: $50-52 million

Total box office gross: $180-185 million

Lukas Eggen can be reached at eggen.lukas@gmail.com.

Teaser trailer for “Epic”

20th Century Fox and Blue Sky have released the first trailer for “Epic”, an animated action-adventure hitting theaters next May.

The film features the voices of Beyonce Knowles, Colin Farrell, Josh Hutcherson, Amanda Seyfried, Johnny Knoxville, Aziz Ansari, Pitbull, Jason Sudeikis, Steven Tyler, Blake Anderson and Judah Friedlander. Looks interesting to me and it’s a pretty fun voice cast.

Lukas Eggen can be reached at eggen.lukas@gmail.com.

Pixar has had an almost unprecedented streak. Starting with “Toy Story” it churned out hit after hit that was not only commercially successful, but critical darlings as well. Then with “Cars” it started to change. It still made a ton of money and got positive reviews, but not to the same near-universal levels of other Pixar films. Then “Cars 2” hit which was its first movie this century not to hit the $200 million mark at the domestic box office and was its first certified rotten film on rotten tomatoes. It was also the first time since 2006 that it didn’t win best animated film at the Oscars (which was also the year the first “Cars” was released). Is Pixar on the downslide? Are other studios poised to take over? Or is this a minor speed bump in Pixar lore?

I realize that anyone would doubt a company after one film that wasn’t quite as popular or well received as the rest of them seems a bit strange. It is, in the end, a testament to the quality of films that Pixar has made. But, the decision to make “Cars 2” when pretty much no one wanted outside of a very limited age group proves that Pixar is not immune to merchandising money and a big money making project beyond just the film.

The problem is that Pixar isn’t the only big boy in town anymore. It’s facing stiffer competition than ever in the animated film world and while “Cars 2” was seen as a regression, these other studios seem to be improving and fast. Take Illumination Entertainment, which recently made “Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax”. It may not have been a critical darling, but its doing well at the box office, obviously striking a chord with families. Its track record has been hit or miss critically with “Despicable Me” being a commercial and critical hit and “Hop” earning more than $100 million but not really getting good reviews. Its path is similar to Pixar’s though. It’s using big name actors (Steve Carell, Russell Brand, Taylor Swift, etc.) to lend their voices to their films.

Don’t forget Dreamworks Animation. “Shrek” used to be the only hugely successful animated film not made by Pixar. But, as “Shrek” lost steam, Dreamworks has had some other huge hits as well. “Monsters vs. Aliens” didn’t get great reviews, but was successful. And, “How To Train Your Dragon”, which made more than $200 million, also received acclaim previously only seen on Pixar films (98 percent on rotten tomatoes). Even films like “Puss in Boots” were successful at the box office and critically in its own right as well as the “Kung Fu Panda” movies and even “Megamind”.

Blue Sky Studios has also gotten into the animation game. From its hugely successful “Ice Age” series to “Rio” it lacks the mega hits (aside from Ice Age) but has a pretty darn good track record at the box office. “Horton Hears a Who!” did well and the only one that they’ve done that really disappointed was “Robots”.

Is Pixar still the king of the animation world? Yes,  but there’s some cracks in its armor. Other studios are stepping up their games. And for Pixar, if “Brave” isn’t up to the usual Pixar standards, well, look for some serious ramifications at the box office. They aren’t the only game in town anymore and other studios are close to finding Pixar like success.

Lukas Eggen can be reached at eggen.lukas@gmail.com.