The fall movie season is finally upon us, which means we’ll be given a generous helping of new movie trailers as the Award season approaches. The movies making the most noise in the trailer circuit this week display a mix of everything from unapologetic action to smaller, historical dramas poised for Oscar success.
Here’a a list of five movie trailers making waves this week.
I, Frankenstein — Trailer #1 (Lionsgate)
The first trailer for Lionsgate’s (NYSE:LGF) action-thriller I, Frankenstein was the most-watched trailer last week, according to The Hollywood Reporter’s “Trailer Report,” with over 2 million views last week. From the producers of the popular Underworld franchise, I, Frankenstein tells the story of Frankenstein’s monster who becomes embroiled in a battle between immortal clans in an ancient city. The film stars Aaron Eckhart and Bill Nighy.
Set to be released on January 24, 2014, I, Frankenstein looks to emulate the success of Lionsgate’s popular and relatively successful Underworld franchise, which has so far totaled $458 million worldwide through the series’ four films beginning with 2003′s Underworld. The film is based on an unpublished graphic novel and original screenplay by Kevin Grevioux, the creator and screenwriter of the Underworld franchise, and looks to feature the same style of fantasy-action seen in his popular vampire series.
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug — Trailer #2 (Warner Bros.)
The second trailer for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug features a lot more action and more glimpses of the titular dragon Smaug. The newest trailer was viewed over 1.7 million times on YouTube in the past week and anticipation continues to grow for the next chapter in Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit trilogy. Warner Bros. (NYSE:TWX) is set to release The Desolation of Smaug on December 13, 2013, just in time for the holiday movie rush.
While the first film in The Hobbit trilogy, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, was not the critical success Warner Bros. had hoped for amidst controversy revolving around the film’s use of 48 frames-per-second photography, the studio would be hard-pressed to have any complaints. An Unexpected Journey brought in a worldwide total of $1.01 billion and if the buzz surrounding The Desolation of Smaug is any indication, the second chapter is likely to eclipse that number when it is released this holiday season.
Need For Speed — Trailer #1 (Walt Disney Co.)
Disney (NYSE:DIS) released the first trailer for its action-racing film Need For Speed on Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iTunes on September 25, 2013. Featuring the first high-profile role for actor Aaron Paul following the conclusion of AMC’s (NASDAQ:AMCX) Breaking Bad, Need For Speed follows street racer Tobey Marshall (Paul) as he sets off to race cross-country to get revenge on his longtime friend and partner after being released from prison for a crime he didn’t commit.
The first trailer for Disney’s Need For Speed received just over 1 million views last week, but it’s a little unclear how the film will perform when it’s released on March 14, 2014. Reception to the trailer has been mixed at best, making Disney’s $75 million investment in the film a risky endeavor given the studio’s recent high-profile misstep with The Lone Ranger.
The most positive outlook for the film is to compare the film’s prospects to Universal’s (NASDAQ:CMCSA) hugely successful Fast & Furious franchise, which has grossed $2.38 billion to date. The most recent film in Universal’s action-racing franchise, Fast & Furious 6, was the best performing in the series by far, making $238 million domestic and $788 million worldwide. Of course, given the fact that Universal’s Fast & Furious franchise dates back over a decade and has established a sizable fan-base, it isn’t likely that Disney will see those kinds of returns.
12 Years a Slave — Trailer #1 (Fox Searchlight)
12 Years a Slave isn’t likely to break any box office records, but the $20 million historical drama from Fox Searchlight (NASDAQ:FOXA) and visual artist-turned director Steve McQueen is likely to represent a good investment as the film continues to get strong Oscar-buzz. Based on the 1853 autobiography Twelve Years a Slave by Solomon Northup, the film features a star-studded cast featuring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Dano, and Brad Pitt.
Set to be released on October 18, 2013, critics who have seen it have lauded the film as the early front-runner for Best Picture at this year’s Oscars. If Twelve Years a Slave continues to dominate the Oscar-talk, the film could see a formidable box office push en route to the Academy Awards.
The Weinstein Brothers’ Lee Daniel’s The Butler, which is similarly a smaller historical drama, is probably a good comparison as to what Fox Searchlight can reasonable expect from Twelve Years a Slave if it were to perform strongly. The Butler, which cost $30 million, has made $112 million domestic as of this writing and made an impressive $1.2 million last weekend in its 8th week in theaters.
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty — Trailer #2 (20th Century Fox)
20th Century Fox’s The Secret Life of Walter Mitty represents a return to more dramatic material for actor-director Ben Stiller, whose last two films Tropic Thunder and Zoolander have become popular comedy mainstays. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is the second adaptation of James Thurber’s popular short story of the same name and tells the story of an office worker who lives inside fantasy worlds that must embark on a global journey when his job is threatened.
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is set to be released on Christmas Day and has received sizable buzz trailer-viewers. While the film doesn’t seem to be garnering the kind of critical buzz to make it a top-contender at this year’s Oscars, the film figures to be in the Award mix when the Academy Awards come around and is likely to be a sizable holiday hit at the movie theaters when it’s released.