The other day I happened to be on Facebook (As we all often do) and I came across a post from Anchorman.  The message was from Channel 4 News Team anchor Ron Burgundy and it read, “Young up and coming actor named Harrison Ford joins our movie.  Don’t know much about him.  Hope this kid is ready cause this is the big leagues.”

harrison-ford-anchorman-ron-burgundy-slice

Photo courtesy of Collider.

Just when I thought my excitement for Anchorman: The Legend Continues couldn’t get any higher, they go and get Han Solo/Indiana Jones.  Ford will reportedly play “a legendary newscaster in the vein of Tom Brokaw.”  Ford has played one too many grumps in recent years and if you’ve ever watched him on a talk show (Conan, specifically), the man can be very funny.  In the hands of Will Ferrell and director Adam McKay, hopefully Ford’s comedic talents will be put to great use.

This along with news that Kristen Wiig will be playing Brick Tamland’s (Steve Carell) love interest make Anchorman 2 one of the most anticipated movies of 2013.  Unfortunately we have to wait until December.  Until then, you all stay classy.

After Earth director conspicuously absent from trailers

The second trailer for After Earth, a Sci-Fi epic starring father and son WIll Smith and Jaden Smith, debuted on Thursday and while it looks impressive, there’s one thing noticeably missing from the first two trailers and that’s any mention of M. Night Shyamalan as the director.

http://youtu.be/gK8QpMjyCGs

When news broke last year that Will Smith agreed to star in a movie directed by Shyamalan, many people (including me), wondered why on earth (Puns!) he would work with a director whose quality of work and reputation had fallen so far.  But based on the marketing, Sony Pictures is banking on Will Smith (very smart) rather than Shyamalan.

There was a time when the words “From director M. Night Shyamalan” meant something exciting.  The man gave us The Sixth Sense, the criminally underrated Unbreakable and the masterpiece Signs (it is people).  The Village was well on its way to joining that group until the third act completely derailed the film.  Then he made Lady in the Water.  Then The Happening.  And then The Last Airbender.

After Earth looks like it might just be the first step in a comeback for Shyamalan.  For the first time he has someone else writing the screenplay (thankfully) and with Smith in the lead, if it’s a failure it’s on him and not the infamous director.

Having said all that, it’s still a distant fourth on my list of anticipated Sci-Fi films this year.  If you have low expectations, you won’t be disappointed.  That’s how we should all feel going into a Shyamalan movie at this point.

Oz The Great and Powerful looks to be first legitimate hit of the year

To say this year has been a disappointment at the box office is an understatement.  We’ve moved into March with only one film having reached $100 million (Identity Thief).  While the beginning of the year typically is the weakest of any movie season, this year has been especially bad.

The most glaring example of the horrid start to 2013 is the slew of action movies starring Expendables cast members that have bombed to a spectacular degree.  Parker ( Statham), Bullet to the Head (Stallone) and The Last Stand (Schwarzenegger) all failed to reach even $20 million domestically.  Even A Good Day to Die Hard, a movie many expected to be a hit will struggle to reach $70 million.

Oz

Photo courtesy of Grantland.

Throw in Gangster Squad, Beautiful Creatures and last week’s Jack the Giant Slayer which won’t come close to earning back half of its budget ($195 million) and you have one of the worst financial starts to a year ever for the movie business.  The total box office revenue for the month of February was its lowest since 2002 according to Box Office Mojo.

But rest assured Hollywood, Oz is coming to save the day.  According to online projections, Oz The Great and Powerful is expected to earn close to $100 million in its opening weekend.  With virtually no competition this week or in the next two, Oz will undoubtedly remain on top until the end of March when G.I. Joe: Retaliation is released.

The first two months of the year are where new movies go to die.  If it weren’t for Oscar-nominated fair from the end of the previous year, January and February would be almost irrelevant.  Moviegoers used to have to wait until May for the first wave of big-event films to be released.  Perhaps we should be thankful for getting at least a couple of summer movies in March.