Spring has sprung, the grass is ris, I wonder where the good movies is. Spring is turning into a kind of mini-summer, with studios not afraid to roll out big releases trying to wring some extra cash out of the various spring breaks going on. Hell, we’ve got a major Marvel movie hitting the first weekend in April. That’d be an easy summer tent pole, but spring offers a less crowded market, and a chance to rule the roost unopposed and slap “The #1 Movie in America!” on every ad for a little while longer. Of course, it’ll probably be a matter of time before the summer movie season starts in March, but for now, it’s a welcome relief from the post-Christmas doldrums and a nice preview for the fury to come.
Yep, I really need to get started on my best-selling young adult dystopian novel series, because apparently that’s just a movie deal waiting to happen. We’ve gone through the Next Harry Potter phase and the Next Twilight phase, and now Divergent welcomes us to the Next Hunger Games phase. Thing is, I’d at least heard of The Hunger Games before that movie came out; Divergent was a complete blank to me until I saw the first trailer. And hey look, depressingly bleak authoritarian future, pretty young people caught up in it, rebelling against oppression, yawn If I wasn’t buying it when Jennifer Lawrence was selling it, I’m probably not buying it when Shailene Woodley is. And for a movie called Divergent, it sure sounds awfully familiar. But the books have a following, and they didn’t put those pretty young people in this for my benefit, so this will undoubtedly grab some eyeballs this weekend. Hitting Hunger Games-type numbers is pretty unlikely, but with a cost of only $85 million, it doesn’t really have to.
So you’d think the Muppets are this big box office phenomenon, right? I mean, we’ve had seven movies, they must have made a killing if we keep getting them. So imagine my surprise when I looked at the box office for the series and saw that the highest grossing film of the bunch was 2011’s The Muppets with just $88 million. The series as a whole hasn’t even cracked $300 million total. As beloved as the characters are, I could have sworn they’d be more of a force at the box office. True, their budgets have been ridiculously small — the benefit of having faceless puppeteers performing multiple roles that previously existed — but still, not what you’d call a blockbuster in the bunch. Which is my rather lengthy roundabout way of saying that while I think Muppets Most Wanted will win the weekend, I don’t expect huge numbers in the long run. The previous film seemed too ready to coast by on accumulated goodwill and happiness at seeing the characters back, so I’m not as excited for this one as I was for the last one. But dammit, it’s impossible to hate on the Muppets. So I’ll be there at some point this weekend.
Of course, you could also, you know, go outside and enjoy nature. Assuming all your snow has melted.