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December 31 2016

The Movies of 2017 – 1st Quarter

Welcome to the first of four parts of an analysis of every major film release of 2017.

Following up on last year’s project, I’m back with a look at the films of 2017. And as usual, I will be breaking it down by quarters and then an overall review. The change this year, however, is they will not be all coming out in one week. I realized I was doing a disservice to the films later in the year, so this year will work as follows:

There are some clear, “What in the world were they thinking?” projects coming out this year, and there are some that I think will surprise all of us.

Hopefully you enjoy this as it is a huge undertaking each year, but one I enjoy doing.

Please note that titles and release dates can change at any time, none of these are written in stone.

January

Underworld: Blood Wars

Release Date: January 6, 2017

Vampire death dealer Selene (Kate Beckinsale) continues her struggle against the Lycan clan and the Vampire faction that betrayed her, with both sides trying to use the blood of her and her daughter to become Vampire-Corvinus hybrids. After hiding her daughter, Selene, David (Theo James) and his father Thomas (Charles Dance), attempt to end the eternal war between Lycans and Vampires, though Selene must take a risk that may cost her her life.

Analysis: Advanced reviews are not good. Don’t expect much out of this.

The Bye Bye Man

Three college students move into an old, off-campus house, where they find themselves hunted by a supernatural entity called The Bye Bye Man who may be responsible for possessing various people and causing them to commit killing sprees throughout recent history.

Analysis: Should do okay even though it feels like Candyman and the Slender Man had a child.

Release Date: January 13, 2017

Monster Trucks

Release Date: January 13, 2017

Looking for any way to get away from the life and town he was born into, Tripp, a high school senior, builds a Monster Truck from bits and pieces of scrapped cars. After an accident at a nearby oil-drilling site displaces a strange and subterranean creature with a taste and a talent for speed, Tripp may have just found the key to getting out of town and a most unlikely friend.

Analysis: Do I really need to even comment?

Sleepless

Release Date: January 13, 2017

A police detective with a connection to the criminal underground finds his secret life exposed when he and his partner are caught stealing cocaine from a powerful drug lord, a move that puts his son’s life in danger.

Analysis: Should do decently, but it isn’t going to set the box office on fire.

The Founder

Release Date: January 20, 2017

The true story of how Ray Kroc (Michael Keaton) maneuvered himself into a position to buy the 1950s burger operation of Mac and Dick McDonald and create a billion-dollar fast food empire.

Analysis: It’s doing well in its limited release with decent reviews, and with a budget of $7M it should do fine.

The Resurrection of Gavin Stone

Release Date: January 20, 2017

A former child star, now a washed up celebrity, pretends to be a person of faith so he can portray Jesus in a passion play being produced by a megachurch.

Analysis: Another comedy about a washed up child star. These never do well.

Split

Release Date: January 20, 2017

Kevin (James McAvoy), a man with 23 different personalities, abducts three teenage girls. As the girls are held captive and attempt to escape, they begin to meet the various personalities that reside within their captor, including a sophisticated woman and a nine-year old boy. The nightmare truly begins when Kevin’s 24th personality, an entity known as the “Beast”, begins to materialize.

Analysis: Written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan. Yeah… I’m out.

xXx: The Return of Xander Cage

Release Date: January 20, 2017

Extreme athlete turned government operative Xander Cage (Vin Diesel), thought to be long dead, comes out of self-imposed exile to race villain Xiang (Donnie Yen) to recover a powerful weapon known as “Pandora’s Box”. Recruiting a group of thrill-seeking cohorts, Xander finds himself caught up in a deadly conspiracy of corruption among world governments.

Analysis: Outside of the Fast and Furious franchise, Vin Diesel hasn’t been too successful as of late. Add in a huge budget and I don’t expect much from it.

Bastards

Release Date: January 27, 2017

Two brothers learn their father did not die when they were young, as they had previously believed. And go on a road trip across America to find him.

Analysis: Comedies are probably the hardest films to predict. No way to know how this will go.

A Dog’s Purpose

Release Date: January 27, 2017

A devoted dog (Josh Gad) discovers the meaning of its own existence by showing humans how to laugh and love over the course of several lifetimes.

Analysis: Animal movie. I can’t even watch the trailer. You judge it.

Gold

Release Date: January 27, 2017

Kenny Wells (Matthew McConaughey), an unlucky businessman, teams up with geologist Michael Acosta (Édgar Ramírez) to find gold deep in the uncharted jungles of Indonesia.

