Tag Archive: movies

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.


I’m moving

My job is moving offices over the next two weeks and coupled with some big events I have to cover my posts will be very limited. My apologies to everyone!

Yep, Jim Carrey is one of the stars in the upcoming film “Kick-Ass 2”. But don’t expect to see him promoting the film. Carrey took to Twitter to criticize the film:

“I did Kickass a month b4 Sandy Hook and now in all good conscience I cannot support that level of violence,” Carrey wrote.  “My apologies to others involve with the film. I am not ashamed of it but recent events have caused a change in my heart.”

On one hand, I can understand his feelings, we all got a wake up call with Sandy Hook. On the other hand, here’s my issues. First, why did he wait until now? It’s been half a year and he didn’t seem it was fit to raise any concerns until now? Also, he seems to be implying that violence in movies leads to violence in real life. I beg to differ on that.

Mark Millar posted this response:

As you may know, Jim is a passionate advocate of gun-control and I respect both his politics and his opinion, but I’m baffled by this sudden announcement as nothing seen in this picture wasn’t in the screenplay eighteen months ago. Yes, the body-count is very high, but a movie called Kick-Ass 2 really has to do what it says on the tin. A sequel to the picture that gave us HIT-GIRL was always going to have some blood on the floor and this should have been no shock to a guy who enjoyed the first movie so much. My books are very hardcore, but the movies are adapted for a more mainstream audience and if you loved the tone of the first picture you’re going to eat this up with a big, giant spoon. Like Jim, I’m horrified by real-life violence (even though I’m Scottish), but Kick-Ass 2 isn’t a documentary. No actors were harmed in the making of this production! This is fiction and like Tarantino and Peckinpah, Scorcese and Eastwood, John Boorman, Oliver Stone and Chan-Wook Park, Kick-Ass avoids the usual bloodless body-count of most big summer pictures and focuses instead of the CONSEQUENCES of violence, whether it’s the ramifications for friends and family or, as we saw in the first movie, Kick-Ass spending six months in hospital after his first street altercation. Ironically, Jim’s character in Kick-Ass 2 is a Born-Again Christian and the big deal we made of the fact that he refuses to fire a gun is something he told us attracted him to the role in the first place.

“Kick-Ass 2” stars Chloe Grace Moretz, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Christopher Mintz-Plasse and more.

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

George Lucas (“Star Wars”) and Steven Spielberg (“War of the Worlds”, “Lincoln”) spoke at USC talking about the movie industry. And what they said wasn’t very encouraging to movie fans like me. As more and more studios make expensive, $200 million+  dollar blockbusters instead of smaller films, Spielberg said there will be  “an implosion where three or four or maybe even half a dozen of these mega-budgeted movies are going to go crashing into the ground.”

Lucas said going to the movies will be like going to a Broadway show, along with Broadway like prices of $150 or maybe even more.

“Everything else is going to look more like cable television on TiVo,” Lucas said.

That would be bad. I’m already nearly priced out of going to the movies as it is.

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

I’ve decided to write this for a couple of reasons. The first is to say thank you to everyone who reads this blog. I know I don’t update it as much as I used to, but I appreciate people coming back to it and leaving comments! I try and do my best and I hope that everyone is enjoying it.

I am writing to gauge the interest of a project I am considering doing. I am working through the developmental stages of a documentary, similar to “Side By Side” (with Keanu Reeves) but slightly different in topic. That documentary focused on the effects of the movie industry’s transition to digital on filmmakers, editors, colorists, etc. This will look at the effects of that transition on theaters in rural areas. The question of course comes down to funding. I have a plan of attack, a director who is interested in helping me film but lack sufficient funds. I was considering starting a Kickstarter campaign (Ironic I know for for those of you who read my column on movies using Kickstarter to fund itself). But I am trying to see first whether people would be interested in seeing this and/or if they would be willing to help out with that campaign. Please let me know in the comments or through email or by the poll! Thank you to everyone and I hope you continue to enjoy the site!

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

The National Organization of Theater Owners (NATO) wants to limit movie trailer times to two minutes. I understand the reasons they give, that movie fans complain trailers give away too much and to give exhibitors more control. But, you know, if you want to cut down on wasted time before movies, GET RID OF THE COMMERCIALS. The trailers are among the best parts and, as the six minute trailer for “Cloud Atlas” showed, sometimes you need a long trailer.

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

Roger Ebert

It was reviewing music and movies that got me started in journalism. I wrote reviews for the Green Bay Press Gazette when I was in middle school. At the time, my love of music and film was exploding to all new levels. Roger Ebert, of course, was well established. I watched his review shows with the late Gene Siskel, Richard Reoper and, most recently, his show on PBS. I read his reviews religiously. Today, with his death, the world not only loses a fantastic critic, whose style was both substantial in content, yet accessible for any reader, but also an icon in the film critic world. The word hero gets thrown around too much in today’s world. Roger Ebert was truly one of my heroes. I never had the chance to meet him, but he played a huge role in my desire to enter the world of journalism. The way he wrote, the way he carried himself on TV, it inspired me. When I began reviews, there was no question who I was looking to become. I wanted my reviews to be like his. Not that I was trying to copy his voice. But I wanted to become as respected as he was, to have my work read and watched by millions of people across the country. The great thing about reading and watching Ebert’s reviews was that he was never arrogant. He was never one of those critics who tried to act like he knew more than the rest of us. Or that he had the right to be snobbish because he was a “critic”.

