5. Can Old Dogs Sell New Tickets?It was fun watching our favorite veteran (read: aging) action stars re-unite in The Expendables and Expendables 2 - but 2013 will see stars like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sly Stallone once again headlining action flicks, trying to reclaim what is arguably expired glory. Schwarzenegger's comeback vehicle The Last Stand had an abysmal box office debut; Sly's new film Bullet to the Head is coming in the dead of winter, and big returns seem unlikely. Arnold and Sly might see more traction for their team-up film The Tomb (out this fall) - but the question remains: Can these old dogs still conquer the box office in the era of Fast and the Furious and Bourne? Even Bruce Willis' enduring reputation as an action man might get a bit of a test this year, as he has Die Hard 5, G.I. Joe 2 and Red 2 all on the docket for 2013.
4. Is This Horror's Money Year?The horror genre is the only case I know of (besides crack/cocaine) where people will line up time and again for what is, 9 times out of 10, an unsatisfying experience. While this year will offer some standard horror sequels - Last Exorcism Part 2, Paranormal Activity 5, Insidious 2 - there will also be some promising tentpole horror flicks headed our way. Mama is leading the year in horror with a big box office win for Guillermo del Toro; Insidious director James Wan impressed New York Comic Con 2012 with his upcoming flick The Conjuring; and the Evil Dead remake has overcome massive hate with a sick red-band trailer. Between bankable "crack horror" films and quality breakout hits, horror could do big sales at the 2013 box office.
3. Will Sci-Fi Beat Superheroes?This is is something of a holdover from last year, but it's still relevant now. Sci-fi and superhero blockbusters are earning the big bucks at the box office these days, but in 2012, it was superhero event films like The Avengers and Dark Knight Rises that raked in the prime dough. This year, though, superhero films are going to be more standard in format (read: not team-ups or trilogy finales), while sci-fi has some potential breakouts on its roster. Sure, Tom Cruise may not lead Oblivion to big bank (if Jack Reacher is any proof); and M. Night Shyamalan has a lot to prove with After Earth. However, Star Trek 2, Pacific Rim and Elysium (from District 9 director Neil Blomkamp) are all pretty good bets, and films like Alfonso Cuarón's Gravity could nab some critical (awards?) acclaim for the genre, as well.
2. Can Marvel Keep the Magic After 'Avengers'?Marvel struck billion-dollar (+) box office gold with The Avengers; solidified their brand in the minds of legions of kids; and changed the way movie studios are building and cross-promoting their franchises. But as many will tell you, the sophomore effort can be the killer. "Phase Two" of Marvel's cinematic universe is officially underway, and 2013 will introduce the company's first second-act challenge: making solo films that are as satisfying as the team-up event films. With writer/director Shane Black (Lethal Weapon) handling Iron Man 3, and Game of Thrones director Alan Taylor crafting a more gritty Thor: The Dark World, Marvel Studios isn't short on talent - but will the love shown to Avengers translate into higher box office grosses for these solo efforts?
1. Will DC Get a Shared Universe Off the Ground?This is the big one this year, if you are a true movie "geek." With Nolan's Dark Knight Trilogy now wrapped, and the Superman reboot Man of Steel trying to get off the ground (no pun), the question of whether Warner Bros. will push ahead with plans for a shared cinematic universe to rival Marvel's hangs in the air of every geek conversation. Sure, Gangster Squad writer Will Beall is working on a Justice League movie script, and the studio has a summer 2015 release date set. Yet, we have no confirmed director, cast or character roster; no answer about how to re-introduce established characters like Batman and/or Green Lantern. In short: this film is currently more concept than reality. Come Comic-Con 2013 (when Man of Steel is in theaters), we think the world at large will finally get an answer to this mystery. Expect WB to make some big announcements during the year.
Additional QuestionsJust for fun and/or discussion, at the end of these we just like to toss out some additional questions that might be on your mind as you enjoy 2013 at the movies.
- Will I be able to see what's going on in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire? (Less shaky-cam FTW.)
- Will despised remakes impress the haters? (A Spike Lee Oldboy and Diablo Cody Evil Dead are headed your way.)
- Will Paranormal Activity 5 explain what's going on? (Probably not. I'd say it's time for werewolves.)
- Will Nolan Superman be as cool as Nolan Batman? (We're not opening that can of worms.)
- Who is the villain in Star Trek Into Darkness? (Is it Khan? No really -- Is it Khan?)