Sunday, January 01, 2012

2012: More Fun at the Cinema

The leading entertainment story in the year-end post mortem of the movie biz is that the comic book movie doesn't have quite the box office power that it used to have. That's an odd sentiment for a year in which X-Men, Captain America, and Thor movies enjoyed good business (and sold a ton of merchandise on the way). But, the critics point out, those movies had solid openings but did not have lasting power.

If that's so, we'll have to see what happens this year. The fun starts early, in March, with Disney's adaptation of Edgar Rice Burrough's century-old science fantasy series JOHN CARTER OF MARS, which has boasted spectacular trailers. We'll get to see Christopher Nolan's final entry in his superb trilogy of Batman films, and find out if THE DARK KNIGHT RISES will have the same box office punch as 2008's THE DARK KNIGHT. We'll have a reboot of the Spider-Man franchise, and see if the new Andrew Garfield Spider-Man will do the boffo box office the Sam Raimi/Toby Maguire Spidey flicks did. And the summer will bring us THE AVENGERS, the first major superhero film to leverage Marvel Studio's ability to allow the various superheros that Marvel didn't license to other studios cross over into each others' films -- allowing us to see the movie Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Hulk, Black Widow, and Hawkeye all in one film. (By comparison, you won't see Wolverine, licensed to Fox, appearing in a Sony Spider-Man movie).

Are these movies following a trend whose time has passed? My prognostication is that once the cash starts rolling in on at least some of them, the naysayers will forget their nays. In any event, the films give us hope that this will be a fun year at the theater.

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