We’ve made our picks for the upcoming 2019 movies we’re most anticipating. Unfortunately, the new year is bound to have some stinkers too. This week’s Roundtable is for the movies we expect to fail.
Here’s that Wikipedia list of the year’s release schedule in case you need it again.
I’m always an optimist when it comes to films, and I try not to judge any too harshly before I see them. With that said, I cannot fathom how Guy Ritchie’s live-action Aladdin will be anything more than a tedious wreck. The alleged whitewashing in the film’s casting is deplorable, and the internet let out a collective “Huh?” when we saw the first look at the costumes this month. The characters all look like theme park performers, not actors in a big-budget Disney production. Not to mention that Ritchie’s recent track record at the box office has been noteworthy for all the wrong reasons. Disney has four live-action adaptations of its animated films slated to come out in 2019 (including the equally intriguing Tim Burton’s Dumbo), so this might be a mere hiccup in the studio’s plan to regurgitate its intellectual properties.
I always watch every film with an open mind, but if it turns out that Aladdin is both good and makes money, I’ll be pleasantly shocked.
It seems churlish to prejudge failures, but with the worst festival film of 2018, Under the Silver Lake, getting a theatrical run, it deserves to burn and die. But no one cared much about that film anyway, so in terms of a movie people might want to see that looks to be egregiously bad from what we know ahead of time, I’m thinking Hellboy redux doesn’t have a snowball’s chance at box office success.
Every year brings movies that just leave me scratching my head wondering who thought they were good ideas. Some of 2018’s included Mortal Engines and Robin Hood, titles that I’m sure 90% (if not more) of movie fans could have told the respective studios were going to flop before millions were sunk into their productions.
2019 seems to have a few titles already marked for a similar fate, starting with Midway, Roland Emmerich’s big-budgeted and (I’m just going to say it) likely big, loud, and dumb take on the famous WWII naval battle. Remember Michael Bay’s inane attempt at Pearl Harbor? I’m guessing this one may top it in the wildly inaccurate column.
A few others I think might miss their box office goals are: Alita: Battle Angel, and a double feature of Melissa McCarthy in September’s The Kitchen and December’s Super Intelligence (although I suspect that her November Christmas comedy, Margie Claus, will do well).
M. Enois Duarte
Outside the long list of sequels and Disney live-action adaptations that have me feeling a little dubious, I think I’m most skeptical of Pokémon: Detective Pikachu, which is based on the 2016 video game, not the popular animated series or phone app. Don’t get me wrong, the previews look very promising, but I’m not entirely sure how entertaining the concept can be after the first half hour or so. As much as I enjoy Ryan Reynolds and the idea of him providing the voice for the title character, I’m worried that the movie will fall short and fail to satisfy expectations. Then again, this sci-fi mystery comedy comes from the same imagination that brought us Guardians of the Galaxy, which was a total surprise, so the movie has potential. On the other hand, director Rob Letterman has yet to prove himself in the live-action arena. I’m undecided and, at this point, have my doubts.
Alita: Battle Angel looks like a convergence of fail. The casting is strong, the marketing is steep (as I’m sure the budget is), but otherwise, I’m not seeing the market for this one. I find the style of both the title character and the other cyborgs to be so distracting as to make the movie near unwatchable – and that’s while being a casual Robert Rodriquez fan as well as being a fan of various sci-fi, anime, and cyberpunk genres. I think audiences will stay away in droves.
Adam Tyner (DVDTalk)
I’m sure that someone, somewhere is bursting with excitement about Alita: Battle Angel, but I haven’t come across ’em. Neither producer James Cameron nor director Robert Rodriguez have delivered anything in years to inspire confidence. Though the CGI has been refined since the earliest trailers, the title character’s saucer-sized anime eyes still look creepy and then some. The footage I’ve seen hasn’t been anything particularly dazzling, with a beefier visual effects budget being the only thing distinguishing it from whatever unremarkable action movie based on a Young Adult book series is coming down the pike. Gigantic eyes or no, its manga origins aren’t really felt. Then there’s the whole thing about the hyperviolent source material being watered down for a PG-13 rating. With its staggering budget, Alita will have to gross somewhere north of $400 million to creep into the black, and I just cannot see that happening.
This time last year, I said that Alita: Battle Angel looked like a certain flop. Apparently, 20th Century Fox feels the same way. The studio bumped the movie’s release from Christmas to the dumping ground of February, which couldn’t be a clearer loss of faith in the investment. There’s just no way this thing breaks even.
I agree with Jason about the Hellboy reboot. I don’t think the trailer looks awful, per se, just redundant. We’ve had two cracks at this franchise, and neither one lit the box office on fire. The new one doesn’t look different enough to appeal to anyone who didn’t already go for the previous two, but it does seem dumber and jokier, and the makeup’s not nearly as good. What’s the point?
2019 will also bring remakes of Jacob’s Ladder and Pet Sematary, to which I can only ask, “Why?”
What do you think will be the biggest movie disappointment of 2019? Tell us in the Comments.