The summer blockbuster season has officially ended for the film industry, giving way to the fall season film slate that is always packed with Oscar-contenders and some blockbusters of its own. According to industry definitions, the summer seasons runs from the first Friday in May until the end of the Labor Day weekend. The fall season then begins the day after Labor Day and ends the Thursday before the first Friday of November. Hollywood is likely wishing the summer of 2013 never ended.
Despite the doom and gloom emitting from Hollywood in recent years, summer of 2013 was a prime time at the box office. Coming in higher-than-expected, the final box office take finished at $4.75 billion up over 8 percent from the $4.4 billion summer of 2011, which had been the most successful summer before this one. The year-to-date box office also broke the record at $7.67 billion, according to Variety, however total admissions were down 2 percent at $940 million.
However, what matters most for movie-goers is that the fall film season, and the holiday film season that follows soon after, often bring with them some of the most exciting features of the year. If you want to know what films are garnering the most buzz, movie trailers are always a good place to start. Here’s a list of the five the most buzzed-about movie trailers at the moment, some of which aren’t even set to be released until after the new year.
1. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire – November 22, 2013
With the kind of buzz Lionsgate’s (NYSE:LGF) The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is getting these days, the films looks poised to easily exceed the $700 million box office take of its predecessor, The Hunger Games, as it continues to gain momentum. According to The Hollywood Reporter’s “trailer report,” the first trailer for The Hunger Games: Catching Fire was viewed 7,514,471 times last week, more than seven times that of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug – the next film on THR’s list that hasn’t yet been released.
Based on the second novel of Suzanne Collins’ best-selling book series, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire stars Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, and Liam Hemsworth and follows Katniss Everdeen who, after returning home, is forced to enter the Hunger Games once again, which is this time pooled from victors of past games. Given Lawrence’s recent Oscar-winning performance in Silver Linings Playbook and her increasingly strong box office draw, the second film in the sci-fi series looks like it’s arriving just at the right time to break records.
Judging from the trailer, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire seeks to increase the scale of the original film, political intrigue, and action. Check out the film’s second trailer below.
2. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug – December 13, 2013
Warner Bros.’ (NYSE:TWX) and Peter Jackson’s second installment in The Hobbit trilogy, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, is another film that seems destined to piggy-back off the momentum of the previous film in the series, An Unexpected Journey. THR’s trailer report show 1,068,336 views last week, making it the second most-watched movie trailer for an unreleased film. That number is rather paltry compared to the kind of numbers that The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is generating, but expect buzz for The Desolation of Smaug to reach a fever pitch once a second trailer is released.
The Desolation of Smaug continues where it left off at the end of An Unexpected Journey as Bilbo Baggins, Gandalf, and thirteen dwarves travel to the lost dwarf kingdom of Erebor in order to reclaim it from Smaug the dragon. Critical reception for the first installment of the trilogy was fairly mixed. Most, if not all critics praised Jackson’s immense skill behind the film, but many found the pacing slow. The second installment, however, should be able to avoid many of the problems of the original film by placing the audience directly into the action from the get-go.
If the trailer’s any indication, it’s going to be an exciting ride. The Desolation of Smaug’s offers a visual feast of vibrant and exciting locations along with a whole lot of action. By the time you actually get a taste of the dragon Smaug at the very end, it’s just the icing on the cake. Here’s hoping The Desolation of Smaug brings Lord of the Rings back to its glory days.
3. Insidious: Chapter 2 – September 13, 2013
Of this list of buzzed about trailers, Insidious: Chapter 2 will be the first to reach audiences, debuting this Friday. Insidious: Chapter 2 is the second horror offering from director James Wan in the span of a few months — the first being Warner Bros.’ summer hit The Conjuring. Insidious: Chapter 2 begins where the first film left off as supernatural occurrences continue to occur after Josh Lambert brought his son Dalton back from the spirit world.
For director James Wan, a lot has happened since the release of Insidious. Made on a budget of $1.5 million, Insidious ended up grossing $97 worldwide — his next film, The Conjuring, made $259 million worldwide on a $20 million budget. With Insidious: Chapter 2 reported to have a budget of around $20 million, it will interesting to see how Wan will adjust the sequel to his newfound freedom, given the huge ambitions of the original film.
There’s a lot to be excited about here. If you want to enjoy a Friday the 13th double-feature with Insidious and Insidious: Chapter 2, some selected areas are offering just that.
4. 300: Rise of an Empire – March 7, 2014
300: Rise of an Empire’s first trailer might not have caused the excitement that the original did with the line, “This is Sparta!” but if the numbers are any indication, movie-goers are still keen on seeing the sequel to the 2007 action film 300. According to THR, the trailer for Rise of an Empire, which is produced by Legendary Pictures and distributed by Warner Bros., was viewed 973,086 times last week — and the film isn’t even set to be released until March 7.
The concept behind Rise of an Empire takes place before, during, and after the events of 300, rather than embodying a straight sequel or prequel. There aren’t a lot of details on the film as of yet, but the Rise of an Empire central story revolves around the Battle of Artemisium, a navel entanglement, setting up the film’s action sequences to starkly contrast with the original film’s on-land battles. The film is also expected to focus on the Battle of Salamis as well as how Xerxes became the “God King.”
It’s important to note that while Zack Snyder was the director responsible for 300, he is not returning to the director’s chair for the sequel, having been involved with Warner Bros.’ Man of Steel. He did, however, co-write the screenplay and serve as producer for the film, which is now being directed by Noam Murro. Although some of the players behind the film might be different, the trailer seems to reveal a film that should feel very familiar to fans of the first — packed with hyper-stylized shots and epic slow motion battle sequences, Warner Bros. is hoping that Rise of an Empire can rekindle the excitement and box office success of 300.
5. RoboCop – February 7, 2014
The recently released trailer for the reboot of RoboCop is garnering lots of buzz at the moment. The development of the RoboCop reboot goes as far back as 2008 when MGM flagged the franchise for future development. Then, in 2010, director Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan, The Wrestler) became attached to the project before being cut loose for Brazilian director José Padilha. Now the film is finally gearing up for release and the first trailer is giving hints that it might have been worth the wait.
RoboCop takes place in 2028 where multinational conglomerate OmniCorp is at the center of robotic technology, deciding to use their resources to aid police officer Alex Murphy after he is critically injured by a car bomb. The film stars Joel Kinnaman, Gary Oldman, Michael Keaton, and Samuel L. Jackson and is being jointly distributed by MGM and Columbia Pictures (NYSE:SNE). It represents a significant gamble for both studios given that the budget is reportedly $120 million.
If the trailer is any indication, the film might actually deliver on that sizable investment. For fans of the original series, the classic look of the original RoboCop is retained with a revamped black suit. Assuming the film is going for pure entertainment, the studios might be looking at the similarly rebooted action sci-fi film Dredd as a barometer for RoboCop’s success — both for the obvious visual comparisons and for the focus on pure action. While Dredd ended up being a disappointment financially, the film garnered a strong following and fans have been clamoring for a sequel. RoboCop looks like it could be as close as Dredd fans might get.
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