Analysis: Looks entertaining, but doubt it will do large numbers.

Resident Evil: The Final Chapter

Release Date: January 27, 2017

Picking up immediately after the events in Resident Evil: Retribution, humanity is on its last legs after Alice is betrayed by Wesker in Washington D.C. As the only survivor of what was meant to be humanity’s final stand against the undead hordes, Alice must return to where the nightmare began – Raccoon City, where the Umbrella Corporation is gathering its forces for a final strike against the only remaining survivors of the apocalypse. In a race against time Alice will join forces with old friends, and an unlikely ally, in an action packed battle with undead hordes and new mutant monsters. Between losing her superhuman abilities and Umbrella’s impending attack, this will be Alice’s most difficult adventure as she fights to save humanity, which is on the brink of oblivion.

Analysis: These films have their audience, but they really don’t go beyond that.

February

Rings

Release Date: February 3, 2017

Julia (Matilda Lutz) becomes worried about her boyfriend Holt (Alex Roe) when he explores the dark urban legend of a mysterious videotape said to kill the watcher seven days after viewing. She sacrifices herself to save her boyfriend and in doing so makes a horrifying discovery: There is a “movie within the movie” that no one has ever seen before…

Analysis: This film has been in development forever, but it feels like it’s ay too late.

Same Kind of Different as Me

Release Date: February 3, 2017

International art dealer Ron Hall (Greg Kinnear) befriends a homeless man (Djimon Hounsou) to save his struggling marriage to Deborah (Renée Zellweger), a woman whose dreams will lead all three of them.

Analysis: It’ll do quiet numbers, nothing more.

The Space Between Us

Release Date: February 3, 2017

The first human born on Mars, whose astronaut mother was discovered pregnant on the voyage (carried out by the Space Launch System) and died in childbirth because of Mars’ gravity, travels to Earth for the first time, experiencing the wonders of the planet through fresh eyes. He embarks on an adventure with a street smart girl that he video chatted with while on Mars, to discover how he came to be, and they fall in love. At the same time, other members of the space program race to return him to Mars due to his body not being used to Earth’s environment, thus putting his life in danger.

Analysis: Intriguing concept. Really not sure how it will do, but I know I’ll watch it at some point.

Fifty Shades Darker

Release Date: February 10, 2017

Following the events of Fifty Shades of Grey, Anastasia “Ana” Steele tries to move on from her relationship with Christian Grey. A wounded Christian convinces her to resume their romance under Ana’s conditions. As the couple begins their normal relationship, Christian’s past threatens to tear the couple apart.

Analysis: The first film did well, but who knows how the second will do. I think the excitement is off this series.

John Wick: Chapter 2

Release Date: February 10, 2017

Legendary hitman John Wick is forced back out of retirement by a former associate plotting to seize control of a shadowy international assassins’ guild. Bound by a blood oath to help him, John travels to Rome, where he squares off against some of the world’s deadliest killers.

Analysis: The first film didn’t crack $100M off of a $20M budget, but it has been a huge success on home video. Expect this to do well.

The LEGO Batman Movie

Release Date: February 10, 2017

Batman goes on a personal journey to find himself and learn the importance of teamwork and friendship in hopes to save Gotham City from The Joker’s hostile takeover.

Analysis: The LEGO Movie was a huge success, and Batman stole the film. This should do well.

A Cure for Wellness

Release Date: February 17, 2017

An ambitious young executive is sent to retrieve his company’s CEO from an idyllic but mysterious “wellness center” at a remote location in the Swiss Alps. He soon suspects that the spa’s miraculous treatments are not what they seem. When he begins to unravel its terrifying secrets, his sanity is tested, as he finds himself diagnosed with the same curious illness that keeps all the guests there longing for the cure.

Analysis: It certainly looks odd. Don’t expect much from it at the box office.

Fist Fight

Release Date: February 17, 2017

After high school teacher Andy Campbell accidentally gets his colleague Ron Strickland fired, Strickland challenges him to an after school fight.

Analysis: Fighting teachers… not sure what this will do really.

The Great Wall

Release Date: February 17, 2017

In the battle for humanity, an elite force makes a heroic stand atop the Great Wall of China to combat an army of monsters. The monster is identified as the Taotie, a beast of great greed from ancient Chinese mythology. A horde of monsters creep up on the wall every 60 years forcing the army to defend it.