Ebert’s reviews did more than help me decide what films to see and what ones to pass up. He increased my love of film substantially. I started noticing things I never had before. No longer was I just watching a film and taking in only what was at the surface, I started seeing deeper meanings and how powerful of a medium film could be to convey messages about society. As a critic, I always appreciated his ability to like films for what they were. He gave good reviews to the big, dumb, enjoyable action flick and the artsy indie film alike. He understood what a film was trying to do and appreciated when they succeeded. When he raved about a film…frankly…it became a film I had to check out. But as a film teacher, his reviews were invaluable. He’s the one critic I’ve followed through the years and because of that, I’ve been able to appreciate a lot of films that I wouldn’t have otherwise.

He also showed tremendous courage and bravery. In recent years, when he wasn’t writing reviews it was because he was battling cancer. Seeing recent photos of him can be difficult to look at. It was tragic that someone so famous for his TV review show could no longer use his voice. And yet, he marched on. Not once did I ever hear him say woe is me. Not once. What he did do was remain upbeat and came back strong with a new show and more reviews. No one would blame him if he had called it quits then. His health was bad and we’d all understand if he put his priorities elsewhere. But he kept going and gifted the world a few more of his reviews, right up to the final days of his life.

There will never be another Roger Ebert. In the film critic world, I can’t name a critic that even comes close to the respect and the notoriety that he received. For the talent he had in writing reviews, for the bravery he showed battling cancer and for the way he held himself up, Ebert was, and will always be, one of my journalistic heroes. And for that, I say thank you.

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

While I’ll be watching the San Francisco 49ers take on the Baltimore Ravens because of Colin Kaepernick, a player I covered in college, an added bonus is glimpses of a few of the year’s biggest blockbusters. Here’s a list (so far) of the films that will air teasers during the big game:

“Oz The Great and Powerful”

“Star Trek: Into Darkness”

“Fast Six”

“Iron Man 3”


“The Lone Ranger”.

Of this list, I think “Fast Six” and “Oz” have the most to prove to me. I’m a big fan of “Fast Five”, but I’m wary of the serious continuing. As for “Oz”, it just looks a little bit like background from “Alice in Wonderland” and just doesn’t excite me right now. Those two films in particular need to make a big impact for me to get excited about them.

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

My favorite films of 2012

Most of these films are in no particular order, but here are some of my favorite films of 2012.

“The Grey”: Whoever marketed this film should be fired. I came in expecting just another Liam Neeson action film. What I got was a surprisingly emotional and powerful film.

“Argo”: For my money, this film was leaps and bounds better than “The  Town”. Ben Affleck created a film that, even though I knew the ending coming in, was tense and exciting.

“Lincoln”: If I would have picked a film to be most over hyped coming into the year, it would have been this one. But Daniel Day-Lewis is amazing and Steven Spielberg directed a surprisingly entertaining and great film.

“Moonrise Kingdom”: The only comedy of the year that had me laughing the whole way through. Just see this one.

“Django Unchained”: Violent, funny and, in true Quentin Tarantino fashion, wildly entertaining, this one may not be his best, but it’s still fantastic.

“Seven Psychopaths”: Twisted, funny and it has Christopher Walken. Just see this one. It’s a real treat.

“Pitch Perfect”: Look, this isn’t going to win any Oscars or anything. But it was my biggest surprise of the year. Genuinely funny, great performances and just a lot of fun. Nothing wrong with that, right?

“The Hunger Games”: Why? Because for the first time a book that I’ve really liked other than Harry Potter” was made into a good movie. And that deserves to be recognized somehow.

And my favorite film of 2012 is…”Cloud Atlas”.

Yep, the love it or hate it film of the year, let me just say this. “Cloud Atlas” is unlike any other movie you’ll see. It’s powerful, emotional, funny, exciting, thrilling and it makes you stop and think. I know, a film that requires your attention and probably multiple viewings scares people, but this film is beyond amazing. This is, like “2001: A Space Odyssey” or “Blade Runner”, is a film that will be appreciated more and more as time goes on. Just do yourself a favor. Buy this movie. Watch it. You won’t regret it.

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

The weekend after Thanksgiving is never lucrative. Can either of the two new releases buck that trend?

The short answer is no. Which is too bad because one of the films opening this weekend is “Killing Them Softly”. The film sees Brad Pitt reteam with director Andrew Dominik (“The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford”). But there’s been a pretty subdued marketing campaign and, despite some real talent here, there’s just not much excitement.

Opening weekend: $8-10 million

“The Collection”, the sequel to “The Collector” which earned $7.5 million in 2009. Yes, they are released a film that earned less than $10 million. Anyways, I don’t think it’ll win any new fans and being released in about the same number of theaters means this will do about the same business.

Opening weekend: $2-4 million

The weak offering means “Skyfall” may be able to move back into the top spot over “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2”.

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