Analysis: Monsters attacking the Great Wall of China? Sure. Why not. (I kid, this sounds so silly.)

Patient Zero

Release Date: February 17, 2017

After a pandemic outbreak, a mutated form of rabies results in most humans being turned into a highly intelligent new species known as “The Infected”: a human survivor, Morgan (Matt Smith), with the ability to talk with the “infected,” investigates these species and pursues “Patient Zero” to find an antidote to save humanity, including his infected wife. Aiding Morgan on the mission to find Patient Zero is CDC virologist Dr. Gina Rose (Natalie Dormer), leading the scientific research efforts, while Colonel Knox (Clive Standen) is in charge of the military front.

Analysis: This sounds more like a TV series than a one-off film.

Get Out

Release Date: February 24, 2017

A young black American man visits his white girlfriend’s family estate where he learns that many of its residents, who are black, have gone missing, and he soon learns the horrible truth when another frantic African-American warns him to “get out”. He soon learns this is easier said than done.

Analysis: Low-budget horror. It will do well.

Rock Dog

Release Date: February 24, 2017

Bodi, a wide-eyed Tibetan Mastiff, is expected to become the next village guard to a group of fun-loving, country-side sheep, but fears he doesn’t have the passion to assume the role from his dad, Khampa. Everything changes when a radio literally falls out of the sky and Bodi hears a song by rock legend Angus Scattergood, opening his heart to a musical world he must explore.

Leaving home to chase his destiny in the big city, Bodi attracts the attention of Khampa’s nemesis, Linnux. Leader of a hungry wolf pack, Linnux believes that Bodi is his ticket back into the village and closer to delicious sheep. It is up to Bodi to save his family and friends from harm without giving up his newfound dream.

Analysis: Animated films are either hit or miss, this looks like a miss.

March

Before I Fall

Release Date: March 3, 2017

The novel begins when the protagonist, 17-year-old Samantha “Sam” Kingston, is killed in a car accident in her hometown of Ridgeview. She vividly describes her horrifying and painful death, and what flashes through her mind in those final seconds. However, she wakes up the following morning in bed, heart pounding and bathed in sweat, with the memory of her demise still fresh in her mind. Gradually, she realizes that for some reason, she is fated to relive the last day of her life, Friday, February 12, over and over, until she gets things right.

Throughout the week, Samantha, who seemingly had it all – popularity, an oft-desired boyfriend, and surface-level happiness – must examine what’s really important in her “Mean Girls” life, in which she and her snobby, wealthy friends – Lindsay (the ringleader), Ally and Elody – made life miserable for underclassmen and social misfits, a life in which all that seems to matter is social status, clothes, boys, drinking and sex.

Through this “Groundhog Day” phenomenon, Sam experiences all five stages of grief. Denial is seen as she tries to evade her fate; she gets angry and rebels, lashing out at her friends (particularly Lindsay) and hanging out with students she would never dare be seen speaking with; she bargains with God, or fate, believing that if she can make things right, she can save her own life; depression, in which she feels that nothing even matters and where in she begins acting uncharacteristically recklessly; and finally, acceptance. The Sam who accepts her death – but only if she’s able to save the life of her friends’ prime target – is a very different character from the girl on the first page of the book.

Analysis: Sounds intriguing, but I wouldn’t expect it to do huge numbers.

Logan

Release Date: March 3, 2017

Years after the epilogue of X-Men: Days of Future Past, some of the last mutants, an aging Logan—whose healing factor is starting to fail—and Charles Xavier, protect a young girl named Laura who is very similar to Logan, and is being hunted by sinister forces.

Analysis: With this set to be Hugh Jackman’s last turn as Wolverine, it will probably do well.

The Shack

Release Date: March 3, 2017

After his young daughter is murdered during a family camping trip, Mack Phillips spirals into a deep depression causing him to question his innermost beliefs. Facing a crisis of faith, he receives a mysterious letter urging him to the shack where her body was found, deep in the Oregon wilderness. Despite his doubts, Mack goes there and encounters an enigmatic trio of strangers led by a woman named Papa. Through this meeting, Mack finds important truths that will transform his understanding of his tragedy and change his life forever.

Analysis: Will be a modest hit.

Kong: Skull Island

Release Date: March 10, 2017

In the 1970s, a team of explorers and soldiers are brought together to venture deep into an uncharted island in the Pacific—as beautiful as it is treacherous—unaware that they are crossing into the domain of monsters, as well as the mythic Kong, the so-called “king” of the island.

Analysis: I’m just not convinced we need this, but I have no clue how it will perform.

The Wall

Release Date: March 10, 2017

Two American soldiers (Aaron Taylor-Johnson, and John Cena) are trapped by a lethal Iraqi sniper, with only an unsteady wall between them.

Analysis: Soldier movies tend to do well. Add in John Cena and it’ll be a modest hit.

Beauty and the Beast

Release Date: March 17, 2017

Belle is a young woman who is taken prisoner by a Beast in his castle in exchange for the freedom of her father Maurice. Despite her fears, she befriends the castle’s enchanted staff and learns to look beyond the Beast’s exterior to recognize the true heart and soul of the human Prince within just as a hunter named Gaston is on the loose to take Belle for himself and hunt down the Beast at any cost.

Analysis: I’m just going to call this one to cross $1B global right now. I don’t see how it can’t.

The Belko Experiment

Release Date: March 17, 2017

In a dark social experiment, a group of 80 Americans are locked in their high-rise corporate office in Bogota, Colombia and ordered by an unknown voice coming from the company’s intercom system to participate in a deadly game of kill or be killed.

Analysis: Written by James Gunn, it won’t do much at the box office, but it looks interesting.

Free Fire

Release Date: March 17, 2017

When a gang of criminals meet up in a warehouse in order to purchase arms, a disagreement turns into a full-on shootout between the two parties making the transaction.

Analysis: I really have no clue what to say about this one other than I want to see it.

CHiPs

Release Date: March 24, 2017

Analysis: No synopsis at the time of writing or a trailer. Seems odd.

Life

Release Date: March 24, 2017

The six-member crew of the International Space Station is tasked with studying a sample from Mars that may be the first proof of extra-terrestrial life, but which proves to be more intelligent than expected.

Analysis: Doesn’t seem overly original, but it has a good cast.

Power Rangers

Release Date: March 24, 2017

Five troubled teenage student outcasts – Zack, Kimberly, Billy, Trini, and Jason – become the Power Rangers after learning that their town of Angel Grove and the world itself are threatened by Rita Repulsa and her alien forces.

Analysis: Seeing as this is planned to be the first film in a new series, it better do well.

The Boss Baby

Release Date: March 31, 2017

He wears a suit, speaks with the voice and wit of Alec Baldwin, and stars in the animated comedy, DreamWorks’ THE BOSS BABY. THE BOSS BABY is a hilariously universal story about how a new baby’s arrival impacts a family, told from the point of view of a delightfully unreliable narrator, a wildly imaginative 7 year old named Tim.

Analysis:I really don’t know how this one will do. As I’ve said elsewhere, animated features or a hit or miss prospect, and this one just isn’t gilling me with excitement.

Ghost in the Shell

Release Date: March 31, 2017

Major, a special ops, one-of-a-kind human-cyborg hybrid, who leads the elite task force Section 9. Devoted to stopping the most dangerous criminals and extremists, Section 9 is faced with an enemy whose singular goal is to wipe out Hanka Robotic’s advancements in cyber technology.

Analysis: It will do some box office, but how much is anyone’s guess. It’s an odd story, and the trailer makes it appear they haven’t changed too much of that for American audiences. Will be watching this one closely.

Step Sisters

Release Date: March 31, 2017

Analysis: I can find absolutely nothing about this film, so… yeah. Guess away.

The Zookeeper’s Wife

Release Date: March 31, 2017

The real-life story of one working wife and mother who became a hero to hundreds during World War II. In 1939 Poland, Antonina ?abi?ska (portrayed by two-time Academy Award nominee Jessica Chastain) and her husband, Dr. Jan ?abi?ski (Johan Heldenbergh of “The Broken Circle Breakdown”), have the Warsaw Zoo flourishing under his stewardship and her care. When their country is invaded by the Nazis, Jan and Antonina are stunned – and forced to report to the Reich’s newly appointed chief zoologist, Lutz Heck (Daniel Brühl of “Captain America: Civil War”). To fight back on their own terms, Antonina and Jan covertly begin working with the Resistance – and put into action plans to save lives out of what has become the Warsaw Ghetto, with Antonina putting herself and even her children at great risk.

Analysis: Won’t be a huge financial hit, but it’s going to do well with critics I predict.



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